God of War: Ragnarok Rowing Animation Criticism Receives Backlash

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GameRant 11 September, 2021 - 03:21pm 3 views

When is God of War Ragnarok coming out?

God of War Ragnarök will release in 2022. To get the latest updates on release timing, make sure you follow Santa Monica Studio on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook! Yes, God of War Ragnarök will offer a digital upgrade option from a disc or digital PS4 game to the digital PS5 version for an additional cost. playstation.comGod of War Ragnarök - PS5 Games

Gandalf Gaming has voiced their vexation with an animation that has carried over from God of War to God of War: Ragnarok, particularly the animation where Kratos pushes a small boat into a body of water before he and Atreus leap into it. As a result, Gandalf Gaming refers to the upcoming sequel as a "clone" of the original due to its animation similarities. Reception to this odd criticism has since stirred backlash against Gandalf Gaming's opinionated claims, with many fans coming to God of War: Ragnarok and Santa Monica Studio's defense.

ChronologicKyle, for example, asks, "Why fix what isn't broke?" Indeed, God of War's animation for the father and son to enter into a boat and traverse the Lake of Nine seems appropriate to keep the same, as it most likely leaves room for the developers to implement changes where it may be more critical or fundamental. Likewise, insider Jeff Grubb has shared his thoughts on this criticism, stating that developers "efficiently reuse content" as a way of circumventing needless expenses.

Grubb also suggests that if players enjoyed the previous God of War, they are "going to have to be OK getting more of a game you like." This points out that if players were fans of God of War: Ragnarok's predecessor, it may not be truly disheartening to see more of that game. But some gamers, such as Gandalf Gaming, were perhaps expecting new animations in general from a sequel, rather than having any similarities to the previous God of War title.

Gene Park comes to the game's defense to agree that the reusal of animations is quintessential to many AAA games, though they do wish that boat traversal would have been shelved for the sequel. Meanwhile, Jason Schreier admits that he enjoys the rowing traversal as it allows for interesting moments of conversation with Mimir. Others have made the valid point that there are only so many ways to enter a boat.

Unfortunately, not every game will be able to appease fans, especially if previous installments have reached such a high standard. However, it appears as though a majority of fans respect the developer's decision to reuse animations or assets, based on the knowledge they have about game design and what should be prioritized when creating a new entry in the massively popular God of War franchise.

God of War: Ragnarok is scheduled to release in 2022 for PS4 and PS5.

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Playstation Showcase 2021 Full Presentation

GameSpot 12 September, 2021 - 02:50pm

The Last of Us 2 Will Always Have An Advantage in Detail Over God of War

GameRant 12 September, 2021 - 02:50pm

God of War and The Last of Us 2 are two of the best-looking video games of the PS4 generation that are brimming with tremendous tiny details that make them more life-like and immersive. Whichever is an overall better video game experience is a matter of opinion though there's no denying that as far as the sheer missable details are concerned, The Last of Us 2 takes the crown for plenty of reasons.

The Last of Us 2 is simply a marvel of presentation. From instances of blood soaking the bandages on Ellie's arms to the way ice shatters beneath Shimmer's footsteps. From blood melting the snow on the surface to the snow falling from the tree after brushing Ellie's shoulders are just a few easy-to-miss dynamic details in The Last of Us 2 that make it all the more realistic and immersive.

In a development diary revealed before the launch of The Last of Us 2, Naughty Dog's Neil Druckmann explained the studio's dedication to making everything authentically detailed. Druckmann talked about the extreme length the studio went, doing research and polishing every tiny attribute of the game. Stuff like Abby's vertigo, whose effects are noticeable on the screen if players stand at the edge of a tall structure. Abby whimpering while looking down a great height or her veins popping when she's angry are just a few ways Naughty Dog subtly reflects the state of mind of the game's various in-game characters. These traits aren't just tied to the game's main characters, however, some of which also reflect on The Last of Us 2's surprisingly vocal and reactive NPCs.

Santa Monica studio is no slouch. God of War 3 is still one of the prettiest looking games on the PS3, and its opening sequence in which Kratos climbs Mount Olympus is still a sight to behold eleven years later. 2018's God of War looks even more delightful with its vibrant woodlands and snow-capped mountains. It is arguably one of the best-looking PS4 games to date, and while it meets the industry standards of detailing, it doesn't go the extra mile like The Last of Us 2 where every single attribute comes together to make the game's world feel incredibly alive.

In God of War, the primary focus, when it comes to detailing, are the ones that contribute to the gameplay experience. Kratos' Leviathan Axe is one of the most weighty and impactful weapons ever in a video game. Whether it is satisfying to use is a matter of opinion though it's hard to deny how realistic every slash, throw and recall feels. The studio spent months designing and perfecting the weapon with lots of complicated coding from the God of War's gameplay engineer. Visually, it's one of the most intricately designed weapons with several runes inscribed with much finesse.

It's around Kratos' Leviathan Axe that much of God of War visuals and gameplay details revolve. For instance, if the axe touches the surface when thrown, it leaves an intricate mark. God of War also heavily relies on static and scripted details in contrast to The Last of Us 2's more dynamic ones. These include detailed footprints of Kratos and Atreus in beaches and snow or the fact that Atreus would run and sit by fire whenever the duo found one in the wilderness. The opening sequence boss fight also reflects the sheer wizardry of the devs at Santa Monica Studio, though it is a scripted sequence that the players cannot miss. Naughty Dog puts an extra effort into details that fans may or may not notice in their first playthrough or even the subsequent ones

The difference between the sheer amount of details in The Last of Us 2 and God of War may also be due to the fact that the former was developed by an in-house team of 350 employees, whereas the latter was worked on by 300 employees. Furthermore, The Last of Us 2 is primarily a linear adventure with only one open playground to explore. In contrast, God of War has secret side missions, treasure hunts, challenges, etc, all of which usually involve slicing and dicing enemies with Kratos' immensely detailed Leviathan Axe and Blade of Chaos.

Exclusive first-party AAA games have always been about pushing boundaries through their narrative, gameplay, and visuals. Over the generations, these games have come to push the hardware to its limits and set industry standards. However, many fans have acknowledged the need for video games with seemingly lesser details if it eases the development process. Halo Infinite's fruit physics being prioritized is one way to do that, something which other AAA developers may follow as well in the future.

In this regard, The Last of Us 2 may be the end of the era for gamers who love to scrutinize every tiny detail in video games. With Naughty Dog reportedly taking steps to combat crunch culture, its rumored new IP, Stray's Cross, may not come loaded with as many details as The Last of Us 2. However, given that it's Naughty Dog, fans should expect a level of visual and technical quality that only Naughty Dog games could offer.

God of War and The Last of Us 2 are available on PS4.

God of War: Ragnarok - Gameplay Reveal Trailer - PlayStation Showcase 2021 | PS5, PS4

PlayStation Universe 12 September, 2021 - 02:50pm

Eric Williams is ready to deliver another Leviathan Axe to the feels

"There's the internal struggle with Kratos; he made a lot of ground up [with Atreus] and released those bonds at the end, and walked up there and released the ashes," explains Williams.  

"But at that moment – the thing that a lot of people miss is – he also gets gut-punched when he finds out that [his wife] didn't tell him everything. This person he loved, that he opened his whole life to, also held a secret from him. He has to hold that... and he has to still be there for his son."

As you can see in the new God of War Ragnarok trailer, some years have passed since the end of God of War, and Atreus is bigger. Like, a lot bigger, and ready to push back against Kratos. 

"Staying true to what we did last time, it's keeping the father-son relationship moving," explains Williams. "It doesn't just stop, like, 'oh, we finished this for mom, we're good.' No, like, there's a lot more that goes on in life, and it continues moving forward." 

"Last time, it was one kid with a lot of adults talking. This is like, well, there are some different perspectives. We're gonna see it from a kid's perspective in the world, figuring things out that they thought were black and white, or maybe much more gray, and a lot more family dynamics."

The decision to make Atreus older meant new stakes for the storytelling, but it also reflected the reality of using a child actor for the role. Sunny Suljic – who plays Atreus – was nine years old when he was first cast for the part, he turned 16 this year. "Sonny just keeps growing. He won't stop growing," jokes Williams. "His voice changed, I'm not kidding, like five times. He started out and he was the same size and now he's as tall as I am."

But the main reason for the shift was in service of storytelling – to offer some separation and for players to be able to see this cute kid becoming a young man. "That's where the world isn't easy anymore. It's like, when we're children, you go to the playground and that's your day. Now you have chores, the responsibility, and they live in a world where that comes a lot faster. What a 10-year-old in ancient, mythological Norse times is dealing with is probably what a 20-year-old deals with in our times."

We saw a little of Atreus in combat in the latest trailer, but when asked if he would be able to participate more in battles, Williams would only hint. "I will say this, he is his father's son." 

"There are so many universes, maybe there's a universe where that happens? Maybe there's a universe where it doesn't happen? We'll have to wait and see which universe we're in."

This Norse saga was set in motion when the narrative of 2018's God of War was first being written, but did that mean the team at Sony Santa Monica always knew how it would end for this particular part of Kratos' story? Williams looks to Barlog to field the question. 

"So, basically, the ending is that they get office jobs. Yeah, just working in cubicles. Atreus shows up with a coffee mug in the morning and is like 'yeah, Kratos,'" teases Barlog. Williams can't help but join in with a What We Do In The Shadows reference. 

"And the only person that can defeat Kratos is Colin Robinson!"

Barlog eventually stops teasing and likens building the story to mapping weather patterns. "In order to understand the timeline we were in for the last game, we sort of projected out," he explains. "But as we project out, similar to the way that when meteorologists start to project out beyond the few hours around the time that they're projecting, it gets fuzzier, fuzzier, and fuzzier, and allows you to sort of just say what we're trying to hit is this general target."

He adds the team had a sense of where the story would go emotionally, what the feelings were they wanted the audience to walk away from the game with, and also what possibilities they wanted to leave open. "When we started on Ragnarok, the discussions then started to be like 'this is the general vicinity, start thinking about these things, let's kick around ideas,' and then kind of continue to whittle down, but maintain the flexibility to say, we have this really crazy idea," Barlog says. 

"Because that's how the Loki thing came up. It was a crazy idea that Matt Sophos had when driving into work with Rich Gaubert [both God of War writers], and then he came in and pitched the actual line we ended up using when he made the pitch. And I was like, 'gold, done,' with no thinking whatsoever because halfway through it, I was already sold on it. 

"The surprising part is both for the audience and for us, as we're discovering it and going, 'This is awesome. This is great.' It surprised me. And I know all about these things!"

Unfortunately, I couldn't get the answer to the most important question, the vital fact left out of the trailer, the elephant in the room. What is the name of that adorable octopus squiddy pet thing?

"It does have a name, but we're gonna wait to reveal that for later," says Williams. 

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Santa Monica Studio Devs Discuss God of War Thor Physique

PlayStation LifeStyle 12 September, 2021 - 02:50pm

One of the pointless controversies that arose following God of War Ragnarok‘s PlayStation Showcase appearance is Thor’s physique, which people couldn’t help but compare to Marvel’s interpretation of the character. Santa Monica Studio’s rendition of Thor is a bulky character with a big, round belly – a far cry from the handsome, well-built character depiction that people are used to.

Director Eric Williams addressed Thor’s physique during an interview with Game Informer, and said that the development team wanted to “go a little deeper” into the mythology and make Thor “a big boy.” Williams added that the character’s physique contributes towards making his presence known – something that falls in line with Thor being godly.

Santa Monica Studio’s Cory Barlog added that being well-built and muscular isn’t a pre-requisite for being powerful and intimidating. That said, God of War Ragnarok‘s version of Thor will feel like “a man child” in that he will be extremely powerful and will do whatever he wants.

“If you had that much power and you can do those things, you’re not going to grow,” Williams concluded.

[Source: Game Informer]

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