It’s tough to argue against God of War Ragnarök being one of, if not the most impressive game on the current generation of consoles, often sweeping award ceremonies for everything technical about the game. Released for the PlayStation 5, but also playable on PlayStation 4, its commitment to avoiding loading screens was certainly helped by the top console’s hefty 10.3 teraflop GPU, 3.5GHz CPU, 825GB SSD, and 16GB RAM.
While the title makes God of War seem like a mindless action game, the core of its success and praise has long been its storytelling. The single-player creation and its soft-reboot predecessor of 2018 immerse you in Norse mythology as well as the main storyline of this ancient Greek character finding his way through the end times of a foreign realm. Setting the stage well for future games to take place elsewhere, a key bit of programming was improved a great deal for God of War Ragnarök, which will only make later games all the more poignant.
Anticipating when to convert down moments into story opportunities
In the 2018 game, one of the most revered features was Mimir’s tales that sparked into action after a couple of oar pulls to fill the spaces of time between rowing from point A to point B. For Ragnarök, the team at Sony Santa Monica refined the program, allowing it to detect pace and anticipate potential down moments. Should a potential 20-second down point be anticipated, such as in the absence of a plot point or combat coming, the program will trigger chatter between the characters.
As detailed in this God of War interview by Axios, they created a “bucket of dialogue” that counts in at less than 20 seconds each to let fit into these brief moments of traveling, for example. They could spark up a conversation that draws on their point along the main story, discuss past events and Norse myths, run over riddles, or reveal backstories. It all helps to flesh out the cast and does so with much more flexibility than in the previous game.
Laying the foundations of Kratos’ next tale
There isn’t any doubt that Sony is angling for another God of War game to take Kratos to one of the other realms of mythology alluded to in the Norse duology. Active development is unlikely to have started yet, what with the PlayStation Blog post showcasing all of the new additions to Ragnarök in the New Game+ mode. Still, programs like that of the dialogue triggers will lay a firm foundation for the worlds to come.
Many will be hoping that the same world-building, character-revealing dialogue prompts will be utilized in an Ancient Egyptian setting next. While the theme is incredibly popular in some lines of entertainment, particularly casino slots, it’s seldom used in video games. You can find several smash hits like the Eye of Horus slot, which features free spins, expanding wilds, and the famous god Horus, in slot gaming, but for video games, there’s not much beyond the historically-based Assassin’s Creed Origins or upcoming city-builder Builders of Egypt.
Of course, ancient Egyptian myths weren’t all that was in the foretelling featured in the latest God of War games. Japanese myth is a similarly less-explored realm of fantastical stories and bizarre creatures. Games like Ghost of Tsushima lightly draw on some elements, while smaller creations like Sakuna: Of Rice and Ruin, Okami, and Muramasa: The Demon Blade delve more heavily into their folklore inspirations.
Regardless of where Kratos ventures next, the almost futuristic developments that have gone into enhanced story immersion as well as the famous one-shot camera, lay superb foundations for the new setting.