Hades 2 director challenges roguelike convention: "If you don't finish the run, it doesn't mean that you failed"

Hades 2 - Dora, a feminine appearing shade with a grey face and long teal hair, smirking
(Image credit: Supergiant Games)

The Hades 2 team hopes that its roguelike sequel offers "more opportunities to set your own goals" as you play.

Supergiant Games creative director and Hades 2 head Greg Kasavin says that the indie studio looked to how the community played through its original roguelike for inspiration on how to design the more recently released sequel. Speaking to Edge, Kasavin explains that while the first game presented us with a "clear goal," which is to simply "get to the end," the team found that most players strayed from that linear path while playing Hades in favour of further exploring stories or resolving character relations. Rather than powering through to the finish line, Supergiant discovered "that players started to create a lot of other goals as they played."

If you opted to delve deep into contracts and conversations in Hades or preferred to tackle content more relevant to the game's lore-rich mythos, you aren't alone. According to Kasavin, a substantial proportion of players diverged from the usual combat and progression-focused roguelike formula to instead enjoy the Underworld and its quirky inhabitants at their own pace. Moreover, all those unique styles of play actually helped shape Hades 2's production. Supergiant sought to make its sequel more player-oriented by providing "more opportunities to set your own goals" after noting how many of us deviated from a straightforward road to the final boss fight.

No matter which way you choose to play, "it doesn't mean that you failed." Kasavin describes how regardless of whether or not you "finish the run" and "reach the final boss" in Hades 2, your experience is as valid as any. The lead developer details how you can make "meaningful progress in a different sort of way that is exciting to you personally" rather than only hacking and slashing your way through formidable foes or powering up as you may expect to do in a roguelike game. Whatever your own aspirations may be as you traverse the Underworld and beyond, Kasavin says that the devs "don't want the game to dictate those goals."

Whether you opt to battle your way through the dungeon crawler to take the Titan of Time on himself, mingle with ghosts and gods leisurely as you please, or do it all at once, Supergiant wants you to play Hades 2 your way without fear of failure as there isn't any "right" way. Those of us with a penchant for resolving character relations and engaging in side-story exploration will have even more content to work with in the future too, as Hades 2's first major update containing new gods and regions is in the works.

Read our Hades 2 review to learn what we think about the early access roguelike so far.

Anna Koselke
Staff Writer

After spending years with her head in various fantastical realms' clouds, Anna studied English Literature and then Medieval History at the University of Edinburgh, going on to specialize in narrative design and video game journalism as a writer. She has written for various publications since her postgraduate studies, including Dexerto, Fanbyte, GameSpot, IGN, PCGamesN, and more. When she's not frantically trying to form words into coherent sentences, she's probably daydreaming about becoming a fairy druid and befriending every animal or she's spending a thousand (more) hours traversing the Underdark in Baldur's Gate 3. If you spot her away from her PC, you'll always find Anna with a fantasy book, a handheld video game console of some sort, and a Tamagotchi or two on hand.