God of War Ragnarok isn’t Directed by Cory Barlog, Combat Gives Atreus More to Do

God of War Ragnarok

Yesterday Sony finally pulled the curtain back on God of War Ragnarok, and while the game’s debut was certainly tantalizing, fans still have a lot of questions. Thankfully, some answers were provided in some post-reveal interviews.

First off, an important behind-the-scenes note – God of War Ragnarok is not being directed by Cory Barlog, but rather Santa Monica Studio vet Eric Williams. Barlog has been hinting for a while that he’d prefer to move onto something new after God of War, so this isn’t entirely surprising, but it’s still a pretty major shakeup. Thankfully, Williams ought to be up to the task of directing, as he’s worked on every core entry in the God of War franchise.

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As for where Williams plans to take the series as director, in a new interview with IGN, he says he wants to build on the foundation God of War 2018 laid, while adding more variety and room for player freedom and “expressiveness.” Kratos’ son Atreus is also older now and more able to contribute to battle.

The way [Atreus and Kratos] link up, he's grown up a little bit, so he's got a lot more follow-ups and setups for Kratos. Creatures then obviously need to have tools to go against that, otherwise you're going to destroy them. So creatures have new things that you're going to need to think, 'Oh, I might need to break them down with Atreus first, or do this with Kratos.

Combat will be a bit more strategic this time around, as the relatively simple battlefields of the last God of War are being replaced with something a bit more difficult to navigate…

Kratos grappling up the ledge with a chain and then colliding with the enemy and going off [in the new gameplay footage], you couldn't do things like that [in 2018]. Most of the gameplay last time took place on a [flat] plane. Now there's some verticality to it, but it wasn't, “Oh, let's have him flinging up walls just because.” [That's included] because there's gameplay oriented around it, almost king of the hill-type encounters. So it changes how a player expresses themselves on the battlefield. Enemies also, can take advantage of that. So if you're not paying attention, they're going to take advantage as well. So it helps again with that conversation that goes through combat.

Williams also promises big changes for some of the realms previously visited in 2018’s adventure, due to the early onset of Ragnarok. And no, they won’t all be icy – different realms will be affected in different ways. Overall, it definitely sounds like God of War Ragnarok is somewhat of an iterative sequel, but Santa Monica Studio is trying to do it in the most creative way possible.

God of War Ragnarok storms onto PS4 and PS5 sometime in 2022.

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