God of War Ragnarok may be an excellent showcase of AAA gaming today, but its gaming inspirations are deep.
In an interview with IGN, Eric Williams, God of War Ragnarok director, discussed the games that shaped his vision for the HTML5 action-adventure. These five NES titles can be played right now through Nintendo Switch Online.
Williams’ selections are varied, from the predictable to the unexpected. He opens his talk with The Legend of Zelda. He says that playing in the woods as an infant made this game feel both familiar and magical.
However, his other options are far more intriguing. Williams also mentions Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out! SNK slugger Baseball Stars is also mentioned. Fans consider Castlevania 2 : Simon’s Quest to be the first black sheep in Konami’s kooky and creepy franchise.
Although Williams’ choice of inspirations may seem strange at first, he explains his reasoning behind each one well. He cites Baseball Stars as an example. “This game had the salary system that taught my the basics of statistics and economy systems.
The other picks aren’t as surprising. River City Ransom, also known as Street Gangs in Europe, was a pioneering game. It featured a nonlinear world, unlockable moves, and upgradeable stats. Scott Pilgrim and Scott Pilgrim vs. The World and its successor series, River City Girls.
Castlevania 2: Simon’s Quest was also thought outside the box. It’s not the best. It feels very archaic, especially considering its confusing overworld and cryptic progression. The day/night cycle is also infuriatingly coded. The game was not without its promising ideas, which would be fully realized in Castlevania Symphony of the Night or other’metroidvania-style games.
Although these NES games may be old by modern standards, it is clear that they are still highly influential. Modern AAA games couldn’t be more different in scope or budget. We are sure many other top PS5 games also took inspiration from retro.