God of War Director on Kratos: ‘He is Part Villain, Part Good Guy’

March 25, 2018Written by Tyler Treese

god of war kratos

Kratos has never been a typical hero (and this is a subject I’ve written about before), and now we’re learning how one of the character’s most influential developers thinks of him. Director Cory Barlog, who has worked on most of the character’s console outings, recently talked about his unique place in gaming, and the changes we see in the new PS4 game.

“As hard as it is to create a brand-new character…it’s harder to take a character everyone thinks they know and show a side of him that they don’t know,” revealed Barlog to the PlayStation Blog. “To show a sense of growth, and change. I think that’s very difficult. From a dramatic standpoint, that is an excellent challenge. He is part villain, part good guy.”

Barlog says that the team realize too late in development that Kratos hadn’t seen much character growth. “Going into this game, it was very deliberate. I said, ‘I really want to see what it would look like for a character like this to change.’ It didn’t necessarily need to be a tectonic shift that suddenly rotates the poles of the Earth. It is more about small moves that show this kind of dimensionality, these sort of smaller, subtler moments.”

The director is aware that a segment of fans have been put off by this change. “[This change] makes people scared too. ‘Kratos? Subtler moments? That sounds insane!’ But it is possible. It’s just hard to explain to people, but then when you show them, [they say] ‘Oh, I totally get this.’

If you haven’t yet, make sure to check out our God of War preview of the opening hours:

The other big change is that Kratos has a son named Atreus who is central to both gameplay and the story. I didn’t realize it early on, but Atreus is actually the most interesting part of combat encounters. Not only could I command him to shoot arrows at enemies (causing a stun) by pressing the square button, but with careful positioning he could be used to draw the attention of dangerous foes. Since he doesn’t have a life bar to worry about, using your son as a diversion is a hugely beneficial tactic (especially in boss fights).

God of War isn’t just Santa Monica Studio doing something different for the sake of variety (although the series did clearly need a shake up after how dull Ascension seemed). Everything from its gameplay to storytelling has been changed for the better. By doing so, Sony has given one of its biggest franchises new life.

God of War is slated to release on April 20, 2018 exclusively for PlayStation 4.

[Source: PlayStation Blog]