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Ninja Theory announces innovative R&D project with a focus on mental health awareness

Today we are proud to announce The Insight Project, an innovative R&D project at Ninja Theory that we have grand ambitions for. In 2017, Ninja Theory released Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice on PlayStation and PC platforms and later to Xbox One, Nintendo Switch and VR. It was headed by Tameem Antoniades, co-founder and Creative Director at Ninja Theory under the guidance of Paul Fletcher, Psychiatrist and Professor of Health Neuroscience at University of Cambridge.

The game received universal acclaim for its depiction of a warrior with severe mental health issues and was described by Wellcome as the best representation of psychosis in any media. It went on to win widespread acclaim, including 5 BAFTAs, 3 The Game Awards and a Royal College of Psychiatrists award.

Subsequent to its release, Tameem and Paul have continued discussions on how games can go beyond representing mental illness and distress and how they play a role in promoting mental well being. These discussions have resulted in The Insight Project, an ambitious combination of technology, game design and clinical neuroscience brought together with the aim of generating strategies to alleviate mental distress.

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.

We plan a programme of gaming, technological and scientific development that will lead to self-contained, individualised and absorbing game experiences within which people can become an expert at recognising, responding to and, ultimately, controlling their own fear, anxiety and other negative subjective experience. 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.

This approach will be widely and conveniently applicable, flexible to the needs of the individual and, critically, enjoyable and absorbing in ways that will ensure enthusiastic engagement leading to marked and sustainable change.

Our goal is to create and inspire a movement and help mental health treatment to go mainstream. We hope you’ll join us on this exciting journey!

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