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Hades: Fast Paced Storytelling

How do you make a game's story relevant to the player? Hades is the perfect example of weaving story and player progression together in a way that attracts people of all types.

When players start a new game, they come into it with personal goals in mind. The roguelike genre, in particular, is one that doesn't often attract players seeking to experience an intricate story. However, players who come to Hades quickly discover that there is more to it than simply crawling and fighting through hell.

Off the bat, the first thing that happens to the player is that they receive a boon from a god who speaks to them about their current position in hell. This sets the precedent that the gods desire to aid you in your escape from hell and that speaking to them will benefit you in your endeavors. As new players continue through the game, they learn quickly that dying is not necessarily a bad thing, since after each death new interactions with gods become available. All these design aspects put together encourage players both privy and new to the roguelike genre to seek out story elements more than they usually would.

However, that is only the beginning of how Hades's Hooks players on its story.

Each of the gods present in Hades represents a different aspect of life, and their personalities reflect that in a mortal manner. For example, Hades himself seems more like a lamenting father than an all-powerful ruler of the underworld, Thanatos appears soft and understanding of life rather than a reaper of it, and Orpheus tells the story of a broken heart seeking unification.

When Hades interacts with Zagreus (the player), he is depicted as stern and unforgiving, to the point of being unable to forgive even himself. This human trait of Hades resonated with me and brought out my desire to help rebuild the dysfunctional family of gods, and as a result, got me more involved with the overall story of the game. However, that is just my connection to one of the gods.

I have talked to other people who have played Hades, and each of them found the banter and stories of the gods enthralling. Not only did the story hold relevance to their hearts, but to their senses of humor too. Whether it be through Hermes's quips, Cerberus's mannerisms, or Dusa's skittery nature.


The interactions with the gods in Hades aren't a one-and-done type of deal. They poke and prod at players, begging for more attention. This style of storytelling, mixed with the quick and enjoyable roguelike gameplay, retains the interest of gamers in the current mass production of short-lived games.

 

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