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God Of War Developer Slams 'Nonsense' Angrboda Controversy

A highlight for many gamers from the Sony Showcase 2021 was the long-awaited gameplay trailer for "God of War: Ragnarok," the follow-up to the 2018 reboot of the action-packed series. While the reaction to the clip and the new gods it introduced has been positive, some have objected to the ethnicity of one new character, Angrboda, prompting a "God of War: Ragnarok" developer to slam the controversy as utter "nonsense."

The discussion can be observed playing out at length on Reddit, but the narrative director of "God of War: Ragnarok," Matt Sophos, decided to make his opinions on the matter known in an 11-part Twitter post. Sophos first noted that Angrboda, who is inspired by a figure from Norse mythology, proved controversial to a "vocal sliver of the internet" due to her depiction as a "young black woman." The writer then responded to each argument brought against Santa Monica Studio's choice to depict the character as such, and gave examples of how the "God of War" timeline had deviated from standard depictions of Norse mythology before.

The straightforward and quick response that Sophos delivered almost made it seem like the narrative director had predicted a backlash, which could easily be the case, considering that similar discussions have occurred surrounding pop culture in the past, such as when Idris Elba was first cast as Heimdall in 2010's "Thor" (via The Guardian). Here is how a key "God of War" developer responded to the controversy surrounding Angrboda.

God of War: Ragnarok is an "interpretation" of Norse mythology

Beware of spoilers ahead for 2018's "God of War."

Sophos' response outlined and responded to three of the primary arguments posed against the character. The first two were directed at Santa Monica Studio itself, that the developers had bowed to pressure from publishers or other outside voices, and that the writers sought to politicize this level of inclusion, both of which Sophos dismissed.

However, the third (and perhaps most significant) argument was that the depiction of Angrboda as a black woman was inaccurate and disrespectful of Norse mythology and culture, which Sophos would not allow to stand. Sophos wrote, "Hoo boy. The big one. Let me start with this: 'God of War' is our interpretation of mythology, not history – Norse or Greek."

From there, Sophos listed some of the inaccuracies and anachronisms that had been present in the previous game, 2018's "God of War." This included Brok, a bright blue blacksmith with a Texan accent, Mimir, a character with Scottish traits and a connection to Shakespeare, and the game's depiction of Loki as half-giant with divine Greek ancestry, as revealed in the ending of "God of War."

To end his response to the critics, Sophos stated that the series has always taken liberties with its depictions of mythic figures, and if a character's skin tone was the core issue, "it's probably worth some self-examination."