Yesterday, Sony finally revealed God of War Ragnarok, and while the game’s reveal was undoubtedly exciting, fans still have a lot of questions. Luckily, we got some answers in our post-show interviews.
Firstly, an important behind-the-scenes note: God of War Ragnarok is not directed by Cory Barlog, the director of the previous instalment, but by Santa Monica Studio veteran Eric Williams. Barlog has been hinting for a while that he’d prefer to do something new after God of War, so this isn’t entirely surprising, but it’s a pretty significant change. Fortunately, Williams seems well-suited to directing, having worked on every major part of the God of War franchise.
As for where Williams plans to take the series as a director, in a new interview with IGN, he said he wants to build on the foundations laid by God of War 2018 while giving more variety and room for player freedom and “expression”. Kratos‘ son Atreus has also grown older and can now contribute more to the fight.
“As [Atreus and Kratos] bond, he’s grown up a bit, so there’s a lot more tracking and setup for Kratos. The creatures then obviously need tools to counter that; otherwise, you destroy them” – sad Willams. So the creatures have new abilities that you have to think, “Oh, I might have to break them with Atreus first, or I might have to do this with Kratos.”
Combat is a little more strategic this time around, as the relatively simple battlefields of the last God of War are replaced by something a little harder to navigate…
Williams continued: “Kratos climbs up the ledge with a chain, then collides with the enemy and takes off [in the new gameplay footage], something you couldn’t do [in 2018]. Most of the gameplay last time was on a [flat] plane. Now there’s some verticality, but it wasn’t like, “Oh, let’s just throw up walls for the sake of it”. [It’s in there] because there’s gameplay that’s oriented around that, which is almost like a King of the Mountain type of encounter. So it changes how the player expresses themselves on the battlefield. Enemies can take advantage of that. So if you’re not careful, they’ll take advantage of it. So again, it helps in the dialogue that goes on during the battle.”
Williams is also promising significant changes to some of the realms visited earlier in the 2018 adventure due to the early arrival of Ragnarok. And no, they won’t all be icy – different realms will be affected in different ways. All in all, it certainly sounds like God of War Ragnarok will be a somewhat iterative sequel, but Santa Monica Studio is trying to do this in the most creative way possible. God of War Ragnarok will arrive for PS4 and PS5 sometime in 2022.