VIDEO: Hellblade wants to explore mental health

UK developer Ninja Theory has revealed that it is working with a professor of neuroscience to give upcoming title Hellblade a psychological edge.

Main character Senua is described as a Celtic warrior who is left traumatised by a Viking invasion”, with mental health and psychosis” being the key themes.

True understanding of mental health is not simply about books, lectures or verbal descriptions but from deeper engagement on all levels,” psychiatrist and professor of health and neuroscience from the University of Cambridge Paul Fletcher said.

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.”

The game is being developed by a small 15-person team that has been given an indie-style level of creative freedom. it has even been backed by the charity Wellcome Trust, which commended the game’s approach to exploring the issue via a compelling and complex character.

In Hellblade we are pursuing creative independence in order to explore a compelling subject matter and gaming experience that would not be possible under the current retail model,” Ninja theory’s chief creative director Tameen Antoniades said.

In movie terms, this would be a quality independent film, not a Hollywood blockbuster. Digital self-publishing means that we can offer a smaller, but high quality game at around half the price of retail games.”

Hellblade is due out in 2016. Here’s the trailer:

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