A moving tribute to a developer who worked on God of War Ragnarok has been detailed on Twitter by his fellow developer and partner, Sam Handrick.
“There’s something in God Of War Ragnarok which is the most special to me,” Handrick began, “I got to pitch it and the team made it into everything I could have hoped. I had hoped to wait for some time to talk about it but want to share it now, just in case. It’s the Ballad of Jari and Somr.”
Handrick goes on to explain the meaning behind the side quest, known within the game as favours. This specific favour is first signalled by green hearts with runes inside which are painted on rocks around the world. The idea behind them originated when Hanrick and his fellow developer and partner, Jake Snipes, began thinking about how they’d love to leave a symbol of themselves within the game some years ago.
“Some indication within this game that had been the reason we’d first met, our first game made together. He once suggested simply a heart, with our initials in Norse runes, carved into this world we made,” explained Handrick.
Sadly, Snipes passed away due to his epilepsy in 2020. Once Handrick felt able to return to Santa Monica Studio and continue working on God Of War Ragnarok he approached the game’s director, Eric Williams, to see whether it would be possible to include a memorial in the games. Williams, says Handrick, “made it so much more”.
There's something in God of War Ragnarok which is the most special to me. I got to pitch it and the team made it into everything I could have hoped.
I had hoped to wait for some time to talk about it but want to share it now, just in case.
It's the Ballad of Jari and Somr. pic.twitter.com/S9itiutGbq
— Sam Handrick (@MDSVeritas) November 18, 2022
“I told Eric and the team about Jake’s suggestion of our initials carved into a heart and he and the team returned with that and something even more special,” Hanrick explained. “A story of two men who find each other in an often cruel world, and who find a place to belong simply with each other.”
Handrick said that he hoped for the side quest’s story to be one that “many queer people know: journeying through a world that doesn’t always understand you to find a place that truly feels like home.” He commented that “sometimes that place is simply a person.”
During the quest, players will find a rainbow campfire that “never stops burning” and Hanrick says that this fire carries “the story of a man in whom [he] found something unnamable.”
Also found on Twitter, Snipes’ brother Tom has tweeted about the recent loss of his sibling. “Ever since then I’ve felt hollow, broken and hopeless without him,” says Tom. “Thanks to his boyfriend, Jake is forever enshrined in God Of War Ragnarok, the game they both helped create. I love you Jake, you will never be forgotten.”