A new game by developer Insomniac titled ‘Ratchet And Clank: Rift Apart’ has been praised for its inclusion of a character affected by a mental health condition. This character is Kit, a robot, who after spending time in self-isolation, finds it difficult to connect with others and experiences social anxiety. Many players may draw a parallel between the experiences of Kit and their own feelings of anxiety caused by the ending of lockdown.
Trust is also a key theme in Kit’s path to recovery. As the game progresses she opens up to the player and to the other characters, sharing her story and trusting herself to make important decisions. Kit also uses a particularly pessimistic and self-deprecating tone of voice, which is explained and consequently understood by the player as more of her story is revealed.
The game is rated aged 10+ by ESRB, therefore these themes could help introduce mental health to children and young people. With more people playing video games on a regular basis and the industry breaking records with sales, it is important that a game marketed to young people can also serve as an educational resource in some capacity. In this game, the key outcome is learning ‘that even galactic, inter-dimensional heroes need encouragement and validation.’ Metro
Developers Insomniac have also been praised for their treatment of staff in the run-up to the game's release. A period known as the ‘crunch’ period usually occurs in the final weeks of production, with many employees expected to work overtime along with experiencing high-stress levels, poor sleep and a general decrease in wellbeing. Staff at Insomniac reported that they didn’t feel these pressures and felt their wellness was prioritised, with one animator reporting that "team wellness lets the creativity flow free".
Ratchet And Clank: Rift Apart - the latest sci-fi video game shining a spotlight on mental health