Supergiant Games, the development studio behind Hades — which you will absolutely hear about in not just our game of the year discussions, but basically every publication across the industry — is doing what more game companies should do. It’s leading by example in highlighting its developers and the people involved with their work.
On Oct. 30, Supergiant Games uploaded a video titled “The Songs of Ashley Barrett,” who is the vocalist behind at least one iconic song in every Supergiant project. The montage of clips from every Supergiant game shows off Barrett’s vocal prowess. As one YouTube comment says, it’s “good to see faces to voices I have spent hours listening to.”
This most recent video isn’t the first time Supergiant Games has put a face to the remarkable talents that contribute to its games — even when it comes to audio. I remember my Twitter timeline lowkey exploding when Supergiant uploaded a video showcasing the incredible range of Logan Cunningham, who has voiced Hades and The Storyteller in Hades, The Transistor in Transistor, and so many more characters throughout the different Supergiant eras. It’s fascinating to see the spectrum of character types he has voiced. It’s also such a wonderful opportunity for fans to learn about him and appreciate his skills, as well as the work this indie studio has put into its many impressive titles.
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Perhaps my favorite video (there are several more to get through, and several more that I’m sure will be released in the future) is the following Oct. 22 Twitter video. “Even the simple act of opening a menu screen in a game is an opportunity for that game to draw you into its world,” reads the tweet. “Our resident UI and VFX artist @kirbyLFO [Josh Barnett] has been making our intricate menu animations since Transistor. Have a look, and go deep into the Well of Charon!”
Even the simple act of opening a menu screen in a game is an opportunity for that game to draw you into its world. Our resident UI and VFX artist @kirbyLFO has been making our intricate menu animations since Transistor. Have a look, and go deep into the Well of Charon! #HadesGame pic.twitter.com/qSKk7PwEbl
— Supergiant Games ? HADES v1.0 is Out!! (@SupergiantGames) October 22, 2020
It’s basically the video that prompted me to write this in the first place. It’s a video on menus — something we take for granted when playing games and don’t give much of a second thought to. But aspects of games as understated as menus are evidently crucial to how a game pulls you into its universe and aesthetics. This video is a fantastic and necessary reminder that there’s someone (and often many someones) behind those little magical touches, like the animated ripples and light sweeps across shiny areas. And they deserve to have their work acknowledged and celebrated. This industry so often forgets to even do the first part, let alone give individual developers, especially those who aren’t executives or leads, time in the spotlight.
That’s by no means all of what Supergiant Games has shown to the public so far. Take the above video, which is an incredibly informative look into how 3D artist Paige Carter translates Nyx’s exquisite character art to a 3D model. I love watching this despite having no plans to do 3D modeling and rigging — and not just because I’m infatuated with Nyx. (Just look at her, though.) I can’t help but think about all the aspiring developers, especially from disadvantaged backgrounds, who look at this kind of video and become inspired. I love seeing the process of game development get demystified and be made more accessible.
There’s so much more. There’s a video on the visual FX of the boons in Hades done by Josh Barnett, who has already been mentioned in this article for their fabulous work. There’s a Twitter thread done by game designer Ed Gorinstein on the level design in Hades filled with videos and images. There’s a short Twitter clip featuring environment artist Joanne Tran’s process of transforming hand-painted artwork to in-game environment art. I’m positive there’s more to come. I hope there is. Getting these behind-the-scenes looks into the development of one of the year’s most incredible games is a delight.
More studios should be following Supergiant Games’ example by taking the time to highlight the developers whose hard work culminates in such intricate and creative experiences. I’m looking forward to the end of my semester so that I can go back to playing Hades as much as I am excited about whatever development insight Supergiant gives us next.