In videogames - aside from a few outliers such as The Town of Light - mental health hasn't been portrayed all that well. Mental asylums are the home of cheap scares, while those suffering from the effects of psychosis are often portrayed as the bad guys. Hellblade aims to turn that on its head by letting us see a debilitating mental condition from an empathetic viewpoint.
Related: here’s a list of upcoming PC games.
In Hellblade, players take on the role of a Viking warrior called Senua. She’s suffering from psychosis and is experiencing visual and auditory hallucinations. Again, these aren’t anything new to videogames, but developers Ninja Theory hope they’re portraying these in a new, authentic, and respectable way.
To show just how much research went into the process, the game will come packaged with a 25-minute documentary that features people who experience psychosis, as well as neuroscience experts, both of which worked as consultants for the game. There’s a teaser for the documentary at the top of the page.
Hellblade is out on August 8. If you’re wondering how it plays, watch Senua escape from a burning village in the new gameplay video below.