Hades’ early access journey has been more important than the destination

Supergiant’s hell-escaping roguelite Hades will be coming to 1.0 soon, wrapping up almost two years of early access. Among its final updates will be the game’s “true ending,” presumably allowing protagonist Zagreus to find out what lies beyond the final boss on his constant attempts at freedom.

I’m excited, and I have theories. (Does it count as spoilers if you’re going off myths that are thousands of years old? I’ll keep them to myself just in case.) But I also love the game exactly how it is now, just one step from complete. In fact, some of my favourite things in it will be overwritten soon, so I want to pay tribute to them while they’re still here.

At the moment, Zagreus’s escape attempts are not strictly winnable. Even if you beat the final boss, the fourth-wall leaning narrator will make one of their dry comments as he perhaps “slips and falls” and is sent all the way back down to the beginning. Zag’s journey is fundamentally Sisyphean. This is, of course, amusing given the game’s source material and that you can actually meet Sisyphus (and his good friend Bouldy). But it’s more than that. It gives an extra dimension to Zagreus’s beautiful tenacity.

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