Hades is very gay. The fandom has cultivated a predominantly queer subsection with a love of certain characters, relationships, and how the game exudes a clear confidence in its own identity that LGBTQ+ people can so easily confide in. Everyone in it is also really hot, which definitely helps matters when you’re a pansexual mess like myself.
Whether you’re shipping Zagreus with Thanatos, Theseus with Asterius, or an adorable little polycule of several different characters, Hades’ fandom has long abandoned the confines of the early access game that birthed it. I’m not even sure Supergiant could have predicted how much fans would fall in love with these characters, or how horny we’d get thirsting over them through fanfics, fanart, and new interpretations of their relationships the game provides a foundation for. There’s potential to take it so much further, so a sequel feels perfect.
Despite how we eventually came to depict it, the queer representation throughout Hades was subtle and considered, romantic relationships often parsed through hours of dialogue and character dynamics we’d need to decipher instead of a sudden kiss or confession paving the way forward. Zagreus doesn’t even meet Thanatos until several hours in, with the latter expressing betrayal and hurt at his partner deciding to walk away from their home, and a life they perhaps once planned to build together. Zag’s family, or what history he believes is worth chasing, means leaving behind those he loves, so of course they’d be bitter and hurt about being second fiddle in all this. Hades presents a complicated web of relationships bound together by love and heartbreak, and regardless of our hero’s drive to leave the Underworld behind, we spend the entire game assembling reasons to stay.
Achilles and Patroclus’ story arc is more deliberate, with Zagreus hoping to mend their broken marriage and bring them back together. I mainlined this so hard, bringing every single vial of nectar I could find to the pair so they’d at least strike up a conversation. I was eventually successful, and results were bittersweet as the two came to realise that not all wounds will heal, and even giving it another go will see them come to blows again and again until something changes. It’s tragic, and goes to show that queer storytelling can be layered or complicated without resorting to burying your gays or overly saccharine cliche.
Zagreus was always intended to be bisexual, and when speaking to writer and producer Greg Kasavin about the game’s approach to romance, the hope was to explore a diverse range of experiences while also respecting Hades’ deceptively light-hearted tone.
“They don’t have the same social taboos or hang-ups which might exist in society today,” Kasavin told me back in 2020. “They have a complex understanding of love and just accept that love at face value. It’s just something they wouldn’t think to question, and we did that both to be faithful to Classic mythology and because when you create a fantasy setting, it’s an opportunity to portray a world with different values than the one that exists today.”
Knowing how iterative and considered the team at Supergiant tends to be, especially when it comes to narrative design, I can only see them building on this core ethos with the upcoming sequel. Character relationships and which ones we decide to invest ourselves in will be there from the start, likely with far more depth than ever before. We don’t yet know if familiar faces will return – including Zagreus – or a whole new slice of the Pantheon will be focused on, with Supergiant making it clear that even those who didn’t touch the first game will be fine to jump in, but those who did will benefit from added context and a number of cool surprises. Only a few new characters can be gleaned from the trailer, but one has my sapphic senses tingling.
Melinoe, a fairly short and petite Princess of the Underworld, is seemingly competing with Nemesis, a hulking dommy mommy with a big sword and even bigger muscles. I already want them to get together, presenting a beautiful enemies to lovers dynamic the game will hopefully double down on. Or, as usual, I’m reading too much into things. It seems they are both competing for the admirable recognition of a senior figure, hoping she will assign them with missions that carry enough responsibility to prove their strength. The two clearly hate each other from the outset, but that only means they can work through their differences and come to realise they have more in common than expected. Perhaps they grew up together, forced to compete in a relatively small circle of family and friends that meant turning against one another was inevitable. There was no way for love to form, at least not until the hunt for Chronos began, and they suddenly must work together. Yes, I have worked this out already.
Part of me has toyed with the idea of Hades 2 having more pronounced romantic routes like a classic visual novel or even something like Fire Emblem, or if a relationship mechanic with more player choice would dilute the effectiveness of more direct storytelling. I’d much rather its characters have defined identities instead of ones that change on our whims alone, since that is precisely what made Zagreus, Than, Achilles, and Patroclus so compelling. We could see queer intentions from their very inception, and that meant so much more than conjuring up a ship from nothing only to have the rug pulled out from beneath us. Time will tell, but with everything the original game achieved, Hades 2 can only go further when it comes to queer representation, and given the landscape we’re in right now, I can’t wait to see it.
Now, give us a trans masc hunk in the pantheon with visible top surgery scars. Please, I need to simp over them like my life depends on it.
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