Free Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice Xbox Series X|S upgrade adds ray tracing & more

Hellblade Series X Upgrade Header

A free Xbox Series X|S upgrade has been released for Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice, enhancing the game with enriched visuals, DirectX ray tracing, a resolution mode and more.

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The Xbox Series X|S upgrade

The upgrade makes use of the new generation of console with upgraded materials, particles, and level of detail. There’s also a new chapter select feature.

Ninja Theory has outlined the various different graphics modes with ray tracing, resolution and frame rate across the two new generation consoles.

PLATFORM MODE RAY TRACING RESOLUTION FRAME RATE
XBOXSERIES X PERFORMANCE

RESOLUTION

ENRICHED

NO

NO

YES

DYNAMIC UP TO 1080P

DYNAMIC UP TO 4K

DYNAMIC UP TO 4K

120HZ

60FPS

30FPS

XBOXSERIES S PERFORMANCE

RESOLUTION

ENRICHED

NO

NO

YES

FULL HD

DYNAMIC UP TO 1440P

FULL HD

60FPS

30FPS

30FPS

Hellblade Series X Upgrade

Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice is now enhanced for Xbox Series X|S.

Is there a PS5 or PC upgrade?

There’s no plans to bring this upgrade to PlayStation (because Ninja Theory is now owned by Microsoft), but the studio is working to bring the new graphical options to PC.

For now, the upgraded version of Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice is out now for Xbox Series X|S – you get the upgrade for free if you own it on Xbox One, or via Xbox Game Pass.

A present for Hellblade’s fourth birthday

The Series X|S upgrade has come just one day after Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice celebrated its fourth anniversary. First released on 8th August 2017 for PS4 and PC, it was praised almost universally for the care and attention to detail that Ninja Theory poured into its depiction of psychosis and mental health.

The game had been created on a tiny budget and with a small team within Ninja Theory, but turned out to be a huge success for the studio, especially as it was then ported to Xbox One in April 2018, to and to Nintendo Switch in April 2019. That Switch port actually came after Ninja Theory joined Xbox Game Studios as part of Microsoft’s string of studio acquisitions since 2018.

What about the sequel?

While Ninja Theory has gone back to rework their original game for the new Xbox Series X|S consoles, much of their focus is now on crafting the sequel, Senua’s Saga: Hellblade II. However, the most recent word we had on that game’s development came at E3 2021, with Chief Creative Ninja’ Tameem Antoniades explaining that they were still quite early in development, despite the game having been announced at The Game Awards in December 2019.

Since then Ninja Theory has been doing a lot of pre-production work. That has included sending their art and audio teams to Iceland – the game is set in 9th century Iceland – to capture sounds and photogrammetry for the world. This will then be combined with satellite data to recreate the country in-game.

With an aim to make the game as gritty and realistic as possible, Senua’s actress Melina Juergens has been in combat training for the last 2 years to be able to provide her own performance capture, and the animation team has also had combat training to get the right feel.

Further reading: Dissecting The Setting Of Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice

The choice to go back to the original game and enhance it for the new generation is an interesting one, but also something that makes sense. Upgrading Senua’s Sacrifice for Xbox Series X|S lets Ninja Theory gauge how much they can get out of the console with Unreal Engine 4 and new technologies in DirectX ray tracing, acting as a test bed for whatever’s planned for the next game. The sequel will jump to Unreal Engine 5, which has new technologies such as Lumen and Nanite for rendering higher detail worlds.

It sounds like there’s plenty of time for people to get in a quick replay of the first game with all the Xbox Series X|S enhancements…

Source: YouTube, Ninja Theory

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