In recent years, the focus has been on mental health around the world, with awareness campaigns attracting royal and political support, especially during the pandemic.
This is an issue that the video game industry has been shining the spotlight on for some time.
Developer Insomniac’s latest sci-fi release, Ratchet And Clank: Rift Apart, tackles the concepts of anxiety and self-esteem head-on.
The PlayStation 5 exclusive is aimed at gamers aged 10 and over, but is aimed at gamers of all ages, some of whom will have played the franchise’s first iteration in 2002.
Presenting its themes in an accessible manner, the game revolves around the two main characters – Ratchet, a feline bipedal alien, and Clank, his stalwart robotic sidekick – with the new edition featuring two new playable counterparts, Rivet and Kit.
Kit, also a robot, is an anxious character who struggles to connect with new people and lives in self-imposed isolation.
She was built for the purpose of destruction, but throughout the game she learns that she makes choices that shape her into who she wants to be. She is also learning to let in and trust new people into her life.
Ratchet wonders if he can live up to the impressive legacy of his ancestors and needs reassurance that he is worthy of their heritage.
But the pair have Rivet and Clank on hand to help them resolve their issues.
By the end of the game, the player feels that even galactic and interdimensional heroes need encouragement and validation.
Insomniac was also recently praised for reflecting these ideals in the way staff are treated.
“The Crunch” – a term given to the final weeks of production approaching the release of a new game title – has apparently been avoided by the company as its release date neared in early June.
According to reports, this meant that employees did not feel pressured or anxious to work overtime.
Game designer Grant Parker tweeted to say that he “didn’t bite once” and that it is possible to work on a video game “without suffering”.
Lindsay Thompson, host at Insomniac, echoed this sentiment, saying that “the well-being of the team gives free rein to creativity.”
In contrast, last year Bloomberg reported that the developers of CD Projekt Red, the company behind Cyberpunk 2077, experienced months of “crisis” before its launch.
According to reports, the game was riddled with bugs and errors that required extra effort to prepare it for the market – only for the game to crash so often on the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One that it had to be removed from the market. market.
With many highly anticipated titles slated for release later in the year, expect the game to place more emphasis on mental wellness as we approach 2022 and beyond.