'Project: Mara' teased by Xbox studio Ninja Theory

If PlayStation is to reveal the PS5 in February, this Xbox studio's announcement is especially well-timed.

Xbox studio Ninja Theory will continue exploring the landscapes of mental health and distress in psychological terror title "Project: Mara."

It's next up from the company that created visual, audio and storytelling action adventure "Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice," a journey that was as much about a warrior's trek into monster-infested lands as it was her fraying mental state.

Described as an experimental showcase by studio co-founder Tameem Antoniades, the "Project: Mara" teaser appears to combine a photorealistic recreation (or filmed footage) of slick and shiny office space with "a real-world and grounded representation of mental terror," according to the studio.

It's been created with reference to "research, interviews, and first-hand accounts," Ninja Theory having taken an active interest in the field of mental health; following the successes of the first "Hellblade" game, it set up The Insight Project in conjunction with a Cambridge University neuroscience professor.

"Project: Mara" wasn't given a release date or platform, instead introduced as a preview of "what could become a new, immersive storytelling medium."

It was announced alongside a look into Ninja Theory's revamped development process.

The studio has reconfigured itself into several relatively small and focused teams, each working to deliver a groundbreaking experience of some sort -- just as with "Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice."


[The Dreadnought Diaries 1 (Ninja Theory): youtu.be/mAHtHXVRjxg]

Also in the works is sequel title "Hellblade II: Senua's Saga," with melee combat team action game "Bleeding Edge" expected March 2020.

Ninja Theory was acquired by Microsoft's games division Xbox in 2018. This 2020 profile helps build the impression that Xbox is now overflowing with inventive talent as the Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5 consoles approach.

Speculation suggests that Sony is preparing to unveil its PlayStation 5 console in February. Within that context, Ninja Theory's showcase is not only a strategic step towards the next generation of Xbox technology, but also a tactical, pre-emptive strike against PlayStation's own publicity cycle.

Other recent Xbox Games Studio purchases include Canada's Compulsion Games ("We Happy Few"), the USA's Double Fine (2020's "Psychonauts 2"), inXile ("Wasteland" series), Obsidian ("The Outer Worlds," "Pillars of Eternity"), and Undead Labs ("State of Decay"), and the UK's PlayGround Games ("Forza Horizon" series and a suspected "Fable" franchise resurrection).