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Breaking Through: Psychosis and the Making of 'Hellblade'


Dominic Matthews (Commercial Director, Ninja Theory, Ltd.)

Tameem Antoniades (Co-Founder/Chief Creative Ninja, Ninja Theory, Ltd.)

Location: Room 2002, West Hall

Date: Thursday, March 22

Time: 10:00am - 11:00am

Pass Type: All Access, GDC Conference + Summits, GDC Conference, GDC Summits, Expo Plus, Expo, Audio Conference + Tutorial, Educators Summit, Indie Games Summit - Get your pass now!

Topic: Advocacy, Business & Marketing

Format: Session

Tutorials: N/A

Vault Recording: Video

Audience Level: All

This talk is an exploration of the delivery of the mental health themes in 'Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice', all within the structure of an independent AAA model. The talk discusses the approach taken by a small team of 20 to deliver a AAA quality game that strives to push the boundaries of narrative within gaming, with a particular focus on the team's approach to researching and collaborating around the subject of psychosis, in order to deliver a compelling and thoughtful depiction.


Attendees will come away inspired by the potential to break out of the AAA retail model and follow a strong creative vision with more focused, digitally distributed games under the Independent AAA approach, which, in the case of Ninja Theory, allowed them to tell the story of a psychosis sufferer.

Intended Audience

Small or medium sized developers looking to create high quality and creatively rich experiences. Developers looking to find a new way of making games that allows them to make the games that they want to for the fans that want them.