Ninja Theory announced The Insight Project, a research and development project to bring together technology, game design, and clinical neuroscience to alleviate mental distress.

Following the success of 2017’s Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice, Ninja Theory creative director Tameem Antoniades and Paul Fletcher, a psychiatrist and a professor of health neuroscience at the University of Cambridge, continued their collaborative partnership on how games can go beyond representing mental illness and distress and how they play a role in promoting mental wellbeing.

Hellblade’s success was recently highlighted at The International Game Summit on Mental Health, where organizers played a video of Fletcher talking about the lengths that Ninja Theory went to in order to accurately convey what it’s like to suffer from psychosis, a condition where you see things that aren’t real.

Ninja Theory had a very different kind of heroine in mind with Senua. They enlisted the help of Wellcome Trust, a health care company in the United Kingdom that gave Ninja Theory a grant. Their interest was in depicting psychosis through Senua’s journey into the Norse underworld.

Ninja Theory is planning a program of gaming, technological and scientific development that will lead to self-contained, individualized and absorbing game experiences within which people can become an expert at recognizing, responding to and, ultimately, controlling their own fear, anxiety and other negative subjective experience.

The team said the work will be underpinned by rigorous scientific principles to ensure its effectiveness and validity and it will adhere to strict standards of ethics and data management.

The Insight Project will take shape over several years but is being announced early to encourage an open and transparent approach to its development. It is an exploratory but experimentally guided project that aims to deliver a mainstream solution to help treat mental suffering and encourage mental well-being.

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