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Hellblade and gaming through the lense of mental illness
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Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice might turn out to be the most unusual game you've ever played. That's if the final product resembles what the developer, Ninja Theory, has been saying about the game over the past few years. At its heart, beats a madness and beauty that will both challenge and enthrall the player.

Senua is a warrior who suffers from a psychotic mental illness, and so the “madness” in the game is experienced by the player as a journey through her mind. Ninja Theory not only partnered with various experts in the field of mental illness, but they've also enlisted the help of people who live with psychosis. As you'll see in the video below, this experience has already enriched the lives of everyone involved.

“It was just fantastic to get the opportunity to use the experiences in a very creative way. There's nothing tokenistic about what we've done, the work we've put in. It feels like we've been listened to and things have been taken on board, and I think there will be a lot of realism in the game itself, and it will feel very authentic,” explains Kathy Jones from Recovery College East.

“I really hope that others will follow the lead they've set, and use the power of something like a video game to change people's perceptions, to increase understanding, and ultimately to make the stigma around voice hearing and other experiences go away,” adds Professor of Psychology, Charles Fernyhough.

As I've stated in the opening, Hellblade will not only show madness, but also beauty – beauty in how it will hopefully spark more understanding and empathy for people living with mental illness. What we've seen so far from screenshots and videos show a world that is terrifying but also captivating.

Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice releases on August 8 for PlayStation 4 and PC.

More about Hellblade

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