Santa Monica Studios’ God of War: Ragnarok was recently released to critical acclaim (including a glowing review from our good friends over at Push Square), and its director Eric Williams recently shared some of the games that have inspired him and impacted his career.
Speaking to IGN (thanks, GoNintendo), Williams listed five classic NES titles that informed how he approaches various aspects of game design, including combat, stats, and day/night cycles. As expected, some of his choices may seem pretty obvious to many of our readers here, but there are a few that might come as a bit of a surprise.
The first game listed is of course The Legend of Zelda. Though it’s not exactly a game that ranks highly with Nintendo zelda franchise today, the impact of its introduction on the NES cannot be overstated. Williams says that “because I came from the Midwest and played in the woods as a kid, this game felt so familiar and awesome at the same time.”
The second is Castlevania II: Simon’s Quest. The second entry in the Castlevania franchise, Simon’s Quest is often overshadowed by its predecessor and its immediate sequel, but Williams is a big fan of the game’s “city, day/night, insane mysteries” and “monster mythology.”
Next up is Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out!!, a game we just recently covered in our regular Box Art Brawl feature. Williams is a big fan of the combat featured here (as are we!) and states that “this game’s patterns, mechanics, techniques, and challenges influenced all my early ideas of what a ‘good’ combat system should be.”
The fourth game is Baseball Stars, an SNK game that became particularly successful in the US when it was released in 1989. It was well-received by critics at the time for its gameplay, but Williams took more inspiration from the game’s economic mechanics, stating, “This game had a salary system that taught me the basics of statistics and economics.”
Finally, the last game Williams performed is River City Ransom, a title the director says influenced his approach to video game themes. He says, “The theme is very important to me and the theme of this game, being a ‘kid’, was so strong. Playground gangs, sports, guns, skill-learning comics, even the low cash cap felt like lunch money or pocket money values of the time.”
So there you have it! It’s always nice to see the creators finding inspiration behind some of the most critically acclaimed games in the world. While NES games may seem a bit primitive to youngsters these days, there’s absolutely no denying the varied impact they’ve had on modern gaming. Nice, NES!
Have you played Ragnarok yet? Do you agree with William’s assessments of these five NES games? Let us know!