A Look Inside the Challenge of Portraying Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice’s Psychosis
There’s more to Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice thab just an action-adventure hack-and-slash title. The game delves deeply into the world of psychosis and the effect that has on the mind, creating an audio nightmare unique to this game. Ninja Theory, the team behind this thrilling title, chose to deal with the issue with the utmost respect and without feeding off of the stigmas of mental health. During an interview, Tameem Antoniades delves into the making of the game and the challenge of accurately portraying Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice’s psychosis.
According to Antoniades, the game is a very personal experience, there are no meters to measure sanity, just a personal struggle for both the player and character as they fight to coexist with the psychosis of the main character, Senua. It’s never made clear if her journey into the depth of Hell are physical or mental, which is the whole point. Losing touch with reality, experiencing hallucinations, delusions – these are all things that can occur in psychotic conditions.
Initially, the team was not going to delve into the subject of mental health, however Antoniades was fascinated with the subject and wanted to create something different. After researching the subject intensely, he began to fully understand how much of an undertaking Hellblade would be. Portraying the game’s psychosis accurately would be a massive and challenging undertaking.
Psychosis was very interesting to me, because although it seems like it happens only to other people, it’s a mechanism in the brain that drives it and it’s the same mechanism that makes us dream and it’s where imagination and creativity come from. I think a lot of the mythical journeys of old were not necessarily just made up stories, but were someone’s literal experience. I think that fantasy, psychosis, and mental suffering are all intricately linked. That’s what got me into the subject.”
The other part to crafting such a character was finding an actress who could make Senua as sympathetic and human as possible. This actress became Melina Jeurgens who is one of Ninja Theory’s freelance video editors. She was told to dig deep into her own emotions in order to bring Senua to reality.
Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice is an interesting and powerful take on the the subject of mental health. Have you played the game yet? Sound off with your thoughts in the comment section below. As always, don’t forget to follow Don’t Feed the Gamers on Twitter for 24/7 coverage of all things gaming and entertainment.
Chris Calles1373 Posts
Known as "Stash" or Yippee Calles. He's a student of everything, avid adrenaline junkie, and creator of random things. When he's not delving into a game, book, or movie - He's out teaching himself new things or taking part in some pretty epic adventures. You can find him on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Tumblr.