Hellblade – Ninja Theory Takes Us Into the Hell of Mental Illness

Posted 1 year ago

Epic Games talks with Ninja Theory’s Dominic Matthews about Hellblade’s theme and Senua’s story, and how the narrative plays into the combat.

You can watch the Hellblade E3 interview below:

Ninja Theory has released a new trailer for Hellblade at E3 2015, which includes the first gameplay footage of the game.

You can view the Hellblade E3 2015 Trailer below:

Hellblade tells the story of Senua and her journey into the hell of her mental illness

Hellblade tells the story of Celtic warrior Senua and her journey into Hell. The Hell in question is no ordinary Hell, but is in fact a Hell that is the manifestation of Senua’s mental illness. Senua experiences psychosis, including hallucinations and delusions, as well as suffering from anxiety and depression. Players will witness Senua’s living nightmare through her own eyes.

From George Orwell’s 1984, to George Romero’s Dawn of the Dead, the best fantasy breaks down barriers and lets us see the world without prejudice. This is what the talented team at Ninja Theory wants to do with Hellblade. To see the world through Senua’s eyes, and in doing so, address a subject that is still considered taboo.

Developing Hellblade independently gives the team the freedom to tackle a subject as challenging as mental health.


It is a subject being handled with all the respect it deserves, ensuring that the portrayal of Senua’s condition is both accurate and sensitive

In order to ensure a sensitive and accurate portrayal of the subject, Ninja Theory has been working closely with Psychiatrist and Professor of Health and Neuroscience from the University of Cambridge, Paul Fletcher, as well as arranging to consult with people who have experience of mental health difficulties.

Another Epic Games Forum Hack Exposes Over 800,000 User Accounts

Paul Fletcher explains:

“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.”

Tameem Antoniades, Chief Creative Director at Ninja Theory, states:

“In Hellblade we are pursuing creative independence in order to explore a compelling subject matter and gaming experience that would not be possible under the current retail model. In movie terms, this would be a quality independent film, not a Hollywood blockbuster. Digital self-publishing means that we can offer a smaller, but high quality game at around half the price of retail games.”

Hellblade is supported by the Wellcome Trust, a global charitable foundation which aims to build a greater public understanding of science, and in particular health

Iain Dodgeon, Creative Partnerships Manager at the Wellcome Trust, adds:

“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.

In a new development diary Ninja Theory talks about the mental health theme in Hellblade further and their approach to tackling it.

Hellblade is currently under development for the PlayStation 4 and PC with a planned release for 2016. We will bring you any new information on Hellblade as soon as it becomes available.

Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Reddit