Axes like the Leviathan Axe from 2018’s God of War are among the most memorable weapons in gaming history, thanks to their thick, meaty impact and the satisfying smack of the axe returning to the player after being thrown. Earlier this week, members of Sony’s Santa Monico Studio and gamers around the world were saddened by the death of George Mawle, a gameplay engineer who was hailed by game director Corlog as “one of the founding fathers of the Leviathan feel.”
The news of Mawle’s death was received with sadness. The news of the engineer’s death on September 2 came from God of War combat design lead Mihir Sheth, who wrote a lengthy Twitter thread over the weekend in which he praised the engineer. The God of War team worked on a variety of projects during Mawle’s three-year tenure at Santa Monica Studio, which began in 2013 and ended in January of this year. He was responsible for the game’s weaponry, navigation, RPG systems, combat behaviors, and more. Sheth singles out Mawle’s work on the Leviathan Axe, as well as the whirling chains of the Blades of Chaos, as examples of outstanding craftsmanship.
In the years before joining Santa Monica Studio, George Mawle worked as a programmer on a number of well-known video games. Over a period of seven years, from 2003 to 2010, he served as technical director at Radical Entertainment, where he worked on titles like Scarface: The World is Yours and Prototype 2. Among his other programming credits is the 2003 game Aquaman: Battle for Atlantis for the GameCube and Xbox, which received some of the worst reviews of any game ever made.
However, George Mawle will be remembered for his contributions to God of War, which was released in 2018 and has received overwhelmingly positive reviews, making it one of the best-reviewed action games of all time. “Without (George Mawle’s) curiosity and intellect, those moments of pure joy recalling the Leviathan Axe would never have existed,” game director and studio head Cory Barlog wrote on Twitter yesterday in tribute to the man and the Leviathan Axe that he helped forge.