Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice scoops five BAFTAs in games awards

A video game that gives players an insight into psychosis, and which was supported by Wellcome, has won five BAFTAs at this year's British Academy Games Awards.

Image of Senua, the main protagonist in Hellblade
Hellblade players hear voices as if they are Senua, the game's main protagonist.
Credit: Ninja Theory

The game, which gives players an immersive insight into experiences of psychosis, was developed by Ninja Theory with the help of mental health experts, people with personal experience of psychosis and Wellcome.

Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice won in five categories:

  • British Game
  • Artistic Achievement
  • Audio Achievement
  • Performer (Melina Juergens as Senua)
  • Game Beyond Entertainment.

Iain Dodgeon, Wellcome’s strategic ventures manager, says: "Many congratulations to Ninja Theory and everyone who helped bring this incredible project about. This is a stunning recognition of what has been an amazing creative collaboration.

"We hope these awards help to provoke and promote even more conversations around mental health, and that Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice continues to help increase understanding of psychosis in particular."

Paul Fletcher, Bernard Wolfe Professor of Health Neuroscience at the University of Cambridge and a Wellcome Investigator, was instrumental in developing Hellblade.

He says: "Ninja Theory have done something risky but important, and valuable in representing experiences that most people find deeply alien. They have capitalised on the fact that video games are essentially participatory in nature – the player is not a passive observer but someone who who must fully engage with and respond to the experiences of the character they're controlling. This offers innovative ways to represent and explore mind and mental illness."

Why Hellblade is groundbreaking

Hellblade 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

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

Iain Dodgeon says: "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.''

More information

Related news