Hellblade players get insight into what psychosis feels like

A groundbreaking new action-adventure game, ‘Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice’, gives players an immersive insight into experiences of psychosis.

The game has been developed by Ninja Theory with the help of mental health experts, people with personal experience of psychosis and Wellcome.

Paul Fletcher, a Professor of Health Neuroscience at the University of Cambridge and a Wellcome Investigator who was consulted on the game’s development, has been instrumental in developing Hellblade.

He says: ''Ninja Theory have done something risky but important, and potentially valuable in representing experiences that most people find deeply alien. The fact that they are doing so in a first-person subjective viewpoint in a game setting, which demands that the player fully engages with the experience rather than simply passively observing it, really excites me.''

Why the game is groundbreaking

'Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice' is the first game to use state-of-the-art techniques to evoke the voices and visions experienced by people who live with psychosis.

The game uses a binaural technique that mimics 3D human hearing – players experience visual and auditory hallucinations as if they are Senua and 'hear' voices just behind them, or whispering in their ear.

Why Wellcome was involved in Hellblade’s development

We support the entertainment industries to engage a diverse range of audiences with science and its relevance to their own health.

Iain Dodgeon, Wellcome’s Broadcast, Games and Film manager, says: ''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.''

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