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British development studio Ninja Theory has released a new video in support of Mental Health Awareness Week, in which they talked to researchers who conducted a study into reducing mental health stigma using their 2017 game Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice.
The study was conducted last year by the researchers of Florida State University, and saw partcipants play the game for forty-five minutes while measuring key variables and questioning them. This was then followed by a second set of volunteers who would watch footage of those who had previously played the game, and fill out a similar survey with questions related to what the team wanted to find out.
Assisstant Teaching Professor Dr Nicholas Sellers says that they chose the game because how “thoughtful” the game’s potrayal of someone with a mental health problem in Senua seemed to be, with Dr Jonmichael Seibert adding “It’s just one of the best representations of mental health that exists in video games, so it was an absolute no-brainer.”
They say what they’ve found so far is very promising, with Assistant Professor Dr Arienne Ferchaud saying that those who played the video game seemingly desiring less distance from those who are mentally ill. Though it’s early days, the team at Florida State University say the findings are promising, and they hope to get to do more in the future. You can read the full study over at the following link.
Ninja Theory have worked closely with mental health research in the wake of the release of Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice, also announcing mental health initative The Insight Project back in 2019. In the world of the games, they’re also currently working on a sequel entitled Senua’s Saga: Hellblade II for Xbox Series X|S and PC as well as the mysterious Project Mara.