God Of War Ragnarök developers thought it was 'not good' just three months ago

The developers of God Of War Ragnarök were so stressed out they thought they’d made a dud right up until the last moment.

Despite long stretches of silence from Sony and developer Santa Monica Studio, most fans had faith that God Of War Ragnarök would meet their expectations, given the studio’s track record with the previous God Of War title.

The development team, however, had a very different perspective and, for a period, were worried that what they were making wasn’t very good at all.

This wasn’t during the early days of development; these fears were present just three months ahead of its launch (so around August time).

This comes from a recent interview with producer Cory Barlog and director Eric Williams, who provided some behind the scenes insight on the game and explained just how stressful development on a project like God Of War Ragnarök can be.

‘They were freaking out three months ago,’ Williams admits. ‘‘Holy crap, the game’s not good. What are we going to do?’ I can’t even imagine how they feel today. I wish I had a time machine to go back and feel like that.’

God Of War Ragnarök was in development for four years, meaning work began not long after the release of the 2018 God Of War. As such, Williams suggests it was hard to get a proper perspective on the game and not fixate on its flaws.

‘It’s hard to understand that you’re actually finishing it, because you’ve been on it so long,’ he tells GQ. ‘All you can see is the flaws and the things that need to be fixed.

‘You have to be very judicious. The team’s already kind of burned [out], and you’re asking a lot of them at a place where they’re already pretty fragile. It’s tough. But we have a team of super duper talented people and they know what good looks like.’

Barlog adds: ‘By the end, development is kind of like riding a horse. When the horse decides it wants to run, and it just starts going, you feel like you have no control, and you’re just holding on.’

They also briefly discuss how the global pandemic affected development, since it forced them into a work-from-home environment that they weren’t familiar with.

‘Working from home is a big wrinkle. We’ve been making games for 20 years; we know how that works inside the studio. And then, oh, I can’t talk to you anymore,’ explains Williams.

‘The whiteboard was dead, the lunch-sharing knowledge was dead. Just wandering by somebody’s desk and seeing something cool was dead. How do you replicate all this and still try to be successful?’

Fortunately for Santa Monica, things have worked out. The game is out and is almost guaranteed to be a massive hit.

They have already said that it will be the last entry to be based around Nordic mythology, implying that the length of time it takes to make a new game made the prospect of a trilogy too daunting.

God Of War Ragnarök is available for PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5.

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