Video Games

How God of War: Ragnarok’s Director Found Inspiration in Classic NES Games

God of War: Ragnarok is shaped by One of the biggest games of 2022and the series’ new director has revealed which classic games have influenced his career.

In an interview with IGN, Santa Monica Studio’s Eric Williams said the five classic NES titles showed how they tackled a variety of key elements to building a successful game.

Williams, Who took over directorial responsibilities for the franchise from Cory Barlogdescribes himself as an “engineer at heart” andBackground in mathematics, science and design.So it’s no surprise that while some of his modeling games are heavy on fantasy and mythology, others focus on mechanics, stats, and combat systems.

legend of zelda

The classic 1986 game that introduced the world to Link, Princess Zelda and Hyrule made a strong impression on Williams as a child. “Being from the Midwest and playing in the woods as a kid, this game feels very familiar and fantastical,” he says.

Castlevania II: Simmons Quest

mythology play an important role In God of War: Ragnarok, it seems to have been one of Williams’ favorite story elements for quite some time. I elaborate on being particularly inspired by “City, Day and Night, Insane Secrets” and “Monster Myth.”

Mike Tyson Punch Out!!

Massive games like God of War: Ragnarok Requires complex combat system, and early in his life Williams learned the importance of making them well. Actually 1987’s Mike Tyson’s Punch Out!! It helped me understand how the combat system should work. “The patterns, mechanics, techniques, and challenges of this game gave me all my early thoughts on what a ‘good’ combat system should be,” he says.

Quickly learning how money and upgrades work in a massive game like God of War: Ragnarok is usually key to early success. And it turns out Eric Williams discovered it via an entirely different genre of games. One of Williams’ most influential games was his 1989 Baseball His Stars, and it turns out he found inspiration beyond gameplay and mechanics.

“I love the ‘numbers’ in baseball,” says Williams.

river city ransom

The combat system, story, mythology, and stats are all important to a successful game. But so does the theme, according to Williams. And while playing 1989’s River City Ransom, I learned the importance of themes.

“Themes were very important to me, and the game’s theme of being a ‘kid’ was very strong,” says Williams. “Playground gangs, sports, weapons, comics to learn abilities, and even a low cap felt like the value of lunch money and pocket money back then.”

Williams drew inspiration from a series of classic Nintendo games from the 1980s, but the NES wasn’t the only console that had a major impact on his career. In fact, his one of the first home game systems ever developed helped pave the way for video game design when he was a child.

“The Atari 2600 was the console that made me want to be a game designer. I don’t understand how a 9-year-old could know that a ‘game designer’ was important.” says Williams.

It might be hard to believe a future AAA game developer in grade school, but Williams brought the receipt.

“When I was in fourth grade, I had to write a book about everything I ever wanted to do. It took me 10 different avenues to explore,” he says. “My end result was becoming a fighter pilot, largely thanks to watching Top Gun.

Eric Williams' path to game design began when he was nine years old.

Eric Williams’ path to game design began when he was nine years old.

“(This) image is from that book, and I’m so embarrassed. Now, years later, I’m sitting in Santa Monica Studios, dreaming of a kid from the Midwest where the world is playing games.” I’m thinking about

This interview has been formatted for clarity

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