We’ve all done it. Usually, “it” means lifting test answers off the kid in front of you, or pretending you’re the one who actually came up with that really funny joke. Less often, “it” means copy-pasting a widely lauded and enormously successful game down to the pixel. Well, allow me to introduce you to Myth: Gods of Asgard.
Myth: Gods of Asgard is a dungeon-crawling roguelike played from an isometric perspective. You play as a figure from the Norse mytheme—Thor, Valkyrie, Siegfried, or “many other characters,” according to the game’s YouTube description—and are tasked with putting a stop to Ragnarok. As you progress through runs, you can earn “blessings” from the “Asgard gods” that “enhance your power.” Here’s a 12-minute clip of gameplay footage, which made the internet rounds this weekend:
As of this writing, there are more than 120 comments on the video, most of which share a similar sentiment. A sampling:
- “HAHAHAHAHA THIS IS LITERALLY HADES”
- “This looks more like Hades than any other Supergiant game looks like Hades. What a slap in the face to the company known for its willingness to push their design!”
- “This is literally Hades reskinned.”
- “they absolutely stole every part of Hades and threw on a terrible skin and called it a new game.”
- “Hades on minimal”
- “This is one of those can i copy your homework moments”
It’s a tough sentiment to disagree with. From top to bottom, Myth: Gods of Asgard bears an astonishing resemblance to Hades, right down to the way doors are stylized.
Hades, for those who don’t know, is a dungeon-crawling roguelike played from an isometric perspective. You play as Zagreus, the son of Hades, and are tasked with the singular goal of escaping the underworld. As you progress through runs, you’re bestowed with boons from Olympians gods, which grant you new abilities and generally make you more powerful. Here’s a gameplay trailer:
But you probably knew all that. After all, Hades, developed by Supergiant Games and first released via early access in 2018, is one of gaming’s great success stories from the past few years. Last September, Supergiant released version 1.0 to instant acclaim. As GameSpot reported, during launch week, Hades cleared the million-copy sales threshold, a third of which were sold within days of its official release. It showed impressively at the 2020 Game Awards, nabbing more than half a dozen nominations and standing up against the likes of Ghost of Tsushima and The Last of Us Part 2, both of which were backed by Sony’s goliath marketing apparatus (and budgets). In March, it won “best game” at the BAFTA awards. Later this year, it’s coming to PlayStation and Xbox, where it’ll be available as part of the Game Pass library.
In other words, it’s nearly impossible to play games—let alone make them—and have not seen nor heard of Hades.
Read More: Why Everyone’s Horny For Hades
Blatant copycats are of course not unheard of in the gaming world. Just this month, developer Pocketpair stunned the gaming world with a trailer for Palworld, an apparent open-world game that features some suspiciously Pokémon-looking creature designs. And who can forget Super Monster Bros., which featured Mario-style platforming gameplay and put players in the lizard-feet of a protagonist that could only be described as offbrand Charmander?
There’s further something to be said about the nature of fan products, and about how derivative works can be, to some degree, their own form of flattery. But then you see stuff like the final line of Myth’s YouTube description—verbatim, it reads “Copyright by Gaming Mobile Channel”—and wonder. When money’s on the table and copyright law comes into the picture, are you showing appreciation for a venerable work of art? Or have you crossed the line? (Gaming Mobile Channel declined to comment to Kotaku.)
Myth: Gods of Asgard is currently planned for release on Android and iPhone. At the moment, it does not appear to have official listings on either storefront, though an Android beta is available via TapTap.io. (Kotaku has not tested it. Download at your own risk.) Per that page, a “Mana Games” is the apparent developer behind Myth: Gods of Asgard. Of note, this is a different Mana Games than the France-based independent developer founded in 2004 that primarily publishes tennis games.
“We have nothing but the utmost respect for Hades, [as] all our members have spent more than 200 hours in the game,” the developer behind Myth: Gods of Asgard wrote in a Facebook post. “We consider Hades as an ultimate work of the American comics style, but American comics style is not necessarily Hades style. We were always trying to do better with an American comics-style, but we found that Hades’ colors and tones are the correct answer; it’s truly a work of art. However, we will continue to learn, evolve, and challenge ourselves to make a better game.”
Mana Games—the Myth developer, not the tennis one—did not immediately reply to a request for comment in time for publication.
Update 2:40 p.m. ET: Supergiant has responded to Kotaku’s request for comment.
“We appreciate all the concern about this expressed by Hades fans since this game surfaced several days ago. We had never heard of this game before, so we raised the issue with our legal counsel and are exploring our options,” Supergiant’s Greg Kasavin told Kotaku in a statement. “I haven’t personally played the game yet, though images and gameplay video show many striking visual similarities to Hades in a concerning way.”
Kasavin pointed out how character art for Raymond, in Myth, appears to be nearly identical to character art for Nyx, a primary character in Hades.