Ninja Theory surprised everyone with Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice, a game that boldly tackles the stigma surrounding mental illness. With today being World Mental Health Day, the developers are continuing to carry the torch for mental health awareness. The money it makes from today’s Hellblade sales will be donated to the charity Rethink Mental Illness.
Ninja Theory plans on donating all proceeds from today's PC and PlayStation 4 sales, after deducting sales tax and platform fees. The charity, based in the U.K., has been working for 40 years to support those who have mental illness. According to its website, Rethink Mental Illness “believes a better life is possible for the millions of people affected by mental Illness.”
The announcement was made via a post on Steam, and it was accompanied by an accolades trailer. However, instead of featuring quotes from reviews to highlight the game, Ninja Theory included messages from people who played the game and were affected by its handling of mental health.
“I had a psychotic break several years ago. My brother never understood. I overheard him say he was ashamed of me,” said one of the fans. “After this game he turned to me and said he was sorry. You got a message across that I never could.”
The images in the trailer, which were also sent in by players, are screenshots that were taken using the in-game photo mode.
The developer, who previously worked on games like PS3 launch title Heavenly Sword, Enslaved: Odyssey to the West, and DmC: Devil May Cry, released Hellblade on August 8 without a publisher. Ninja Theory stood on its own to deliver what it calls an indie AAA, a game with high-end production and a vision unaffected by publishers’ demands.
The game follows Senua, a woman who journeys through the Viking underworld to ask Hel to revive her husband. While traversing the Nordic-fantasy-inspired wastes, Senua constantly fights her psychosis, which often manifests itself as voices in her head or enemies on the battlefield. We gave Hellblade a 9.0 in our review, praising it for its haunting sound design, beautiful graphics, frantic but engrossing combat, and harrowing story that tackles difficult subjects.