I can’t see. Who’s there? To make a game about
a warrior with psychotic mental illness as its central theme was fraught with danger.
It was clear that we needed help if we were to stand a chance of tackling this subject.
For me it was really exciting to see something I explore scientifically being represented
so beautifully in a character who is trying to penetrate the mysteries of the environment
in which they’ve been placed with all of this strange uncertainty and noise and conflicting
information that they’re getting. I’m very excited by this way of trying to represent
mental illness, because I think it actually might be offering us insights that we wouldn’t
get from pure scientific explorations and actually is giving us quite an empathic view
of what it might be like. What started out as a brief consultation convinced me that
we were only scratching the surface of an immensely deep and interesting subject that
could enrich and change the very nature of the game. The students who were involved in
this project are incredibly excited about being involved. They have described the experience
as being important because it values their lived experience and shows that despite what
we have been through, all of that experience becomes valid. It’s something that we should
all be talking about. Maybe you’re already dead. Who are you? The people we spoke to,
the stories they told were fascinating, harrowing and mind boggling. The reality of what people
experience was vivid, far exceeding what I could possibly have imagined. It was just
fantastic to get the opportunity to use our lived experience in a very creative way. There’s
nothing token-istic about the work we’ve put in. It feels like we’ve been listened to,
things have been taken on board, and I think there is a lot of realism in the game itself.
It feels very authentic. I really hope that others will follow the lead they’ve set and use the power of something like a video game to change people’s perceptions, to increase
understanding, and ultimately to make some of the stigma around voice hearing and other
experiences go away. So the stage was set for a new adventure. A fantasy that was created
by Senua’s own mind, and one that we would experience through her eyes.