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God of War Ragnarok: Raeb character highlights the game's heart /

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God of War Ragnarök is full of powerful storylines, but the depth of its heart is brilliantly highlighted by one minor side character.'s BETHANY-MAY HOWARD writes….God of War Ragnarök has taken everything that was great about its 2018 predecessor and expanded upon it to create a truly impactful and hugely enjoyable experience. Its main story is filled with emotion, which is enhanced by the fantastic side-quests, known in-game as favors, that expand upon the game's lore, characters, and themes. Santa Monica Studio has also hidden heartwarming gems beyond these main areas. One such example is the inclusion of a minor side character, Ræb.

The Dwarven musician is first encountered in the tavern that players enter in Svartalfhem's town of Nidavellir when first seeking out Durlin as part of the quest to find Tyr. He seems angry at Mimir, which sparks the "In Service of Asgard" favor. This sees the decapitated god trying to undo some of the wrongs for which he'd previously been accountable. This favor allows the player to learn more about Mimir's backstory, but the best part of the quest is Ræb himself.

The Dwarven musician, Ræb, is modeled after the game's composer, Bear McCreary, who was also given the honor of voicing the character. The name is simply Bear backwards. Of course, it's not unusual for developers to include tributes to members of the team, either as a fun Easter egg or because they've sadly passed away, but this instance is slightly different. McCreary is not a member of the Santa Monica Studio team, but simply created the game's musical score.

He's also worked on The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power, Battlestar Galactica, and The Walking Dead, so for Santa Monica Studio to honor him with such a vital part of their project is a really nice touch. McCreary was given an acting credit for his spoken lines as well, so the tribute goes beyond just a simple, sweet in-game reference.

In an interview released by Santa Monica Studio's Twitter account, McCreary explained how he was told about this extra involvement in the game. He states that God of War Ragnarök's directors, Cory Barlog and Eric Williams, spoke to him at the end of their first meeting about the game and unveiled the surprise concept art for the character. McCreary assumed he'd be in the background and perhaps do some motion capture work with a hurdy-gurdy, but the duo replied that they wanted him to voice the character too.

This heartwarming gesture from Santa Monica Studio shows a different way that games can be impactful aside from the main story beats. Another example is that the team also included the collectibles, Kvasir's Poems, as a cool nod to PlayStation's history, again highlighting the studio's respect for the people they work with. These sorts of inclusions truly show God of War Ragnarök's heart beyond its main content.

The inclusion of Ræb, however, goes beyond the usual referential nod and really shows Santa Monica Studio's huge appreciation for McCreary's work, which ultimately ties the whole game together and underscores many of its emotional moments. Fans will also appreciate the fact that his work has been honored in such a way and will enjoy interacting with his character even more knowing its true inspiration.