On November 3, a couple of 100 developers gathered in the dining room belonging to the Santa Monica Studio in California, to count down together when the review embargo for the studio’s latest game “God of war: Ragnarök” expired, and see the weighted rating of the game on the site Metacritic .
— We put in so much time, and no matter how good we think it is ourselves, the real test is to see the reviews roll in. It was a special occasion for all of us, says Mihir Sheth.
The overall rating currently stands at 94, one of the highest for a game this year. The game is also the one that has received the most nominations at this year’s game gala The Game Awards.
— I think it will take some time to digest everything, says Sheth, who has worked on the battles of the game title.
“God of war: Ragnarök” follows the god of war Kratos and his son Atreus, and picks up after the acclaimed “God of war” from 2018. That game was a fresh start for the long-running series, was praised by critics and won a number of awards.
— As developers, we are always critical of our own work, so after 2018 we had our ideas on what we wanted to improve and build on for “Ragnarök”. Something we primarily wanted was the ability for players to choose how they want to fight, and embrace all player types, says Denny Yeh, who has also worked on the battles.
With the camera tight behind the grumpy Kratos, ax and chained blades are swung at all sorts of creatures from Norse mythology. New this time is a greater focus on the shield, where different variants exist depending on whether the player wants to react reflexively or more constantly hold it up in front of them.
— We want you to explore everything that Kratos has, we say internally that Kratos masters all of his tools. He doesn’t have to use them, and different players gravitate to different things, says Sheth.
Looking for a new future
A normal player only explores 10-15 percent of the combat system, according to him. It’s a delicate balance of encouraging players to explore it more, but at the same time letting them choose their own path.
— If you just want to focus on your way – no problem, we will try to make it as fun as possible. We’ll reward you for daring to try a few different things, and some enemies you encounter will sway you in some direction. If we succeed, different players will tell us different things about what they liked about the game, says Sheth.
“God of war” has always been a violent series. “Ragnarök” is no exception, but after the new start in 2018, the game has a more mature appeal, the relationship between Kratos and Atreus is also nuanced.
— Kratos knows how to use his weapons, but at the same time tries to find a better future for himself, especially because of his son. The family is a main theme, that as parents you want to change for the sake of your children, says Mihir Sheth.