God of War: Ragnarok, more varied combat and greater emphasis on verticality

Game director Eric Williams has unveiled new details on the combat system of God of War: Ragnarok, which in this chapter will be more varied and will make more use of verticality.

With God of War: Ragnarok the Santa Monica team intends to create an even more varied combat system than that of the predecessor and with a greater emphasis on verticality .

In an interview with IGN , game director Eric Williams explained that the development team has focused a lot on further expanding the skills and tools available to Kratos and Atreus, in order to ensure greater variety and allow players to be more “expressive” in battle.

“God of War 2 and Ghost of Sparta are probably the two favorite games that I worked on,” Williams said. “There was a method to both those games, taking the base and then saying, ‘You know what, let’s go deep on fan service. Let’s go big on variety, but not more just to have more. More that was appropriately structured” explains Williams. “For me being first time [in the director’s chair], I’m going to take the history lessons of the past, and I’m going to use those to try to do that. So in Ragnarok, what we are trying to do specifically with Kratos, we’re trying to give a lot more expressiveness to the player.”

Williams explains that this increased expressiveness will come from various elements, including the progression system based on accessories and equipment. Likewise, Atreus’ contribution in battle will be greater. At the same time, however, even the enemies will receive an “upgrade” and will have their tricks up their sleeves.

“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,” Explains Williams, who adds that the greater variety will allow players to face the same enemies in different ways.

In the trailer presented during the PlayStation Showcase we can see a sequence in which Kratos uses the Blades of Chaos as a sort of grappling hook to reach an enemy in an elevated position (minute 1:44 of the trailer above). In the next sequence, the Phantom of Sparta throws the enemy below, and then executes a top-loaded attack. As explained by Williams, these are just a few examples of how the new combat system will make more use of verticality .

“Variety for variety’s sake is not a thing at all [for us]. It’s there to serve what we’re trying to do,” Williams said. “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 plane. Now there’s some verticality to it, but it wasn’t [a thought like], ‘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.

At this point we can’t wait to test first-hand the novelties of the dynamics of the God of War: Ragnarok clashes. However, to do so we will have to wait a little longer, given that the new Santa Monica title will arrive only during the course of 2022.

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