god of war ragnarok has taken everything great from its 2018 predecessor and expanded on it to create a truly impactful and hugely enjoyable experience. Its main story is packed with excitement, which is bolstered by the fantastic side quests, known in-game as Favors, which expand on the game’s lore, characters, and themes. Santa Monica Studio has also hidden soulful gems beyond these main areas. An example of this is the inclusion of a minor supporting character, Ræb.
The Dwarf Musician is first encountered in the tavern that players enter in the Nidavellir city of Svartalfhem when they first search for Durlin as part of the quest to find Tyr. He seems angry with Mimir, which elicits the favor of “Serving Asgard”. This sees the headless god trying to undo some of the wrongs he had previously been responsible for. This boon allows the player to learn more about Mimir’s backstory, but the best part of the quest is Ræb himself.
Why Ræb is such a special character
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 team members, 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 merely created the musical score for the game.
He has also worked on The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power, Battlestar GalacticaY The Walking Dead, so to have Santa Monica Studio honor him with such a vital part of their project is a really nice touch. McCreary also received an acting credit for his spoken lines, so the tribute goes beyond just a sweet in-game reference.
How Ræb was first revealed to be Bear McCreary
In an interview broadcast by Santa Monica Studio Twitter account, McCreary explained how he was told about this additional involvement in the game. He claims that god of war ragnarokDirectors Cory Barlog and Eric Williams spoke to him at the end of their first meeting about the game and revealed surprise concept art for the character. McCreary assumed he would be in the background and perhaps do some motion capture work with a barrel organ, but the duo responded that they wanted him to voice the character as well.
This heartwarming nod from Santa Monica Studio shows a different way games can be impactful in addition to the main story beats. Another example is that the team also included the collectibles, Kvasir’s Poems, as a cool nod to the history of PlayStation, again highlighting the studio’s respect for the people they work with. These types of inclusions really show god of war ragnarok‘s heart beyond its main content.
The inclusion of Ræb, however, goes beyond the usual referential wink and really shows Santa Monica Studio’s great appreciation for McCreary’s work, ultimately tying the entire game together and underscoring many of its emotional moments. Fans will also appreciate the fact that his work has been honored in such a way and will even more enjoy interacting with his character learning about his true inspiration.