How Santa Monica Studio evolved Atreus’ bow wielding in God of War Ragnarök

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Creating a character from the ground up can be daunting, but developing a character’s growth through progressive storylines is a raging beast of a task in itself. Santa Monica Studio took on this challenge through its comprehensive development of the beloved Atreus, son of Kratos in God of War Ragnarök, where the main focus was to shape shift Atreus from “boy into a young man” with his own unique motivations.

A new God of War Ragnarök deep-dive featuring perspectives from developers at Santa Monica Studio details the journey of Atreus’ character development, specifically turning him into a playable character and narrative driving-force. One fascinating facet of Atreus covered is the story behind Atreus’ weapon choice in God of War Ragnarök.

Fans may be surprised to hear that while brainstorming ideas for Atreus’ weapons there were other options considered along with the bow, which ultimately became the focus.

“There was a lot of talk early on about whether we should give Atreus a sword or a knife, but we didn’t want to overload players and wanted to leave room for Atreus to grow” says Bruno Velasquez, animation director at Santa Monica Studio.

The decision to not overload players with weapon choices gave developers a chance to flesh out the bow and how it can be used in diverse ways, considering ranged and melee attacks, as well as simple tasks like prying open chests to gather items.

More than just how he uses it, honing in on the bow presented the opportunity to explore why Atreus uses the bow and his connection to it.  

Atreus’ mother Faye gave him the weapon and taught him how to use it, making it much more than a tool. The bow is a small piece of her that he carries with him, as well as an extension of himself, as we see in the multitude of ways he uses it to interact with the world. 

“We want players to understand that the bow is part of him – he’s always using it, he’s always thinking about it” says Grace Pan, animator at Santa Monica Studio.

Check out the full article for more on the journey of Atreus’ development in God of War Ragnarök.

For those just beginning their adventure, God of War Ragnarök is part of the Days of Play sale on PlayStation Store*. Learn more here.  

*The Days of Play sale is available on PlayStation Store until June 12, 2023 at 11:59pm local time.

The story of Venba’s culinary and cultural roots from Creative Director Abhi

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Venba is a game about culture, cooking, and change and how food can wonderfully represent it all, coming to the PS5 on July 31. We spoke with Abhi, creative director of Venba, on the ways the game showcases the challenges of immigrating to a new home and the things it can teach us as a person and community.

The story of Venba’s culinary and cultural roots from Creative Director Abhi

PlayStation.Blog: What inspired you to make Venba?

Abhi: A lot of immigrant media focuses on the assimilated children and their struggles, but we felt that the story of the parents is often overlooked. Moving to a completely different country is a huge risk and often isolating. This makes their cultural identity very important to them, and this is what we wanted to explore in Venba. 

PSB: How did you get your start in the gaming industry?

Abhi: I have always had a huge interest in playing and making video games. I pursued a Computer Science degree with the intention of becoming a programmer in the game industry. Once I graduated, I started working at a mobile game studio right up until I left to start my own studio.

PSB: How many iterations/angles did you explore before landing on Venba being a narrative cooking game? Was it always planned this way?

Abhi: Venba was always a narrative cooking game! The idea of telling the story through cooking was very compelling to us and was a core concept from the start.

However, the specific way we approached the cooking gameplay took a lot of iterations and prototyping. Ultimately we settled on the idea of restoring a lost recipe book and framing the cooking sections as puzzles, which we feel fits the game really well. 

PSB: What motivated you to start your own game studio?

Abhi: I didn’t set out to start a studio, but I’ve always wanted to make my own games and tell certain stories. While at my full-time job, I would often be working on a side project or two. Venba was one such game, and its reception has allowed me to transition to working on it full-time and starting a studio!

Tower of Fantasy introduces a highly-stylized Eastern magical world, coming this summer to PlayStation

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Greetings, everyone! I’m Sky, Lead Designer at Hotta Studio of Perfect World Games and I’m absolutely thrilled to share some exciting news with you. Our highly anticipated open-world RPG, Tower of Fantasy, is making its way to PlayStation this summer, published independently by Perfect World Games. Pre-orders will start on June 20 (UTC+0), I can’t wait to introduce you to this incredible world!

Tower of Fantasy introduces a highly-stylized Eastern magical world, coming this summer to PlayStation

Open-world, immersive exploration in various styles

At Hotta Studio, we are constantly pushing the boundaries of open-world gaming, exploring different forms of ‘openness’ to create truly immersive experiences. From the desolate sci-fi wasteland of Astra to the vibrant cyberpunk desert metropolis of ‘Vera Sector’, Tower of Fantasy offers a diverse array of freely explorable worlds. Our commitment to innovation and unique styles challenges us to consistently deliver high-quality game content that captivates players. 

Domain 9, an exquisite Eastern magical world

Speaking of Domain 9, in Tower of Fantasy, we aim to create a unique Eastern aesthetic by seamlessly blending Eastern architectural elements with our sci-fi universe, resulting in a distinct art style. The new Domain 9 map features mountains, the Great Wall, citadels, and floating ships, intricately interconnected. You’ll encounter traditional Eastern cultural adornments like the eternal flame lamp and traditional ink-wash paintings, alongside futuristic elements like neon lights and floating structures.

Final Fantasy XVI demo launches tomorrow

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Final Fantasy XVI fans, great news: while Final Fantasy XVI launches in just under two weeks, you’ll be able to commence your journey to Valisthea tomorrow as the game’s demo launches June 12.  

The demo will give PlayStation 5 players a taste of the game’s vibrant world and fast-paced action combat with two lengthy sections showcasing what you can expect from FFXVI. The first is the game’s opening prologue, approximately a two and half hour slice of gameplay giving players insight into Clive Rosfield’s past and the events that set him on his present day journey.  Save data from this portion can be carried over to the main game when it launches next week.

Final Fantasy XVI demo launches tomorrow

Completing the prologue then unlocks a special battle demo, approximately a two-hour, action-heavy segment. This features an infiltration of a fort at night, with Clive supported on his mission by his faithful wolf Torgal and Cidolfus Telamon. You’ll encounter various enemies and epic bosses. While you won’t be able to save your progress in this segment of the demo, it will let you test out the fuller range of combat options by way of numerous unlocked abilities and accessories. This can be replayed as many times as you’d like, giving players a head start on experiencing Clive’s full-fledged action battles. Need a primer? Get an idea of what to expect here.