Today, October 10th is World Mental Health Day, and to help all those in need Ninja Theory will donate all the proceeds on this day to the charity organization, Rethink.
Rethink is a charity organization that aims to help those with mental illnesses, depression, schizophrenia, anxiety. Whatever your illness may be, Rethink believes these sicknesses are serious and that those who suffer from them are in a greater need than we care to believe.
Rethink has teamed up with Ninja Theory because of the amazing work they did on Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice. The game portrays a woman who suffers from psychotic symptoms and does so with such accuracy and in a realistic gameplay that it is changing the way people think about Psychotic illnesses. Hellblade helps users see how it is to live with a mental illness and shows the strength that these people have to endure each day with the same symptoms shown in the game.
You are prompted to wear headphones for this game because your character will hear voices all around you and at times they will help you get through the game. They teach you the controls because there are no on-screen depictions. They try to place you in this reality where things are strange and confusing. The camera is off focus and you can’t see behind you even when things are coming from your 6 making a very eerie feel.
You have this warning that occurs each time you are defeated that notifies that this infection on your arm is spreading and apparently if it reaches your head the game will be over and you will have lost your progress. This is a terrifying thing for any gamer which adds a lot of stress, but if this a true factor or just an incentive to add anxiety is unknown because these warnings do not always pop up every time you die.
“Horrible” and horrifying things happen in this game that will leave you frightened. Hellblade involves stealth exploration of beautiful scenery, gore, terror, and thrilling battles. This is all while you and your character face the challenges of having these voices in your head telling you what to do. Are they the right thing, or a curse leading you to your doom, that’s the real struggle.
The point of this game was to create empathy for those who have a mental illness especially those relating to paranoid schizophrenia. The stigma for those who hear voices and the way we perceive this illness in our culture towards those in mental hospitals or those who have been left out and live on the streets is a terrible problem in our world.
With the ability to relate to these people like we do to Senua in Hellblade has helped people understand this disease and other mental illnesses similar to it. The creators of this game took their time to hear the stories of those who suffer from these conditions. They made a game that carries on these people’s stories in a way that an audience can understand and empathize with them.
Many movies, TV shows, and other video games have tried to emulate mental illnesses. This game isn’t as Hollywood as those displays of mental illness. It has all the horror and terrifying images you’d expect because that much can be true, but the process that allows us to live through Senua’s eyes truly shows her sacrifice.
Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice is available now on PC and PS4, best played with a controller and headphones. Join the life changing experience.