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Supergiant Games, the indie studio known for Bastion, Transistor, and now Pyre, has a track record of not making sequels for their games. And hoping that this streak breaks at some point, this Hey Poor Player feature delves deep into the lore of Pyre, Supergiant's latest title, and attempts to find enough clues and loose threads that could at some point lead to a continuation of Pyre's story. A few snippets:
For those who are wondering what the hell they’re looking at, that’s Udmildhe. She’s a bog-crone and she makes all those religious zealots you know seem really friendly and approachable. She’s also known for worshipping Yslach Astral-Born.
Yslach is one of the believed to have been slain Greater Titans. A known monstrosity that even the likes of The Lone Minstrel, Tariq and Celeste (the Gate Guardians that help host the Rites involved in Pyre) shudder at the mention of.
Udmildhe is, from the narrative’s perspective, a religious fanatic who’s claims are riddled with inconsistencies and a mountain of hypothetical theories that, during the end of Pyre, are discovered to have little to no evidence backing them up.
So, case closed right? Udmildhe’s claims are discovered as nothing but mumbo-jumbo and we can all go home and pretend that the Sahrian Union will be the utopia our beloved friends truly deserved!
I’d like to believe that. But a particular interaction with Tariq, as well as Celeste, the Gate Guardian at Scribesgate, that factors into my disbelief that Yslach Astral Born and the Downside’s connection to the upper world is truly done for.
At one point during the game Tariq pulls you to one side and states, “you would be forgiven if you took the ravings of Udmildhe for mere nonsense. However, her words, as it turns out, ring with a certain truth.” On my first playthrough of Pyre, I was already 100% ready to square Yslach in the goddamn face if she tries to come back from the Pit of Milithe, mostly because I felt that this was foreshadowing Yslach was going to play a part in the game. You can imagine my disappointment when that didn’t end up going anywhere…
But back onto Tariq. He explains to the Reader that Yslach ‘technically’ didn’t die. Yslach feeds upon the world it is a part of, slowly regaining strength until it can be reborn into the horrible monstrosity that the Eight Scribes vanquished many centuries before. So, if you’re wondering how the hell that works, just imagine Yslach as that one big, fat fly that keeps buzzing by your head and you keep swatting it, but it keeps coming back to piss you off and ruin your day. Only Yslach is bigger, meaner and…may come back after a millennium or so.
Look, I didn’t say it needed to be set in the same timeline, now did I?
Celeste also has a fascinating reaction when Yslach is mentioned at Scribesgate, a reaction full of understandable abhorrence and disdain for the Titan. Perhaps even fear.
So if Yslach is set to come back, where does that leave the Downside and the Sahrian Union? Would we even recognize these worlds in the future?
As much as I’d like to imagine this theoretical sequel would be an epic explosion of action between the reborn Yslach, the citizens of both the Sahrian Union and the Downside (now their worlds are once more intertwined) and the player character… I just doubt that’s going to happen.
“But wait a moment, you said you wanted a Pyre sequel!” I DO! Desperately. But let’s face it, challenging Yslach Astral Born to a game of fantasy basketball just doesn’t seem like the kind of thing Yslach might be into when their powerful enough to just feed off the world whenever they want. This is where I hang my head in my hands, sigh and look into the camera like I’m in the office and say “a Pyre sequel may only be do-able with the same world at a different time.” And well, from a narrative point of view I’d argue that the world and lore involved alone would still make it a sequel to Pyre.
However, a lot more goes into a video game than narrative, and I would never want to diminish Supergiant Games team like that to imply differently. So while I truly, deep in my heart of hearts, believe that a sequel to Pyre has massive potential… I also believe that a lot would need to change. That said, the fascinating, intricate lore that Pyre prides itself on would be enough (for me, that is) to get me to play this (very) theoretical sequel, and I’m sure many fans would agree.