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The Heartbreaking Story Behind This God Of War Ragnarok Tribute

The "God of War" series hasn't always been known for being grounded and relatable. Although Kratos has always been guided by his emotions, he was far from a relatable character in the original trilogy. His insatiable lust for revenge and willingness to do anything to get it — including ripping off the head of Helios – made for what many believe to be a one-note character. But now, with the soft-reboot, the series was reborn with a rich narrative and a "somewhat" relatable main character (per Washington Post). As a result, "God of War Ragnarok" is full of touching moments, according to critics.

But as it turns out, one of the most emotional parts of "God of War Ragnarok" isn't one that can be deciphered with in-game dialogue or cutscenes. Instead, it comes in the form of a heartbreaking tribute to a previous Santa Monica employee. Recently, the individual that wanted the tribute in the game shared the story behind it, and it has some fans in tears.

A touching tribute to a former employee

Senior gameplay programmer at Santa Monica studio Sam Handrick recently opened up on Twitter about "something in God of War Ragnarok which is the most special to [him]." Handrick refers to a side-quest called the Ballad of Jari and Somr that he pitched to the development team. Handrick explained imprints of this quest could be found throughout the game via heart drawings on rocks. Handrick wrote, " the story of them [the hearts] goes back to a man I love more than anything."

This man, Handrick explained, was Jake Snipes, a coworker turned romantic partner of Handrick's at Santa Monica Studio. Handrick continued the thread by highlighting some of their greatest moments, including road trips across the USA to visit theme parks. Handrick explained that the two previously discussed having their love showcased in the game that first brought them together via a heart with their initials in Norse runes.

According to Handrick, Jake Snipes tragically passed away in 2020 due to epilepsy, but his spirit lives on through the special side quest. Handrick wrote that the reason for the tribute was to honor Snipes and the struggles "many queer people know." At the quest's end is a rainbow campfire, and Handrick wrote, "This fire never stops burning. Through the coldest days, through the nights you don't want to live through." Those in the replies offered condolences and thanked Handrick for telling his story.