God of War Ragnarok: Cory Barlog and Eric Williams on Changing Directors, Why Williams Was Right for the Role - IGN
God of War 2018 and God of War Ragnarok's directors speak to IGN about the latter stepping into the director's chair, doing right by the franchise's history, and more.
That radical reimaging of what Kratos' journey could be is one Barlog directed and shepherded through to its acclaimed launch, and though he had grand plans for the series, as he told us in our God of War spoilercast, he isn't directing Ragnarok. Williams, a veteran of the franchise who has been involved with it in some form or another since 2004 across many of its entries, is now sitting in the director's chair. In speaking with both Barlog and Williams following Ragnarok's first gameplay reveal, though, it's clear not only how integral Williams has been to the entirety of this new era of God of War, and how much he understands the responsibility of leading the charge.
"I've worked with every director on the franchise in a different capacity. I worked with Cory as an animation lead. I worked with David Jaffe as a director. I worked with Todd Papy as a level designer. I worked with Stig as an artist. And with Ru [Weerasuriya] and Dana [Jan] at Ready at Dawn in different capacities. Learning from each one of them, to me it's just doing right by everyone that's come before me and taking the franchise in the right direction. You don't want to be that director that sends it off the rails. A lot of big franchises this can happen with, and so I just want to pay respect to what we've done in the past and still try to keep it fresh for the future at the same time."
"I remember that point when we were talking about ripping everything down to the studs," Barlog said, offering his take on that time. "Everything I've ever worked on with Eric, Eric is the sounding board and also the boundary limit testing, where I didn't want to say to him, 'I want to take all of it out and then I want to re-examine it and choose the things that work and figure out how to build them.' I was like, 'Oh, we'll keep some stuff,' just to see how his reaction was. And his reaction was 'Well that's dumb. You should absolutely just take it all out.'"
Barlog and Williams both said that, when it came to specifics, there were only three core things Barlog asked Williams for - and no, of course they didn't spoil what those things were. Williams thought those aspects lined up with his vision as well, though he was open and frank about how, following that discussion, the path forward wasn't always an easy one, but the two trusted each other's creative process thanks to their history together.
"There's something that happens in boxing a lot. You'll have this very, very skilled young boxer and his father is his trainer, his coach, his manager, his everything. And it gets to a point where the kid is so good that it's time to go pro, right? That's where the promoters and all this stuff starts to come in and wants to pull him this way, and the dad's like, 'Stay with me. We'll do this right, you'll be champ forever. You go over there, they're going to send you to the wolves, you're going to get knocked out,'" Williams explained.
"And Kratos has this mindset. It's like, 'There'll be a time for this, but now is not the time. We don't need to go pick a fight. Let's just grow and be together and have this time.' But the kid, being young, wants to go, right? That young boxer wants to get out there, wants his title shot."
more in the link.