Could Hades have been made 25 years ago?

Hi, I am trying to tease out how I feel about the recently released rougelike game Hades. In playing the game I find myself kind of bored but at the same time impressed with the speed of combat and fluidity of movement of the player character. It feels like the kind of game that, had it come out on the PSX, PS2, Saturn or Dreamcast, people would still be talking about now. What I want to know is – could the basic elements of its enemy encounters have been achieved on one of these consoles? Are there examples of games that did this?

I think the fundamentals of the gameplay are as follows:

  • - True analog movement, or at least 8-direction movement
  • - Uses the entire screen as movement space
  • - Multiple enemies attacking you at the same time
  • - Dash mechanic/some way of blocking or avoiding damage
  • - General feeling of speed. Harder to define. I was thinking that a shooter like R-Type Final satisfies most of the above points but it seems to me that in this game the player is mostly challenged to make precise movements to sneak between waves of bullets vs. really moving quickly.
  • Thanks~

    I'd say no, not because any of the particulars/basic elements are specially groundbreaking or new, but because the game as a package, as a whole, is. Hades is a game that builds upon so many different genres and styles of games that, to me, its value resides on the ingenuity and all the smart and low-key brilliant choices it makes to build bridges and put all those elements in contact so they all constantly feed back into themselves.

    This game simply could not exist without the modern roguelike, Binding of Isaac most notably. But it also couldn't exist without dating sims, and, in fact, all the new wave of games that combined those mechanics with other genres, like Persona or the last Fire Emblem. But 2D action games like Dead Cells or Guacamelee are equally important. And once the action ramps up it is also obvious that the game also borrows from the isometric aRPG genre, like Diablo or Path of Exile. Finally, I would say it's narrative approach is built upon the shoulders of former Supergiant games, specially Transistor and Bastion.

    In a way, Hades is extremely unoriginal because it copies from so many places, but at the same time, that's the achievement of the game. Being this colossal Frankenstein of a game that is so polished, intelligent and well conceived that doesn't feel like that at all.

    So that would be my line of reasoning. It couldn't have been made 25 years ago because you need all those games to exist so this one can take all the tiny legos and build itself.

    I haven‘t played Hades and don’t plan to (not my kind of thing) but the “could this have been made” question is probably better framed as “would this have been made,” because the technical requirements, fidelity aside, aren't over the top.

    The real thing is, would somebody have thought of all the failure narrative path stuff, and the way everything links together - and the answer is if games like the SaGa series and Moon etc existed in that era, why not? But I do think that is much less likely to happen than the technical requirements.

    Lumping Dreamast and PS2 in there kind of changes things (those weren't out 25 years ago) because I mean, anything that can run shenmue or yakuza can do just about anything you need to do. Even with PSX though it all just comes down to design choices. Like check out this TAS of silhouette mirage. you can be anywhere you want to on screen at any time, tons of enemies, big shots, etc

    So the short answer to your question is: yes!

    @exodus#7002 Just to let you know, the game has a very interesting take on difficulty options. And as someone interested into game design I think you would enjoy it?


    yeah, there's some interesting difficulty ideas out there! cool to read about this one, at least!

    Kinda unrelated but I always think about save files etc when thinking about stuff like this. I haven't played Hades but I feel like regardless of whether or not the technology at the time would have been capable of running the game were it somehow developed, there would be an issue with how complex/large the save file would be to keep track of all the different narrative states etc.

    I just did some 25 second google searches and it looks like Rogue Legacy save files are in the 10mb region.

    OK, so the enemy encounters could have been done on a PSX or Saturn from a technical perspective, but that wasn't stylistically en vogue or of interest at the time.

    Does anything come to mind for games that have action at a similar pace? The dash mechanic makes everything feel super fast -- I think too fast for me, where I'm just jetting all over the screen and mashing buttons and the graphical effects obscure the action to the extent that I'm not always sure what's going on. I'm only a few hours in though.

    The two that come to mind for me are Hyper Light Drifter, which has a similar dash, and Power Stone, even though it's 3D, because it has the same feeling of like flying all around the screen at a fast pace with explosive graphic effects for attacks that partly hide the action.

    I'm so torn on this game.

    The combat is sublime, not too dissimilar to Supergiant's previous stuff, but everything just feels a bit better. Enemy design is also a high point, after just a couple hours I understood virtually all of the different enemy behaviors and boss patterns. The game part of the game is extremely polished, maybe unprecedentedly so in its space.

    The meta progression, on the other hand, is nauseating. There are _seven_ distinct virtual currencies in the game. Seven separate collectable doodads that need to be gathered during runs and spent outside runs to unlock base functionality by exchanging them for further doodads at rates that require in some cases literally thousands of hours of play. I don't think I've seen a single video of anyone with a fully completed mirror, and some people have been playing this as their main game for almost a year now.

    Obviously this is a single player game, and it's not like you need all these things to have fun playing the game, but the level of unlockables seems straight up unethical to me. It encourages an obsessive and never ending relationship with the game, and also encourages deliberately throwing runs away so you can prioritize meta progression over run progression. The grind _becomes_ the game, and the actual game is something that you'll get to only after you spend thousands of hours unlocking everything or you burn out on the grind. God forbid you lose your save file.

    What I wouldn't give to have the game part of this game without the to do list on top.

    I feel like there are tons of games that have frenetic action with lots of effects (just look at anything by platinum, or shock troopers, or xeno crisis, or total carnage, or gauntlet) that I‘d need to dial a little further into what you’re looking for! I haven‘t played it, but my sense is the action isn’t what‘s unique about this game, it’s the way it approaches narrative and success/failure.

    @MichaelDMcGrath#7013 I can agree progression can be a bit messy and disorganized, but at the same time I don‘t think it’s unethical or bad at all. You don‘t need most of the upgrades, the vibe I get from them is just having something to work towards/give the player some sense of reward or accomplishment each run. If anything it’s just inconsequential padding, and on that regard I agree it could have been implemented in a more meaningful way.

    I think @exodus is right. The most interesting part of the game is the way it uses the elements and trappings of a roguelike as a device to push the narrative forward. I guess you could have the action AND roguelike narrative without the checklist goals or convoluted currencies but I think those serve a purpose, at the very least they keep you interested. Also, I'm pretty sure you can reach the so called "true ending" without half of the upgrades, I will change my mind in the game if you can't, but I'm not there yet :P

    @exodus#7014 Good call, I just watched some videos of Bayonetta and I think it comes close. In talking this out I really think the dash mechanic is key and what I'm looking for is more examples of that. The end result is that you are rocketing around the screen, smacking one dude a few times, now over here, avoid trap there, hit other dude a few times, etc. Thank you for considering~

    @MichaelDMcGrath#7013 @JoJoestar#7020 Sometimes I want to condemn the roguelike genre in general because, at least for me, so much of the hook comes from the lootbox nature of how upgrades are handled. It's at a deep-brain level, dopamine hit type of thing. If I can just make it one more floor and see the item room, etc. I do think Michael is right in that it extends the player's relationship with the game beyond what the core gameplay supports. I guess it's up to me to manage that though. I played the Binding of Isaac for more than 700 hours just to fill up everyone's dumb ass post it note :/

    Sounds like you should be looking forward to Radio The Universe, a game I kickstarted 8+ years ago, but which is now almost finished.