Last year, there was no shortage of content based on Greek mythology. Whether it was Netflix series, webtoons, or video games, 2020 was perfect for fans of the Greco-Roman mythological world. And while each title put its own spin on the myth, Supergiant Games‘ Hades emerged as the most beloved. Not only did Hades build up a loyal fanbase with its stunning use of roguelike mechanics and its hot gods, but it also showcased mythology that we don’t usually see. We got to see Nyx, the Furies, and of course, the son of Hades. I got the chance to sit down with Greg Kasavin, Creative Director at Supergiant Games whose past work includes Transistor and Pyre. We discuss Hades’s storytelling, inspiration, and ultimately how the game adapts Greek mythology by looking at the classic interpretations, not the modern ones.
To start, Hades is a game forged on relationships. Making this decision came from Greg Kasavin and the team recognizing that the most important part of mythology and the reason it resonates is the fact that the Olympians are really just one big dysfunctional family. By focusing on relationships, familial and otherwise, the team was able to tell a story that went deeper than just repeated loops but expanded on a character that little is known about: Zagreus. In the interview above, Kasavin also explains the difficulty of making ever-changing loops into a cohesive narrative and ultimately connecting the player dying to a larger goal. Additionally, Kasavin offers a look into what Hades almost was – a game based on Theseus and the Minotaur. Through Kasavin’s anecdotes, we get to see how the Hades we know and love today took shape and moved from the Labyrinth to the Underworld.
Finally, Kasavin expresses the joy he and the other developers found working on Hades and their response to the outpouring of support from fans. It isn’t every day that an indie outshines a year of AAAs but, Hades did just that. And now, it’s heading to Xbox and PS4 to surely meet new fans for the first time. As we wrap, Kasavin offers one tip for players: don’t be afraid to die. Not because it’s a roguelike, but because you’re supposed to. Death is an important piece of the story and one that offers a rewarding challenge for players.
Kate is co-founder, EIC, and CCO of BWT. She’s also a Certified Rotten Tomatoes Critic, host, and creator of our flagship podcast, But Why Tho? and Did You Have To?. She also manages all PR relationships for comics, manga, film, TV, and anime. She has an MA in Cultural Anthropology and Religious Studies focusing on how pop culture impacts society.