If you’ve been affected by any of the issues you’ve seen in Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice and want to talk to someone or find out more;
Pheeew… What a shaking experience this was.
I just happened to notice the original announcement of the single title “Hellblade” (no suffix) going back to 2015.
At that time the studio was much less concerned with mental health issues as part of gaming experience.
First, why you should have heard about that project in the first place;
In short- HELLBLADE: SENUA’S SACRIFICE is the first video game ever to let the player experience the symptoms of a psychosis.
Let me mention here and now that this is not for the kind of person who couldn’t take intense mental stress, impressible, sensitive, and other easily unnerved persons.
The game is short, and most people complete the story under eight hours of gameplay.
It is best played with Hi-Fi audio earphones. I managed with my Amazon Tap loudspeaker. Oh my god.
Ninja Theory Studio is known best for the following, absolutely unique games:
– Enslaved: Odyssey to the West (2010). [It has Andy Serkis in it :D]
– DmC: Devil May Cry (2013). [Must be in my Top 5 ConceptArt list]
Both are personal favorites for their unforgettable gameplay, astonishing conceptual design and of course- a pioneering in the motion-capture industry of gaming.
The new title only proves the rule by which NTS are advancing.
“After DmC: Devil May Cry we took a step back and saw that the games space had evolved into two distinct markets,” says Ninja Theory’s product development manager, Dominic Matthews.
“On one side, there are the big blockbuster AAA titles that push production values, are created by teams of hundreds of developers, have big feature lists and are designed to appeal to mass audiences of millions. This is the space where genre diversity and creative risk taking is squeezed in aid of hitting the big sales targets needed to justify the big development costs, where only a small number of genres can now survive.
“At the other end of the market are indie games where new genres are being created regularly, creativity thrives and small teams can make games on a budget for niche audiences. But in the indie space the highest production values are often out of reach given the development resources and budget available.”
Hellblade: Senua’s Psychosis, a short documentary film included with the game, details the concept behind its story and inspirations, notably the team’s study of mental illness. It was written and narrated by Antoniades, and edited by Juergens.
And here are the development series:
Hellblade won 5 Awards at 2018 BAFTA. Took home the awards for Audio Achievement, Artistic Achievement, Best Performer, British Game and
Game Beyond Entertainment!
Ninja Theory announced via Twitter on April 2018 that they intend to donate up to $50,000 to Mental Health America. The amount donated is tied to the first week
sales figures of the game during its Xbox One launch, with 50,000 sales garnering
a $25,000 donation and 100,000 sales resulting in a $50,000 donation.
My own thoughts on the matter; “Spoilers” ahead:
“God of War (first and last)”,
“Amercian McGee’s Alice”,
“Amnesia” / “P.T.”
Plus, a bit of “BloodBorne” like combat there.
Senua and her mother struggled with severe mental illness (hallucinations, schizophrenia, voice hearing). Senua’s father didn’t know how to handle them and since the story is based on Celtic legends where these kind of illnesses were seen as a curse because they turned away from the Gods.
Zynbel (the father) thought that his daughter and wife are cursed so he tortured them in the name of the Gods, to “cure” them (we can see a couple of these memories at the Trials where Senua relives the things that her father did with her). Meanwhile in the tribe an infection starts to kill the people and of curse they blame the cursed ones for it. Zynbel sacrifices his wife to the Gods hoping that it will save them (we also see this in the game).
In the end she concedes that the death of Dillion is not her fault and this is why she let the skull fall down.
-“This is where my story once began. And so it has to end here”.
The house where we are in the end is their house and we can see her fathers corpse.
The whole game was in Senua’s head.
As Dillion said “The hardest battles are fought in the mind”.