God of War: Ragnarok will give players 'expressive choice’ with new shields

God of War Ragnarok
(Image credit: Sony)

It looks like God of War: Ragnarok will bring Kratos and players enjoy a little more variety when it comes to the shields that can be used in the game.

The desire to offer more choice when compared to 2018’s God of War was touched on by the game’s director, Eric Williams, in an interview with God of War YouTuber Jon Ford

Ford pointed out to Williams that in the recent trailer for Ragnarok, there are moments where it looks like Kratos’ Guardian Shield has a different design and Kratos is using it in different ways. Williams acknowledged the truth of this and said that while he didn’t “want to go too deep on it”, the game will have “different shields, and they have different defensive options and abilities.“ 

The reason for this, William explained, is because he and the team at Santa Monica Studio “really want to open up expressive choice to the way that you build your Kratos, like the equipment and loadout and things like that.” 

This, Williams added, goes “all the way down to the defense, so you can kind of play a little differently and enemies know how to respond to that, or force you into these different situations where you need to use different things. I think it’ll be fun for players to explore that but also we want it to be more expressive, you know, your choices matter when you set him up.”

Unfortunately, Williams didn’t go into specifics when it comes to what any of these abilities will be but watching the trailer with a beady eye does yield a couple of designs at least. Really, any attempts to make defense more varied and interesting sound worth exploring to make a more well-rounded and potentially tactically interesting combat system.

Analysis: Finishing on a high

God of War: Ragnarok is the game that will finish off the series’ Norse saga started with 2018’s God of War and, based on what we’ve heard about it so far, it seems like Santa Monica Studios intends to go out on a high by building on what’s come before. 

This isn’t the first time Williams has touched on giving the player more opportunities to express themselves when it comes to Kratos’ loadout and abilities, either. In a recent interview with IGN, the director said, “So in Ragnarok, what we are trying to do specifically with Kratos, we're trying to give a lot more expressiveness to the player.“ 

In that interview, Williams touched on Atreus having “more follow-ups and setups for Kratos“ in combat, adding that “there's going to be a little bit more conversation with the enemies with all the new tools.”

Adding this kind of variety is partly, it seems, because it’s now possible and because it improves the experience for the player. “Variety for variety's sake is not a thing at all,” Williams told IGN, “It's there to serve what we're trying to do. Kratos grappling up the ledge with a chain and then colliding with the enemy and going off, you couldn't do things like that [in 2018]. Most of the gameplay last time took place on a plane. Now there's some verticality to it.”

We were pretty happy with the combat in 2018’s God of War but, hey, we won’t object if Santa Monica Studios decides to take the “if it ain’t broke, improve it” approach. God of War: Ragnarok is expected to arrive on PS5 and PS4 sometime in 2022.

Emma Boyle

Emma Boyle is TechRadar’s ex-Gaming Editor, and is now a content developer and freelance journalist. She has written for magazines and websites including T3, Stuff and The Independent. Emma currently works as a Content Developer in Edinburgh.