God of Conflict Ragnarök is a world filled with scowling gods and monsters butting heads as they every work towards their greatest pursuits. The 9 realms are darkish and harmful, however by all of that shines a beam of sudden mild, and I’m not speaking about Brok, the dwarf who appears incapable of ending a sentence with out together with some sort of vulgarity earlier than assembly the interval on the finish. I’m speaking about Ratatoskr, the eyepatch-wearing squirrel who watches over Yggdrasil, the world tree that holds the realms in place.
Ratatoskr technically appeared in God of Conflict (2018), however he was much less of a personality and extra of a capability. Atreus may summon the translucent blue squirrel to carry well being gadgets and generally hacksilver. In God of Conflict Ragnarök, Ratatoskr is a bodily, non-translucent character with dialogue, requests, and an introductory cutscene. He’s additionally, arguably, probably the most sudden character within the recreation.
Ratatoskr introduces himself to Kratos and Atreus like a cute, animated Disney sidekick. He climbs on high of Kratos, who may as effectively be a tree, rifles by his belongings like Yoda in Return of the Jedi, and leaps to Atreus the place he stands perched on his arm to clarify who he’s. He’s bizarre as hell and aesthetically misplaced. There are many animals in God of Conflict Ragnarök, good and evil, however Ratatoskr is the one one who wears garments and speaks in excellent English (or no matter language you’re enjoying in). He has loads of jokes, however isn’t fairly comedian aid. Ratatoskr is odd and sudden, and that’s precisely how Ragnarök director Eric Williams needed him to be.
“I needed this character within the recreation,” Williams advised us throughout a current interview. “I needed him to do this stuff and everybody was like, ‘We now have to chop this. We now have too many characters.’ And I used to be like, ‘No! He’s staying within the recreation.’” Ratatoskr is among the many many causes Ragnarök is taken into account the funniest entry within the God of Conflict franchise. Williams needed the sport to have moments of levity to assist offset the in any other case darkish tone and it’s why he put his foot down to verify Ratatoskr stayed.
“That scene the place he exhibits up? That was the one everyone was like, ‘Okay, are we going too far?’” Williams says. “Even the music director was like, ‘I do not even know what to do with the music right here. That is so far-off from God of Conflict. We do not even have music written that can assist this alongside!’ They’d to return and piece some stuff collectively for it as a result of it was so international to what God of Conflict is.” Williams needed to verify the particular person portraying Ratatoskr would be capable of ship a comedic efficiency, and he knew precisely who he needed early on.
SungWon Cho is a gifted voice actor who has appeared in dozens of video games and animated TV exhibits, however he could also be greatest recognized on the web for his short-form sketches poking enjoyable at very particular components of nerd tradition. “I needed SungWon to voice him,” Williams says. “Certainly one of our writers, Anthony Burch, mentioned, ‘I do know SungWon,’ and I used to be like, ‘Dude – name him.’” Cho got here in and discovered in regards to the character and Williams requested him if he was taken with writing for Ratatoskr as effectively, to which Cho agreed.
Talking with Cho over e-mail in regards to the position, he mentioned he was introduced in earlier than the sport was introduced and wasn’t even positive what he was probably signing up for. “I walked into the assembly room not understanding what to anticipate, and Eric went, ‘So I believe you may guess what recreation we wish you for,’” Cho writes. “I responded, ‘I don’t know,” and he sorta nodded his head towards the projector within the room with a giant God of Conflict background, and I simply went, ‘……Oh.’”
In contrast to most gamers, he wasn’t too stunned by the look and plan for Ratatoskr. “Conceptually, I wasn’t too thrown off at first, however possibly that is as a result of I’ve voiced plenty of speaking animals in my profession,” Cho writes.
When it comes to writing the character, Cho labored on Ratatoskr from the very starting. “I used to be given full reign to give you the actual Ratatoskr’s persona and voice,” Cho writes. “Earlier than I joined the writing group, Ratatoskr’s persona was truly rather more like Bitter’s within the first recreation, impolite and sassy, however I assumed it would be extra enjoyable to have the actual Ratatoskr be extra of an eager-to-please, not fully reliable sort who actually ejects features of his persona he finds bothersome. I keep in mind pitching him as virtually like a automotive salesman who desires you to love him so he can promote you extra automobiles.”
Cho proposed Ratatoskr’s extra personalities and was given a framework for what info wanted to be delivered to the participant, however from there he had free reign to develop and write for the character as he happy. “Ratatoskr’s introduction scene was fully unchanged from how I wrote it, and I believe it was fairly key in establishing the character’s persona/tone,” Cho writes. “After I left the writing group and months later went in to document traces, I did discover that a few of my dialogue was nonetheless in, some had been modified, and there have been additionally new traces, however I used to be impressed at the way it all match very effectively into the persona I had established for the character.”
Cho additionally supplied movement seize for Ratatoskr, which was functionally a lot totally different from the remainder of the forged who who play characters that radically differ in peak, however are in any other case all human beings. “It was an enchanting expertise. Lots of people assume I actually climbed up on Christopher Choose’s shoulders or one thing, which might be absurd by itself, however I really feel just like the precise course of was much more bewildering,” Cho writes. “Mainly, I used to be supplied a set of bars in entrance of me and a giant platform I may sit on behind me. I then watched the actors in real-time as a puppeteer moved a luxurious Ratatoskr round Chris’s physique, carried out the traces reside, and needed to do the climbing motions whereas standing. If I sat on a personality’s shoulder, I’d sit down on the platform behind me. If I needed to climb up one thing, I may use the bars in entrance of me to ‘pull’ myself up.” Cho principally watched the puppet model of his character and carried out the scenes from the attitude of the puppet. “Undoubtedly one of many strangest however most entertaining appearing experiences I’ve had,” Cho writes.
and now that God of Conflict: Ragnarok’s out, this is the compulsory goofy motion-capture images of me suited as much as carry out Ratatoskr, it is a very enticing look, i do know, thanks @SonySantaMonica pic.twitter.com/cgBT2rcnYc
— SungWon Cho (@ProZD) November 9, 2022
“[SungWon is] tremendous deadpan. The entire time I did not know if he was completely satisfied or mad or unhappy or no matter,” Williams says. “He lastly tells us, ‘I am similar to this on a regular basis. Inside my head, I am doing backflips.’”
Ratatoskr did have traces of dialogue and a voice within the first recreation, supplied by Troy Baker (Joel from The Final of Us and dozens of different video games), however for the sequel they needed to alter up the character. Within the context of the sport, Ratatoskr has separated and damaged his personalities out of his physique, which explains why he may exist within the first recreation as a spectral entity with a distinct voice.
“I had already had this concept that we might make it like Inside Out the place he is obtained all of the personalities – however we’ll preserve Troy [Baker] in order that he is obtained this one which he’s like, ‘He isn’t even a part of me,’” Williams says. “Troy came upon and he is like, ‘Oh, that is nice. I can not wait to do that once more.’ So the 2 of them turned the 5 squirrels.”
Initially, Williams and the group toyed with having totally different voice actors for each squirrel, however ended up leaning on Cho to combine up the performances. “From what I used to be advised, I used to be chosen as a result of they thought I may pull off vastly totally different personalities, and since they needed somebody with a comedic background not just for efficiency but in addition for writing the dialogue,” Cho writes.
As is to be anticipated with nearly any artistic endeavor, not all the pieces deliberate for Ratatoskr made it into the ultimate recreation. “They requested me to jot down a ‘rap battle’ within the model of the Norse exercise of flyting, which is actually a contest of throwing insults at one another,” Cho writes, with reference to Ratatoskr content material that didn’t make the ultimate lower. “It was between Ratatoskr and Brok, and I used to be fairly proud of the way it turned out, however plenty of issues must get lower for time (or possibly silliness).”
The last word verdict continues to be out on Ratatoskr. Time will inform if he’s a beloved addition to God of Conflict’s giant forged, however early suggestions has been welcoming and constructive. It helps that gamers have discovered if you happen to ring his bell sufficient, the usually stoic squirrel will lash out and be the one character to showcase extra anger than outdated Kratos. “If you are going to herald a large speaking squirrel and have him discuss to Kratos, I believe he will really feel cartoony it doesn’t matter what you do,” Cho writes. “Whereas I needed him to be a really enjoyable, virtually bigger than life character, I nonetheless needed to verify his persona and motivations had actual earnestness to them. So far as writing him went, I needed him to really feel actual and never only a foolish little throwaway character.”
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