Hades (video game)
Hades is an upcoming rogue-like dungeon crawler video game developed by Supergiant Games for release on Microsoft Windows. The game was released as an early access title in December 2018 on the Epic Games Store.
The player takes the role of Zagreus, the prince of the Underworld, who is trying to escape the realm to get away from his dispassionate father, Hades, and reach Mount Olympus. His quest is supported by the other Olympians, who grant him gifts to help fight the beings that protect the exit from the Underworld.
The game is presented in an isometric view with the player in control of Zagreus. The player starts a runthrough of the game by trying to fight their way through a number of rooms; the room layouts are pre-determined, but their order, and the enemies that appear are randomly determined. The player has a primary weapon, a special attack, and a magic spell which they can use to take out enemies. Sometimes on clearing a room, one of the Olympians will provide a gift, a choice of three persistent boosts for that run that the player can select from; the gifts are themed based on the Olympian, for example with Zeus providing lightning damage effects. The player also collects in-game currency and potentially keys. Should Zagreus' health points drop to zero, he "dies" and ends up facing his father, removing all gifts granted from the last run. In this area, before setting on a new quest, the player can use the currency to unlock permanent upgrades for Zagreus, or the keys to unlock different weapons.
Following the release of their previous game, Pyre, Supergiant Games was interested in developing a game that would help to open up their development process to players, so that they would end up making the best game they possibly could from player feedback. They recognized that this would not only help with the gameplay approach but also with narrative elements, and thus opted to use the early access approach in developing Hades once they had established the foundation of the game. As Supergiant was still a small team of about 20 employees, they knew they could only support early access across one platform, with the intent to then port to other platforms near the completion of the game. Supergiant had spoken to Epic Games and learned of their intent to launch their own Epic Games Store, and felt the experimental platform was an appropriate match with Hades. Supergiant's decision was made in part due to Epic's focus on content creators, as Supergiant had developed Hades in mind to be a game favorable to streamers, which would be benefited through the Epic Games Store. Supergiant anticipates that Hades will take about three years to complete, comparable to the development time of their previous titles.
In terms of the game's narrative and approach, the Supergiant team had discussed what type of game they wanted to make next, and settled on a concept that would be easy to pick up and play, which could be played in very short periods, and had opportunities for expanding on after release, driving them towards a roguelike game, which have generally best utilized the early access approach. The roguelike approach also fit well with their past gameplay design goals, where they aimed to continue to add in new tricks or tools for the player that would make them reconsider how they have been playing the game to that point. Narratively, they considered revisiting the worlds from their previous games, but felt a wholly new setting would be better. Supergiant's creative director Greg Kasavin came onto the idea of Greek mythology, comparing the gods as "a big dysfunctional family that we can see ourselves in". This led to them the overall concept of Zagreus attempting to escape from his father Hades.
Hades was announced at The Game Awards 2018 on December 6, 2018, and confirmed as one of the first third-party titles to be offered on the newly-announced Epic Games Store. According to Geoff Keighley, the host and organizer of the Game Awards show, Supergiant's Amir Rao and Greg Kasavin approached him at the 2018 D.I.C.E. Summit in February about Hades and their intention to release it as an early access title on the same day of the Game Awards. Hades was a timed-exclusive on Epic Games Stores, and the game arrived on Steam on December 10, 2019.
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