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Greg Kasavin, the creative director over at Supergiant Games, had a chat with Eurogamer, talking about his studio's upcoming roguelite action-RPG Hades. In particular, he focused on the game's gradually evolving story and the team's efforts to make Hades' Greek mythology-inspired setting feel more modern and relatable. A few sample paragraphs:
"Soon after we launched Pyre in 2017, we were really drawn to the idea of creating a game that we could build in partnership with our player community," he says. Launching in early access didn't just mean the team could iterate on combat mechanics or weapon balance, it also meant that the "story could continue to grow over time, creating the sense of a living world." (They just recently added Dionysus to the game.)
"We were also drawn to the roguelike genre, defined around replayability and having a mix of crafted and procedural context," he continues. "The idea of creating a game inspired by Greek myth came up as a result of that thought process."
Uncovering bits and pieces of story as Zagreus attempts to flee the underworld over and over again, like Sisyphus pushing his boulder, is a fitting way to experience mythology, which rarely has a dedicated canon. "Greek myth is filled with contradiction, since it comes from countless stories that evolved over time. My goal is to stick to the spirit of the source material, more than the letter." Kasavin explains.
"In many cases there are only shreds of information available," he adds, which gives him and the team more freedom to create the stories that they want to tell. For example, Kasavin began by rereading Homer's classics, but it took "delving into more obscure sources I hadn't read before" to find Zagreus himself. Even Hades was something of a blank slate at the start. "There are relatively few canonical stories about him, despite how relatively famous he is."