"Really, Campbell was just a cultural anthropologist who started to see similar themes cropping up across diverse groups and began to question the reasons behind that," he continued. "18th century philologists did very much the same thing and developed the now widely accepted notion of Proto-Indo-European. Campbell could find no such socio-linguistic thread, and so was led to conclude that the materials of myth were inherent to the human experience; so long as the human experience is relevant, so is his work."

While Campbell is a valuable resource, he shouldn't be the only one. Hedlund says, "Additionally, I don't think the world of comparative myth begins or ends with Campbell, and the broader study of anthropology and ethnography also interests me. I have a whole bookshelf at home, [and] while it contains nearly everything by Campbell, [it] is also full of Frazer, Levi-Strauss, Dum├ęzil and Malinowski, among a great many others. [But] I really think I am where I am today because of Campbell. While it sounds a bit new-agey, his advice to 'follow your bliss' was meaningful to me when I was deciding what to do with myself, and games are certainly that for me."

Getting into the wider appeal of mythology, he continues: "Myth resonates in a lot of successful works by people who have internalized it. Baz Luhrmann's Moulin Rouge is an awesome example. Christian is drawn into the Bohemian world by Toulouse-Lautrec and a narcoleptic Argentinean. Now, this is very entertaining and engaging on the surface level, but it also really works well on the symbolic, mythical level: The dwarf is small physically because his power is not of the physical world, and the narcoleptic spends more time in the subconscious world of dreams than he does in this one."

One of the problems that materializes when working with 2,000-year-old myths is the contradictions and elaborations inevitable in the millennia of telling and retellings. I asked if Perpetual tried to focus or unify the narrative at all. "Yeah, there is a lot of really disjointed stuff in the myths, and even some direct contradictions." He cited one example in particular, saying, "My favorite example is that Juno bore Vulcan by herself to get back at Jupiter for giving birth to Minerva alone, and Minerva was born when Jupiter developed a massive headache, so he called for Vulcan to chop his head open to relieve the pain." Contradictions enough to give a designer a headache of his own.

"One of the things you need to take into account about the myths is that there are regional differences, as well as changes through time." He mentioned the many different cults of each deity before continuing, "Every goddess is a goddess of fertility somewhere and at some time. The gods of Greco-Roman myth are additionally very ambivalent with their good and bad aspects." His job was winnowing that all down, and also taking into account cultural considerations on this side of history. "People just expect the domains of each god to be clearly defined, as well as that whole crazy 'good and evil' thing." Hearkening back to our earlier conversation, he said, "One of the reasons I referenced The Aeneid earlier is that Virgil unifies with The Illiad and, to a lesser extent, The Odyssey to make a continuous narrative of gods and mortals that runs right up to Imperial Rome. That's why Virgil was Dante's idol - he took a bunch of unconnected incidents and turned them into a single cohesive story of the mythical justification of the Roman State, and Dante tried to do the same thing for Christianity with his Divine Comedy."

Building the character classes for the Roman world is no less challenging. "Essentially, we wanted to create character classes that people could understand on the level of an expectation of a certain type of gameplay and then make sure we pay off that expectation," he began. "This sounds simple, but I think it's important: I can't tell you how many games I've played and had to restart repeatedly because I had to play the game for a while to figure out that the character wasn't what I had every reason to think it was." I sympathized here, being a member of the You Re-rolled Again? Club. He continued, "Although we've done a Roman spin on all of the character classes, tying their abilities closely to things from the source material, the Gladiator is easily the most uniquely Roman class. What's great about the Gladiator is that everyone has an image of him."

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