A Tiny Developer, With a Giant Presence
If you’re clued into video games in general and you’ve been watching the various Steam and console releases over the years, you might have come upon a small developer with a giant ambition and no-small amount of skill.
Not an AAA studio in terms of team size, but better in every way than many AAA studios due to their focus on product quality, excellence and fun-innovative games. Along with the likes of Klei Entertainment (Oxygen Not Included) – Supergiant are a giant of an indie dev with only a small roster of games under their belt…
But what a roster, and we’re going to save the best until the last and you’ll see why!
Bastion: The first ever game from Supergiant, and a fantastic game which I adore so much. This action-RPG has gorgeous art, 3d-isometric style, and creates the world around you as you explore. It first introduced me to the honeyed and varied tones of the Narrator: Logan Cunningham, and his mastery of voice work has kept me entertained from start to finish. Logan also appears in various other roles through Supergiant’s portfolio of titles. Bastion also has a glorious kick-ass soundtrack.
Transistor: This was Supergiant’s next game, and a complete 180 from Bastion. Swapping fantasy for sci-fi, Transistor is all about the protagonists’ journey, and their quest to understand a mysterious and extremely powerful weapon. The game features excellent level design, superb sound and music, as well as a tight combat system. This system allows for strategic planning, thoughtful consideration of moves and all wrapped up in responsive gameplay. The narrative is rich and tightly done, a trademark of Supergiant even since Bastion.
Pyre: Widely considered some of Supergiant’s best work to date at that time of writing, Hades notwithstanding. Pyre is a party-based RPG where you get to lead a band of colourful exiles to freedom through ancient competitions. These competitions take place in a mystical realm, a kind-of purgatory. It’s all about trying to come back from exile, to return to glory, and escape the terrible fate of being trapped until the end of your days. Pyre boasts the biggest single-player campaign to date, and Supergiant’s mix of well-crafted storytelling, writing, and gameplay once more.
Finally, the best till last, and the focus of the reason I wanted to talk about Supergiant Games and why here, at Exiled News – I absolutely love this company and what they’ve created.
Billed as a rogue-like dungeon crawler in which you defy the God of the Dead (your father) as you hack, slash, and dodge your way out of the Underworld of Greek Mythology. Supergiant have said they think it combines their best from previous titles, and I’m likely to agree there. I’m no stranger to rogue-likes, but this is one that is utterly brilliant and has a fun addictive quality to it which keeps you coming back for more and more.
Hades has fantastic art direction, incredible character depictions, excellent animation, and a top-notch soundtrack. Alongside some of the best voice work in Supergiant Games titles to date.
So, what else is great about Hades?
Well as you know here at Exiled News, we’re big into diversity, representation, and inclusion. Hades has that in droves. It tackles Queer Representation without batting an eyelid. Chaos is presented as a being who is non-binary, looks fantastic in the art, and exudes a kind of power you rarely see attributed to these kinds of characters.
I mean Chaos is a being of incredible power in mythology, so why should it be any different here?
The same goes for the whole game, your protagonist is Bisexual, the gods themselves are presented with various sexualities – and there are numerous relationships going on through the whole story.
What’s so great about all this, is that it just IS.
There’s no fanfare, or finger-pointing, no one suddenly goes, “Hey Zag is Bisexual!!!” FANFARE!
It’s there, and queer characters are treated with respect and as one Reddit user by the name of Frogchairy points out: “The characters presented are queer, have been queer the whole time, and no one even gives a damn. Sexuality is a big underlying theme in this game, and its presented with subtlety and taste throughout the various dialogues. It is amazing. Their approach is casual. Its not a huge deal that the protagonist is Bisexual. Thats not the point. The portrayal of queer characters is so easy and simple that it shows how queer figures can exist within a society and not be idolized or hated. Queer people don’t have to be polarizing figures. They can be normal people that function just as anyone else.”
Hades is out now on consoles for the first time, so if you’re looking for a solid rogue-like with great story, dialogue, performances and representation? Jump in and help Zag escape from his dad!