Hades is the first game developed by Supergiant Games without an original cast of characters, but the studio’s creative director says this has not hindered development at all.
Unlike Bastion, Transistor, and Pyre, which produced Supergiant characters such as The Kid, Red, and Hedwyn, the majority of Hades‘ characters come from Greek mythology.
However, borrowing from Greek mythology is extremely common in video games—God of War, Kid Icarus, Persona, and Saint Seiya are just a few series that do.
Building an interesting world around an environment that so many gamers are already familiar with could prove challenging, but Supergiant’s Greg Kasavin told OnlySP in a recent interview that this was a very welcomed change.
“Part of the appeal of creating a game based on an adaptation of an existing mythos is that it’s a refreshingly different process from what we’ve done in the past. We know what it’s like to create worlds from scratch! We’ve never adapted one, though.”
As a kid, Kasavin would grow frustrated by how modern adaptations of mythological characters would be diluted to the point of dismissing all of their complexities and “disturbing qualities.” He told OnlySP, “[Supergiant Games] started from the observation that the Olympians are a big, dysfunctional family, and everything flowed from there. I think we’re being true to the source material, as well as true to life.”
There are some original characters in Hades, though, and the game even builds upon a few mythological characters who do not have as robust of a story behind them. “Our protagonist character, Zagreus, best represents this. We know almost nothing about him from the source mythology, other than maybe he’s a son of Hades, or maybe he’s even an early version of Dionysus. The idea that Hades, god of the death, might have secretly had a son was so compelling, we decided to make it the premise of the whole game,” Kasavin said.
Kasavin even shared insight on his personal inspiration from Studio Ghibli on the subject of working with familiar characters: “If there’s any inkling that adapting a work is somehow a step down from creating your own original setting, Ghibli films such as Howl’s Moving Castle and The Secret World of Arrietty remind me that that’s nonsense. Adapted works have no less inherent merit than original works.”
Hades is currently in Early Access and is available on PC as an Epic Games Store exclusive. Look out for OnlySP’s full interview with Greg Kasavin in the next few days!