Video Game God Of War Ragnarok Sweeps Award Categories and Memorializes Queer Love

Throughout 2022’s The Recreation Awards, God of Struggle Ragnarok earned six awards — greater than every other title on this yr’s competitors. The fictional world supplies 47 Favors, or facet quests. Inverse stories that players spend round 60 hours of playtime to finish the entire content material. Nestled in considered one of these facet quests, a developer pays homage to queer love.

Within the facet quest “Throughout the Realms,” gamers traverse the 4 realms to gather elements to prepare dinner a recipe. Alongside the way in which, gamers find out about Jari and Sómr. In response to the sport, Jari “wandered the realms looking for one thing unnameable. However in all of his wondrous travels, nothing happy him till he met one other wanderer who was looking for one thing related. Unnameable. He was referred to as Sómr … It’s mentioned that Jari and Sómr first shared a kiss within the fields of Jötunheim.” Collectively, the 2 lovers discovered the reply to that unnameable need: dwelling.

Jari and Sómr are impressed by two builders: Sam Handrick and Jake Snipes. Handrick is a Senior Gameplay Programmer at Sony Santa Monica. His accomplice and colleague, Snipes, handed away resulting from epilepsy in 2020.

Epilepsy is a neurological dysfunction that may trigger seizures. In severe circumstances, these seizures could cause falls, accidents, or mind harm.

The couple had labored on the sport collectively. Handrick proposed scattering hearts all through the sport with Norse runes to characterize the couple’s initials. Gamers can discover these hearts when touring by way of the totally different realms.

The memorial grew into the cooking facet quest: a becoming tribute for Snipes, who loved baking. In a Twitter publish, Handrick writes that he and Snipes “picked up baking on a whim. We even occurred to win one of many Studio’s pie-baking competitions. I beloved creating with him. Whether or not it was video games or the sweetest desserts.”

This facet quest in God of Struggle Ragnarok additionally raises consciousness of the LGBTQ+ neighborhood’s very important position in online game historical past. Many main builders and programmers have been queer. In 1998, Patrick J. Barrett III joined the group of builders and engineers who have been creating The Sims. He wrote the code that decided characters’ social behaviors. As Barrett was coding, he didn’t restrict the characters to heterosexual interactions. On the 1999 Digital Leisure Expo, crowd members and builders alike have been shocked when two ladies Sims kissed on display: an sudden however groundbreaking second for queer illustration in video video games.

In its entirety, Handrick’s Twitter thread reads as follows:

There’s one thing in God of Struggle Ragnarok which is probably the most particular to me. I bought to pitch it and the group made it into the whole lot I might have hoped.

I had hoped to attend for a while to speak about it however need to share it now, simply in case.

It’s the Ballad of Jari and Somr.

It’s not a spoiler for the principle story, however is a side-quest ‘Favor’ you may uncover, so be at liberty to hunt it out your self first. You could have observed the primary signal of it in these hearts scattered throughout the realms.

The story of them goes again to a person I really like greater than something.

I met Jake Snipes when he joined Santa Monica Studio in 2019. We labored on God of Struggle Ragnarok collectively, each beloved Carly Rae Jepsen and Dying Be aware, and shortly we develop into actually shut pals.

Earlier than too lengthy we develop into greater than that. Jake was and is a shining gentle in my life.

I used to be head over heels in love with him, and he with me. So madly that we determined to take a grand street journey throughout the entire United States collectively, simply visiting theme parks.

We stayed in on weekends to play video games collectively, adventured round LA and California. I started to really feel really dwelling.

We picked up baking on a whim, and began to deliver something we made into the Studio. Quickly it turned our fame across the group. We even occurred to win one of many Studio’s pie-baking competitions. I beloved creating with him. Whether or not it was video games or the sweetest desserts.

We’d speak about how a lot we’d love to depart some image of us in Ragnarok. Some indication inside this recreation that had been the explanation we’d first met, our first recreation made collectively. He as soon as instructed merely a coronary heart, with our initials in Norse runes, carved into this world we made

Jake died in 2020, resulting from his epilepsy.

I used to be heartbroken. I nonetheless am. I’ll all the time be.

I spent months hardly eager to be alive.

However once I returned to Ragnarok I wished it to be the whole lot he deserved. And I hoped I might go away some piece of him inside it.

I’ll all the time be indebted to Eric Williams. Jake and I used to speak to him each week, and every week Eric would recommend a brand new LA spot for us to discover collectively that weekend.

Once I returned to work I requested Eric if we might embrace a memorial to Jake. He made it a lot extra.

I instructed Eric and the group about Jake’s suggestion of our initials carved right into a coronary heart. And he and the group returned with that and one thing much more particular.

A narrative of two males who discover one another in an usually merciless world, and who discover a place to belong merely with one another.

I wished this story to be one many queer individuals know: journeying by way of a world that doesn’t all the time perceive you to discover a place that actually seems like dwelling.

And generally that place is just an individual.

And one thing so simple as a recipe could be a hyperlink again to that dwelling.

This hearth by no means stops burning. By the coldest days, by way of the nights you don’t need to dwell by way of. It is going to stand on this world we at @SonySantaMonica created for all of time, carrying the story of a person in whom I discovered one thing unnamable. One thing I nonetheless carry now.

There are too many individuals on the group who made this occur to listing all of them right here. However to call a couple of…

I owe Eric Williams, @leftie, @DiMentoXP, @mattsophos, @brettmoody44, @KathleenTigue , and lots of extra individuals greater than I can ever say❤️

I hope you’ll all discover time to search for that everlasting campfire, and to assist make a recipe that seems like dwelling.

Like Jake Snipes, sufferers with epilepsy can construct fulfilling lives and careers. Early prognosis might assist scale back the dangers of issues and sudden seizures. Go to the Epilepsy Basis’s web site to search out help and details about the situation.

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Jean Nicholas

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