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God Of War: Ragnarok Dev Hits Out At Racist Tweets

Sony Interactive Entertainment

Written by 

Tom Chapman

Posted 

15th Sep 2021 16:50

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The God of War team is angrier than Kratos himself, with one dev clapping back at racism that's dogged Ragnarok since the game's trailer was first revealed. While God of War: Ragnarok's delay left the fan community p*ssed, the first trailer seemed to silence critics - if only for a minute.

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It turns out a delay into 2022 was the least of the worries facing Sony Santa Monica Studio. Instead, the trailer unearthed the dark underbelly of GoW fans, with Ryan Hurst's bulkier Thor becoming a major point of contention. If that wasn't enough, the team has also been battling racism against Laya DeLeon Hayes' depiction of Angrboda. 

What has the God of War team said about racism?

Some seem to have a problem with Angrboda being black - under the guise of being historically incorrect. Now, Narrative Director Matt Sophos is here to silence the naysayers.  Sophos joked, "Whew. Mute button got a workout this weekend". Continuing to fly the flag for Angrboda's look, he added, "Angrboda in our game is a young black woman.

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"The vast, vast majority of players are thrilled and think she looks incredible - and boy does she. But a tiny, vocal sliver of the internet was offended at this notion."

Critics claim Ragnarok caved to the "pressure" of putting a black character in the game. Addressing this on Twitter, Sophos bluntly said, "I can count on 2 fingers the # of notes we've gotten for story changes to 2018 + GoW Ragnarok combined. This was not one of them."

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As for the argument of "You made it political," Sophos explained, "As a writer, your job is to tell stories that are compelling and relatable. You bring pieces of yourself to stories and your opinions shine through, so writing is always political - it's just usually only called that if the politics aren't agreed with."

Will God of War change Angrboda?

Clearly standing by Angrboda's side, Sophos listed the many character changes that wouldn't fit with traditional Norse mythology. For example, he pointed out how Brok is "a legendary Dwarven blacksmith" that the game "made blue and talks like a foul-mouthed Texas prospector."

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Just because Angrboda might not fit the traditional image of Norse mythology, that doesn't mean she doesn't have a place in Ragnarok's world. "'It's not accurate to Norse mythology and doesn't respect the culture!' Hoo boy, the big one. Let me start with this: God of War is our interpretation of mythology, not history - Norse or Greek," concluded Sophos. "We've constantly taken mythological characters and given them our own spin, so if the colour of Angrboda's skin is where you draw the line at how respectful we've been, it's probably worth some self-examination."

Thankfully, it sounds like Angrboda will stay exactly as she is. In the past, games have been accused of lightening skin tones, but just like some think Ragnarok has caved to the pressure of adding POC to the game, the devs aren't planning on caving to the pressure of a racist minority.

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They say no press is bad press, and inadvertently, the drama surrounding both Thor and Angrboda has already made them two of the title's biggest talking points. We can't wait for Kratos to pick up the Leviathan Axe to meet his new friends and foes in 2022.

 

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God of War Director Explains Why There Won’t Be A Norse Trilogy

Images via Santa Monica Studio

Written by 

Joseph Kime

Posted 

17th Sep 2021 17:02

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