God of War Ragnarok may be a great showcase for modern AAA games, but its inspiration runs deep.
God of War Ragnarok director Eric Williams talks about the game that shaped his vision for action-adventure on PS5. All five are his NES titles, some of which are now playable through Nintendo Switch Online’s streamable NES library.
Williams’ choices range from predictable to fairly deep cuts. Starting with The Legend of Zelda, he states, “Playing in the woods as a kid made this game so relatable and wonderful at the same time.”
But his other options are actually much more interesting. Williams has also worked with Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out!!, SNK Slugger Baseball Stars, the cult classic River City Ransom and, perhaps controversially, the early black sheep of Konami’s wacky horror franchise. He also mentions the game series he considers Castlevania 2: Simon’s Quest.
Other picks are no surprise. River City ransomware (commonly known as Street Gangs in Europe) was ahead of its time. The game featured a non-linear world, unlockable moves, and upgradable stats.His influence can now be seen in works such as Scott Pilgrim vs. The World and the series’ successor, River City Girls. You can see it though.
Williams’ inspirational choices may seem strange at first, but they do a good job of explaining why each. “This game had a payroll system that taught you the basics of statistics and economics,” he says of his baseball star.
Castlevania 2: Simons His quest was also considered out of the box for its time. But probably not the best. The game feels pretty old-fashioned by today’s standards, with its confusing overworld, puzzling progression, and annoying coded day-night cycle. Still, the game was not without promising ideas that would later be fully realized in Castlevania: Symphony of the Night and other Metroidvania-style games.
These NES games may be as old as the hills by today’s standards, but it’s clear that they still make a big impact. Even a modern AAA game that couldn’t get any further in terms of scope and budget. We believe that many of the best PS5 games are also retro-inspired.