Fans of the God of War series have been waiting patiently for the release of God of War Ragnarok since its announcement at the PlayStation 5 (PS5) Showcase event in 2020.
Originally slated for release in 2021, development had been delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the health problems of Christopher Judge (the voice actor for Kratos, the protagonist of the series). This has only built anticipation for the title, with the game-winning awards for Most Wanted Game from the 2020 Golden Joystick Awards and Most Anticipated Game from the 2020 PlayStation Blog Awards.
Considering the huge success of God of War (2018), this anticipation is deserved and the title may well be one of the best of the year. Let’s discuss more below!
A Long Time Coming
Although the game was officially announced in 2020, even by early 2021, no further updates on its development had been given.
By the summer, a decision had been made by Sony to delay the game until 2022, due to several factors. The COVID-19 pandemic had a huge impact on development, as acquiring talent such as voice actors, developers, and writers became increasingly difficult due to travel and social restrictions.
The voice actor for Kratos, Christopher Judge, also revealed that his personal health problems contributed greatly to the delay since, after needing surgery, he required rehabilitation time in order to continue working on the game’s production. It was during the 2021 PlayStation Showcase event that God of War Ragnarok was confirmed to be the finale to the Norse chapter of the series. All in all, Ragnarok has taken five years to develop, much like the entry that came before it.
God of War Ragnarok Goes Gold
On October 7, announcements were made by the producer, Cory Barlog, and by Santa Monica Studio, Sony’s video game development team via Twitter, confirming that God of War Ragnarok has gone gold and the release date for November 7 this year. But, what exactly does this mean?
Simply put, a game “goes gold” when the development has been completed and the game is ready to be published by the relevant first-party company as the product is of sufficient quality for mass distribution. The term is technically known as release to manufacturing (RTM) and originated in the audio record-making industry.
In the early days of video games, the “master” version of the completed game would be copied onto a gold disc, ready to be duplicated onto CDs for mass distribution, hence the term “going gold.” This usually meant that no additional changes or improvements could be made to the game, but in the age of digital distribution and patching via an internet connection, this is no longer the case.
Regarding God of War Ragnarok, there has already been a patch developed, update 1.01, that won’t be included with the launch of the physical copies but should come pre-installed with the digital versions. This aims to fix various bugs and issues that remain after the game has gone gold.
Multiple Ways to Play
Luckily for PlayStation 4 (PS4) players, the game has been confirmed to be released for the PS4 console as well as PS5. Players can also upgrade their PS4 version to the PS5 version for a fee. Although there is no confirmation of a PC port in the works, this prospect is promising given the success of its predecessor’s PC version. God of War PC was released on Steam in January 2022 and has been doing very well in terms of sales. While this version brought accessibility improvements with it and impressive frame rates, it did take three years to be available, so currently there’s not too much to go on at present regarding a PC version of Ragnarok.
Bringing the Story to a Close
Being the ninth installment in the series, God of War Ragnarok will be the final game in the series inspired by Norse mythology. Centered around the events of Ragnarok, a series of great battles culminating in the end of the world, Kratos sets out to prevent this catastrophe alongside his son, Atreus.
Atreus first appeared as a secondary protagonist in the previous entry of the series, God of War, released in 2018. In this game, the pair journeyed to the highest peak of the nine realms to spread the ashes of Faye, Kratos‘ wife and Atreus‘ mother.