How research into psychosis is shaping Hellblade’s dark fantasy world

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How research into psychosis is shaping Hellblade’s dark fantasy world

New video shows how Ninja Theory plans to deal with mental illness

Hello PlayStation fans, Dom Matthews here from Ninja Theory with a new development diary video from the creation of our forthcoming PlayStation 4 title Hellblade.

In our new diary, No.14 in the Hellblade open development series , we discuss how our research into experiences of psychosis is bringing new perspectives to the creative process as we strive to build Senua’s world.

Ninja Theory Chief Creative Ninja, Tameem Antoniades, gives his thoughts below on the power of games to take players into worlds outside of their own:

“It has been said that there is no more powerful medium than film to portray the experiences of another character. Whoever said that doesn’t play games. When playing a good game, the player enters a state of trance, losing all sense of themselves and falling into a world of visuals, sound and story that is unlike any other medium.

“When you reach a state of total immersion, you are in the zone and ordinary day-to-day existence vanishes. It feels like there is a direct link deep into our mind and it is here that we are moved.

“When you think about it, each game is a fantasy world, with its own rules which we willingly immerse ourselves in, making moment to moment decisions against difficult challenges.

“We at Ninja Theory love creating worlds and characters that mean something to people. With Hellblade, the idea is to portray a fantasy world unlike any other. This game’s fantasy is not based on the familiar myths of Tolkien, George Romero or Ridley Scott.

“It is based on an entirely different fantasy created by ordinary people all around us who have an extraordinary ability to see and hear things most of us cannot. Sometimes what they see and feel is beautiful, and sometimes it is devastatingly dark. Some have described it as a waking hell.

“The condition reveals the inherent power of our minds to create rich and vivid worlds. It is an ability we all have and we bear witness to its power every time we dream.

“What could it be like to step into the shoes of someone who is seeing and hearing hallucinations beyond their control? In all likelihood it can never be faithfully represented, but we feel that games can get us closer than other media.

“Ultimately, Hellblade will be a story-driven fantasy game and those familiar with our games will feel at home. But we hope to delve deeper into the mind of Senua than any of our previous characters and give you a glimpse into an entirely different kind of fantasy.”

Hellblade will be available for PlayStation 4 in 2016. You can follow the on-going Hellblade development journey at and by following @ninjatheory on Twitter or at

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