Hellblade Gameplay Features Mental Illness of Struggling Warrior


In Hellblade, the main character is a Celtic warrior named Senua who struggles with psychosis and suffers from depression and anxiety. Ninja Theory posted a blog earlier today on PlayStation Blog with gameplay footage, showing Senua journey through dark woods fighting her internal thoughts.

Labeling itself as an “independent AAA” game, Hellblade follows Senua after she was left traumatized by a Viking invasion.

Hellblade launches next year on PS4 and tells the story of Celtic Warrior Senua and her journey into Hell,” Dominic from Ninja Theory writes. “The Hell in question is no ordinary Hell, but is in fact a Hell that is the manifestation of Senua’s mental illness.”

Wanting to approach the topic of mental illness with sensitivity, Ninja Theory worked with Paul Fletcher, a professor of Health Neuroscience at the University of Cambridge, to ensure the subject matter was dealt with respectfully and with accuracy. Ninja Theory also consulted those experiencing mental health issues.

“True understanding of mental health is not simply about books, lectures or verbal descriptions but from deeper engagement on all levels,” Fletcher tells IGN. “Working with Ninja Theory has shown me the potential that gaming has for sharing in a character’s experiences and engendering empathy in ways that go well beyond those offered by simple academic descriptions. Maybe this approach will contribute powerful new ways of challenging stigma.”

Hellblade also earned the support of Wellcome Trust, a global charitable foundation aiming to build a greater public understanding of science and health.

“More and more, games have an exciting and innovative role to play in giving us new perspectives on health and mental health challenges,” Iain Dodgeson, Wellcome Trust’s Creative Partnerships Manager, explained to IGN. “Rather than being a didactic game teaching us about psychosis, Hellblade allows us to explore it through the creation of a compelling and complex character, and the world that she inhabits.”

Originally a PlayStation 4 title at last year’s Gamescom, Ninja Theory announced that the game will be released on PC as well. Hellblade is set to release in 2016 with more details to be revealed at E3 next week.

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Source: PlayStation Blog