God of Struggle 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 means of 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 Struggle (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 Struggle 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 sport.
Ratatoskr introduces himself to Kratos and Atreus like a cute, animated Disney sidekick. He climbs on prime of Kratos, who may as effectively be a tree, rifles by means of his belongings like Yoda in Return of the Jedi, and leaps to Atreus the place he stands perched on his arm to elucidate who he’s. He’s bizarre as hell and aesthetically misplaced. There are many animals in God of Struggle 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 just isn’t fairly comedian reduction. Ratatoskr is odd and sudden, and that’s precisely how Ragnarök director Eric Williams wished him to be.
“I wished this character within the sport,” Williams advised us throughout a current interview. “I wished him to do these items and everybody was like, ‘We have now to chop this. We have now too many characters.’ And I used to be like, ‘No! He’s staying within the sport.’” Ratatoskr is among the many many causes Ragnarök is taken into account the funniest entry within the God of Struggle franchise. Williams wished 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 ensure Ratatoskr stayed.
“That scene the place he reveals 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 Struggle. We do not even have music written that may 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 Struggle is.” Williams wished to ensure the individual portraying Ratatoskr would have the ability to ship a comedic efficiency, and he knew precisely who he wished early on.
SungWon Cho is a proficient voice actor who has appeared in dozens of video games and animated TV reveals, however he could also be greatest identified on the web for his short-form sketches poking enjoyable at very particular parts of nerd tradition. “I wished SungWon to voice him,” Williams says. “Considered one of our writers, Anthony Burch, stated, ‘I do know SungWon,’ and I used to be like, ‘Dude – name him.’” Cho got here in and discovered concerning the character and Williams requested him if he was occupied with writing for Ratatoskr as effectively, to which Cho agreed.
Talking with Cho over e-mail concerning the position, he stated he was introduced in earlier than the sport was introduced and wasn’t even positive what he was doubtlessly signing up for. “I walked into the assembly room not realizing what to anticipate, and Eric went, ‘So I feel you may guess what sport 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 Struggle background, and I simply went, ‘……Oh.’”
In contrast to most gamers, he wasn’t too shocked 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 true Ratatoskr’s persona and voice,” Cho writes. “Earlier than I joined the writing crew, Ratatoskr’s persona was truly far more like Bitter’s within the first sport, impolite and sassy, however I believed it might be extra enjoyable to have the true Ratatoskr be extra of an eager-to-please, not completely reliable kind who actually ejects elements of his persona he finds bothersome. I bear in mind pitching him as virtually like a automobile salesman who desires you to love him so he can promote you extra automobiles.”
Cho proposed Ratatoskr’s further personalities and was given a framework for what data 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 completely unchanged from how I wrote it, and I feel it was fairly key in establishing the character’s persona/tone,” Cho writes. “After I left the writing crew and months later went in to report 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 offered movement seize for Ratatoskr, which was functionally a lot completely different from the remainder of the solid who who play characters that radically range in top, however are in any other case all human beings. “It was an interesting expertise. Lots of people suppose I actually climbed up on Christopher Decide’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. “Principally, I used to be offered 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 an opulent 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 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 angle of the puppet. “Undoubtedly one of many strangest however most entertaining appearing experiences I’ve had,” Cho writes.
and now that God of Struggle: Ragnarok’s out, this is the compulsory goofy motion-capture photographs 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 identical 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 sport, offered by Troy Baker (Joel from The Final of Us and dozens of different video games), however for the sequel they wished to vary 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 sport as a spectral entity with a unique 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 is not even a part of me,’” Williams says. “Troy discovered and he is like, ‘Oh, that is nice. I am unable to wait to do that once more.’ So the 2 of them turned the 5 squirrels.”
Initially, Williams and the crew toyed with having completely 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 completely different personalities, and since they wished somebody with a comedic background not just for efficiency but additionally 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 sport. “They requested me to write down a ‘rap battle’ within the fashion of the Norse exercise of flyting, which is actually a contest of throwing insults at one another,” Cho writes, with regard to Ratatoskr content material that didn’t make the ultimate reduce. “It was between Ratatoskr and Brok, and I used to be fairly pleased with the way it turned out, however plenty of issues must get reduce 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 Struggle’s massive solid, however early suggestions has been welcoming and constructive. It helps that gamers have discovered for those who ring his bell sufficient, the sometimes stoic squirrel will lash out and be the one character to showcase extra anger than outdated Kratos. “If you are going to usher in a large speaking squirrel and have him discuss to Kratos, I feel he will really feel cartoony it doesn’t matter what you do,” Cho writes. “Whereas I wished him to be a really enjoyable, virtually bigger than life character, I nonetheless wished to ensure his persona and motivations had actual earnestness to them. So far as writing him went, I wished him to really feel actual and never only a foolish little throwaway character.”