Series veterans Kratos and Atreus were always going to be the main stars of the Santa Monica Studio epic God of War Ragnarok, but the more you play its 30+ hour campaign, the more its cast of new faces threaten to steal the show. It's the performances from the likes of Laya Hayes (Angrboda) and Richard Schiff (Odin) that remain in the brain after the credits roll.
The emotional journey of Thrúd is another highlight, as she battles familial problems and tries to focus on her efforts to become a Valkyrie. To learn more about the journey of becoming Thrúd and her experiences working on God of War Ragnarok, we caught up with who brought the character to life: Mina Sundwall. It turns out she loves Thrúd's big biceps the most. Who wouldn't?!
Push Square: How did the opportunity to work on God of War Ragnarok come about for you?
Mina Sundwall: I auditioned! At the time the project was under a cover name, with a description of this rebellious girl stuck in a family that wants her to stay home while her brothers get to fight. I loved that she was headstrong and opinionated, with a big attitude. When I found out that what I had booked was actually God of War, I knew the fun had just begun.
What was the experience like in general? Did anything about the role surprise you?
It was a learning experience, for sure. The mocap is an interesting blend of theatre and film that I wasn’t expecting. Sensors around the stage pick up your movements, and a handheld camera picks up the details of your facial expressions. In theatre there are moments that lack the closeness and intimate details that a camera allows you, and in film your body movements can be restricted by what is in frame. With this, there was somehow both and neither of those obstacles. Everything you do is captured. It was a lot of fun to play, especially since Thrúd is so much stronger and more buff than me. I got to walk around like I had those biceps… ha!
How would you compare working on the set of a video game to that of a TV show? For example, the motion capture equipment that creates a digital representation of you instead of a camera that's recording your literal acting.
It took some time to get used to shooting scenes with absolutely no idea what the world will look like. And not the "nothing" that I mean from previous TV experiences, where you're on a set that has a fraction of the world built for you to interact with before VFX. I mean a blank room with a stick of foam to represent what will be your sword. We got to see visual examples of how each scene would look, and then I just hope what I’m doing works, haha.
How did you get into the character of Thrúd before recording? Had you read up much on who Thrúd is in Norse mythology beforehand?
I did some serious studying! I read up [on] Thrúd, Thor, Modi, and Magni in Norse mythology as well as everything I could possibly find on the previous game (I don’t know how many hours of my life I’ve spent watching gameplay of the first game). I made myself a giant booklet. It felt like I was back in school.
What were some of your favourite scenes to record?
It is really hard for me to pick, but the scene with Thor outside of the tavern holds a special place in my heart. I like that it creates an interesting dynamic in a "who is parenting who" situation. It was one of the more challenging ones to film, and I’m pretty sure we made a couple of people cry (sorry, not sorry guys). I also had a great time working with Sunny on our various adventures. And, of course… the idle poses and Thrúd personality moments that you see throughout the game.
Speaking about the game in general, what were some of your favourite moments and scenes?
I loved the sequence with Angrboda, and I do love the scenes between Thor and Kratos at the end. But every time there was a new sequence in the game I’d go: "Oh, that’s my new favourite moment."
We would like to thank Mina for taking the time to answer our questions. Was Thrúd one of your favourite characters in God of War Ragnarok? What was the best scene featuring her? Share your thoughts in the comments below.