Ninja Theory have today peeled back the curtain on their hack and slash adventure Hellblade, ahead of E3 next week.
Previously thought to be a hack and slasher with a gothic veneer, as it turns out there’s actually a lot more to Hellblade than just a gloomy aesthetic.
A meditation on mental illness with a root in historical events, Hellblade casts players as Senua, a celtic warrior who finds herself massively traumatised by a Viking invasion.
Given the sensitivity of the subject, developer Ninja Theory was keen to seek out professional advice on the matter and have, as a result, collaborated with Psychiatrist and Professor of Health and Neuroscience from the University of Cambridge, Paul Fletcher.
Speaking about the game, Fletcher said: “True understanding of mental health is not simply about books, lectures or verbal descriptions but from deeper engagement on all levels. 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.”
Developed by a team of fifteen under a development model that Ninja Theory terms “Independent AAA”, Hellblade has already been endorsed by the Wellcome Trust, a worldwide foundation that aims to promote understanding of health and in particular, mental issues.
Iain Dodgeon, Creative Partnerships Manager at the Wellcome Trust, went onto say: “More and more, games have an exciting and innovative role to play in giving us new perspectives on health and mental health challenges. 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.”
Hellblade is set to release sometime in 2016 on PS4 and PC.
Before its showing at E3 next week though, you can still feast your eyes on the first footage of the game below in addition to the latest screenshots.
Source: Ninja Theory