God of War Ragnarok is nothing to sneeze at. With players logging between 20 and 50 hours of gameplay, this Norse mythology adventure is huge and quite difficult to plan.

Arranging the story, combat, and exploration in God of War Ragnarok would give anyone a headache. In an interview with Game Informer (opens in a new tab) God of War, Ragnarok director Eric Williams explained how he and his team accomplished this daunting task.

The solution to all of this was simple: create an Excel spreadsheet that will rule them all. This spreadsheet breaks down every moment of the game and "how long you're going to be in it," Williams said.

Despite the size of the spreadsheet, it ultimately only predicted "10% of the final product," Williams added. Even after pages and pages of content, it was still particularly difficult to reign in God of War.

excellent planning

During the creation of God of War Ragnarok, Williams learned that he had Aphantasia.

Some may find an Excel master spreadsheet of this size quite daunting. As it turns out, though, this detailed planning was crucial to Williams as the director of God of War Ragnarok.

During the creation of God of War Ragnarok, Williams learned that he had Aphantasia. He describes the inability to form a mental image of an object that is not directly in front of you. Williams described it as if you were telling him to "think green apple." I can not see him. I can't imagine anything in my head."

This is why the extended Excel spreadsheet was so revolutionary for Williams. "I had to make up for that with a bunch of crazy references," Williams said; I need “photos for everything”.


There were certainly images for everything in this spreadsheet. From fight scenes to dialogue, if you could think about it, it was probably there. But the icing on the cake was the terrifying number of GIFs.

Kratos and his son in a boat

(Image credit: Sony Interactive Entertainment)

In the end, the spreadsheet housed around 6000 GIFs. One of the best moments was when Williams described through images and GIFs the exact type of roundhouse kick he wanted in a fight scene. When his team told him that they already knew what a roundhouse kick looked like, he replied: "yes, but not this one."

Some developers even accused Williams of "taking all the creative fun" out of the fight scenes. It took time for both parties to feel comfortable with each other. “They had to adjust to me because he is completely different from Cory. [Barlog, director of God of War 2018]," Williams said. At first he said: 'Why are they so difficult?' until he realized his love for GIFs and extended Excel spreadsheets wasn't the norm.

Fortunately, everyone was able to work out their differences and the final product is something we thought would be truly memorable. As it turns out, Williams' need for spreadsheets and GIFs may have been the best thing to happen to God of War Ragnarok, as the game has an incredible sense of identity and direction.

Share This