Over time, to play Hades becomes a ritual – it is a cadence to move through the underworld and beat the same enemies over and over again. You start to expect things to work a certain way, especially after hours of playing time. So when the game suddenly gets darker to a distant clock, it feels ominous.
You have never seen this before, and at this point you have probably put many hours into the game. What’s up? And then he appears: death incarnated, lying in his hand. Thanatos. Oh shit, you might think. Who is this? Do I have to fight him? I’m not prepared for this! But just as you are mentally preparing for a kink, he strikes you with a surprising piece of dialogue.
“You left, without so much as saying goodbye,”
I came to Hades late, so when I met Thanatos, I had already been exposed to a lot of shipping and banner art on social media. I took Thanatos’ disgrace as the words of an upset lover who was angry that Zagreus, the main character, was trying to leave him. Spicy!
Supergiant Games creative director Greg Kasavin told Polygon that the dialogue was not meant to signify that the two had an existing romantic relationship before the events of the game, although it may develop over time. Zagreus, Kasavin said in a telephone interview, “did not have many friends”, except for Thanatos when he was growing up. But Zagreus’ escape attempt is a “catalyst for their feelings to grow stronger,” he said.
But no matter how you interpret the introduction, it is evocative. Even though there are only a few lines, you get the feeling that it is history there, and Zagreus has little reason to feel guilty.
“A good story is one that makes you imagine, much more than it is in the story itself,” says Kasavin. Subtitle is in this case more powerful than the text itself. But Thanatos is not only memorable because of a few lines. That’s what happens next that really seals the deal. Every time you meet a new character in the field, you give up for a fight. Except in this case, Thanatos shows up, chastises you for being a fool, and then challenges you to a competition. No other encounters in the game work this way.
Technically, he’s there to help you beat the wave of enemies that Hades, your father, is sending after you. But the game also keeps track of how many enemies Zagreus kills versus Thanatos. And when the fight begins, the stakes feel high – Thanatos are an animal.
“He only offers that kind of classic 9,999 Final Fantasy [damage]In Kasavin. Even worse, it can be an area of power that simply causes enemies to disappear. Keeping up with the god of death is no easy feat. Sometimes you do. And other times, Thanatos wipes the floor with Zagreus.
No matter what happens, the dynamics between the two are still juicy and charged. You want to hit this guy, but also, maybe you want to kiss this guy. There is something inherently hot and daring about trying to show death itself.
Thanatos, Kasavin said, was one of the earliest characters they put into the game, and one of those who changed the least over development. Part of what made him exciting, he said, was that there is little out there in the existing myth of Thanatos, who left the team at Supergiant fertile soil to build on. What we do know is that Thanatos is going to be a “peaceful death”, and therefore the team tapped voice actor Chris Saphire to portray a more “gentle” version of the gloomy reaction.
To meet him, the player must reach Elysium, the master kingdom, which is one of the later parts of Hades. The second premise is to beat Meg the Fury enough times that her sisters also start showing up. The idea, Kasavin said, is that Meg has failed in her job enough times for Hades to call in reinforcements, so that the word about Zagreus’ escape attempt reaches Thanatos. But there is also only a 50% chance that Thanatos will show up during the run, which means some fans may spend a ton of time before they ever meet him. While potentially frustrating, the rarity is intentional.
“From a gameplay point of view, what was very exciting was this idea that this character could only come at you at any one time,” Kasavin said. “Because normally with the game structure you go from chamber to chamber, and you know what to expect, right? Because you choose your reward. ”
“But with a roguelike game,” he continued later in the conversation, “you want that variation to be, you do not want it to be too predictable.” Kasavin said that the team looked towards the other Lord of the Rings film, The two towers, which has a competition between Gimli and Legolas, as inspiration for the meeting with Thanatos.
Whatever the outcome of the match, Thanatos will say something broody and then disappear. He may reappear during other races, but there is never any guarantee. Part of this design choice stems from the Supergiant’s broader attempt to portray characters who have life beyond the main character. But it is also just an effective device that lets fans fool.
“We gave him practical telecommuting-in-a-moment capability so he could just pull in a tough one and leave conversations hanging,” Kasavin said. The player wants more because Thanatos always makes you feel like it’s unfinished business with him. ‘
No surprise, then, that Zagreus and Thanatos are the most popular pairing in fandom. Hell, I would go so far as to say that Thanatos is one of the most memorable encounters I’ve ever had in a video game. No small feat, given how quickly Thanatos gives a sense of allure and mystery Hades.
“I had a suspicion that players would be attached to him,” Kasavin said.