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In PS4's Hellblade, hell is a warrior's mental illness

Owen S. Good is a longtime veteran of video games writing, well known for his coverage of sports and racing games.

Hellblade, the upcoming independently published game from DMC developer Ninja Theory, offers a look at its main character and her struggle with mental illness in the game's E3 2015 trailer.

Senua is the protagonist, a Celtic warrior traumatized by a Viking invasion. The game's titular hell is the manifestation of her mental illness, Ninja Theory explains, and the game will "see the world through Senua's eyes, and in doing so, address a subject that is still considered taboo."

Ninja Theory says the independent development of Hellblade allows them "the freedom to tackle a subject as challenging as mental health," and promises the portrayal will be "both accurate and sensitive."

To that end, the development team has been working with a professor of neuroscience as well as consulting "directly with people who have experience of mental health difficulties." They note that Hellblade is supported by Wellcome Trust, a charitable foundation committed to greater public understanding of science and health.

Much more on the game's development, and how it addresses Senua's condition, can be seen in the following nine-minute developer diary. Hellblade has been announced for PlayStation 4 and Windows PC. More on the game is expected from E3 next week.

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