Sony Santa Monica left a truly heart-warming in-game tribute to a developer who passed away during God of War Ragnarök's production.
Please note, while this tribute is not integral to the main story, it does relate to one of the game's 'Favour' side-quests. If you are keen to avoid any spoilers, please refrain from reading further.
As players make their way around God of War Ragnarök's realms, they may notice love hearts adorning the environments. These hearts are connected to the Across the Realms side-quest.
This quest tells the story of Jari and Somr, a couple who travelled across the realms together and eventually found a place to call their home. Players can find their camp - the Eternal Campfire - in Midgard, and from here start gathering the ingredients necessary for the couple's next dish (thanks, SirusGaming).
However, this in-game love-story is actually connected to Sony Santa Monica couple Sam Handrick and Jake Snipes.
The couple met when Snipes started working at Santa Monica in 2019. The two soon became inseparable, travelling across the US together and baking (a lot) for the studio.
But their relationship ended too soon. In 2020, Snipes very sadly passed away due to his epilepsy, leaving Handrick heartbroken.
Sharing their story on Twitter, Handrick recalled how the couple would "talk about how much we'd love to leave some symbol of us in Ragnarok. Some indication within this game that had been the reason we'd first met, our first game made together.
"[Snipes] once suggested simply a heart, with our initials in Norse runes, carved into this world we made."
He continued: "I told Eric [Williams, Ragnarök's director] 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.
"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.
"I wanted this story to be one many queer people know: journeying through a world that doesn't always understand you to find a place that truly feels like home.
"And sometimes that place is simply a person. And something as simple as a recipe can be a link back to that home."
You can read Handrick's full, incredibly beautiful, thread below.
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.— Sam Handrick (@MDSVeritas) November 18, 2022
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