God of War Developer Who Helped Design Iconic Axe Passes

A screenshot from 2018's God of War showing Kratos wielding the Leviathan Axe.

We have his axe.
Screenshot: Sony

With its thick, meaty impact and the satisfying smack of it returning after being thrown, the Leviathan Axe from 2018’s God of War is one of the most memorable weapons in all of gaming. This week, members of Sony’s Santa Monico Studio and gamers everywhere mourn the passing of George Mawle, a gameplay engineer who game director Cory Barlog calls “one of the fathers of the Leviathan feel.”

The news of Mawle’s passing September 2 passing came from God of War combat design lead Mihir Sheth, who sang the engineer’s praises in a lengthy Twitter thread over the weekend. During his tenure at Santa Monica Studio, which started in 2013 and lasted until his departure in January of this year, Mawle worked on God of War’s weaponry, navigation, RPG systems, combat behaviors, and more. Sheth in particular calls out Mawle’s work on the Leviathan Axe, as well as the whirling chains of the Blades of Chaos.

Prior to joining Santa Monica Studio, George Mawle worked as a programmer on several noteworthy games. From 2003 to 2010 he worked as a technical director at Radical Entertainment, programming games like Scarface: The World is Yours and Prototype 2. His programming credits also include 2003’s Aquaman: Battle for Atlantis for the GameCube and Xbox, one of the worst-reviewed games of all time.

But what George Mawle will be remembered for is his contributions to 2018’s God of War, one of the best-reviewed action games of all time. Game director and studio head Cory Barlog took to Twitter yesterday to remember the man and the Leviathan Axe he helped forge, saying “Without (George Mawle’s) curiosity and intellect those moments of pure joy recalling the axe would never have existed.”

Rest in peace, George Mawle. I would suggest booting up God of War and giving the Leviathan Axe a throw or two in his honor this week, or just closing your eyes and remembering how damn good that weapon feels.



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