Indie darling ‘Hades’ becomes first video game to win Hugo Award

Video games have immense narrative potential.

Supergiant Games’ roguelike RPG Hades has just become the first video game ever to win a Hugo Award. The award is a prestigious achievement typically reserved for novels in the science fiction and fantasy genres. But Hades won a Hugo for excellence as a video game, beating other notable nominees such as Nintendo’s Animal Crossing: New Horizons, Sony’s The Last of Us: Part II and Square Enix’s Final Fantasy VII Remake.

Making history — Hades’ writer and creative director Greg Kasavin expressed his gratitude via Twitter, unable to attend the awards ceremony in person. He referenced iconic American science fiction authors and fellow Hugo Award winners Ursula K. Le Guin and Philip K. Dick as lifelong inspirations. “Video game storytelling has come a long way over the years,” Kasavin said.

This year’s rules — To be eligible for the Best Video Game Award, the game must have been released in 2020, have been released “on a major gaming platform” and fall into the science fiction or fantasy genre. Hades certainly fits the bill, as the dungeon crawler explores the magic-infused world of Greek mythology as Hades’ son fights to escape the Underworld. It was released for PC, Mac and Nintendo Switch in September of last year and was released for PlayStation and Xbox in August this year.

Limited edition — DisCon III, The 79th World Science Fiction Convention who hosts the Hugo Awards, announced in November 2020 that they’d be adding video games as a new category after covering only literature, print media and their creators for over 50 years. But according to the Hugo Awards website, the video game category was a one-time deal for 2021.

Hades’ narrative arc drives its action forward.Supergiant Games

Stacking accolades — Since its release, critics have praised Hades across the board. It won two Game Awards in 2020 for Best Action Game and Best Indie Game. Hades also wowed major gaming publications, winning Game of the Year from Polygon, IGN, Eurogamer, Rock Paper Shotgun and Ars Technica.

Following Hades’ win, the Hugo committee is actively considering adding “Best Game or Interactive Experience” as a permanent category in the future.