Ninja Theory’s Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice approached mental illness and tragedy in a way we hadn’t seen before from a video game. The studio, now owned by Microsoft, is moving ahead on a sequel, but it also has another project cooking that will tackle mental terror in an entirely different way. Project: Mara is a new title that aims to deliver a grounded experience rooted in reality, and Ninja Theory will let you join the development team on the development process.
Separate from the previously announced The Insight Project, Project: Mara is an experimental new title that will be “a showcase of what could become a new storytelling medium,” according to Ninja Theory commercial director Dom Matthews and chief design director Tameem Antoniades.
A game that appears to blend live-action with traditionally rendered visuals, Project: Mara was teased with a very short clip during a Ninja Theory development diary. The protagonist Mara Fisher is struggling with her grasp on reality, and will be played by Hellblade star Melina Juergens. She will be the only character featured in the game, and there will be only one location.
Senua’s Saga: Hellblade II will also continue to explore the human psyche, and how suffering can in turn shape our understanding of myths and religion. The game will be releasing for Xbox Series X, but does not have a release date yet.
Ninja Theory’s final project focusing on mental illness is The Insight Project, which is a collaborative process between mental health experts, scientists, and artists. The details of this project are being kept under wraps, but it aims to combine gaming with neuroscience and psychiatry to promote mental well-being.
“What Hellblade achieved was to make the invisible visible,” said University of Cambridge Professor of Health Neuroscience Bernard Wolfe. “What if we could go further and give people the ability to see, engage with, and perhaps even overcome their fears and anxieties?”
We’ll have to wait to hear more information before we know if Ninja Theory succeeded, but the studio is certainly tackling subject matter largely ignored by the rest of the industry. Should these projects achieve their goals, that could certainly change in the future.