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The untold truth of Hades

Every once in a while, a small indie release will seemingly come out of nowhere to dominate the video game zeitgeist for a bit. Most of the way into 2020, many believed that both Fall Guys and Among Us had helped the year meet its quota. Then Hades came out. Just like that, PC gamers and Nintendo Switch owners were head over heels for the latest title by Supergiant Games, the team behind both Bastion and Transistor.

Nowhere is the love more apparent for Hades than in the Game Awards nominee listHades is up for an impressive nine awards in the 2020 show, including Game of the Year. Other titles up for that same prize include The Last of Us Part 2Doom EternalGhost of TsushimaFinal Fantasy 7 Remake, and Animal Crossing: New Horizons. In that lineup of heavy hitters, Hades stands alone as the only indie game.

So what's the story with Hades? How did this ambitious little indie suddenly find itself in Game of the Year contention? Here's the scoop on Supergiant's latest release.

Hades was an early access title in 2018

Hades traveled a rather unique road to success, in that the game has actually been out — partially, at least — on the Epic Games store since December 2018. To start, Hades released in what is called "early access." Supergiant Games put an early version of its project out, then iterated on it for all of 2019 and most of 2020. Throughout this period of time, the game was still "in development," and hadn't yet received an official release.

Still, there are some who might look at Hades and wonder how it qualifies for Game Awards nominations in 2020 when its been out in some form for two years. According to the official Game Awards website, "It's up to the jury to decide if a title warrants a nomination for creative and/or technical excellence in a given year." Based on that, it seems the jury chose to judge the game when it was finally complete.

The game's final release in 2020 got rave reviews

Hades got an official 1.0 release in September 2020. By all accounts, it is incredibly deserving of the Game Awards nominations it received for the year. Reviews for the title have been full-on gushfests, and that goes for both the PC version as well as the Nintendo Switch release.

IGN scored Hades a nine out of 10, calling it "a one-of-a-kind rogue-lite that sets the bar for creatively combining wildly different genres together and using their strengths to complement each other in unexpected ways." PC Gamer followed suit with a 90 out of 100 score, saying Hades "focuses on the fighting and elevates it to the absolute top-tier." And for you Nintendo Switch fans, Nintendo Life wrote that Hades "is a sublime mix of satisfyingly gritty and flexible combat, a wonderfully vibrant art style and genuinely fun and engaging narrative." Nintendo Life, by the way, gave Hades a perfect 10 out of 10.

It remains to be seen how Hades will fare at the 2020 Game Awards. Whether it takes home the gold in any categories or not, though, it's tough to deny that Supergiant's little rogue-lite that could didn't leave a mark on 2020.

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