This year’s God of War is changing the series in some big ways, but it’s in good hands. As part of their month long coverage Game Informer sat down with Creative Director Cory Barlog and Sony Santa Monica Studio Head Shannon Studstill to talk about the evolution of the hack-and-slash game that came out back in 2005 to this one today. When asked about bringing a series veteran on to fundamentally shake up and change the game, Studstill suggested that you have to have someone with passion.
“I think you need to know the lineage. It’s a very deep storyline, and bringing in someone that understands that history is the respect the franchise deserves. We don’t want somebody that thinks they know the best next step, but [someone who] really truly embodies it,” Studstill said. “Cory, of course, with God of War 2, had that passion.”
“Gotta know the rules to break the rules,” Barlog interjected. Studstill goes on to talk about Barlog’s interest in scripts and narrative, and surmises that that’s the direction fans wanted to see the franchise go. “We have to rip literally all of the walls down,” Barlog said of being initially afraid to make some of those big changes that might concern fans, such as the removal of the jump button.
The team had to take a long look to figure out what the key, load bearing pillars of God of War were that definitely couldn’t be removed without taking away the game’s identity. The settled upon narrative, exploration, and combat as the three cornerstones that they wanted to focus on, not only maintaining their integrity, but also significantly expanding and evolving them past the scope of the previous games.
“People care about the why,” Barlog said of the evolution and maturity of game development, seeing games slow down a little bit and begin to present a more emotional challenge. “It’s not just ‘give me a spectacle’ all the time.”
Studstill agrees with Barlog and says that the fans are growing with the game. “Cory has a son now,” Studstill motions to Barlog. “That’s been a big influence for where we are with Kratos and Atreus.” She talked about how the parents on the team can really identify with the story that Barlog has brought in.
“We have a diversity of memorable moments that is far greater than we’ve had in previous games,” Barlog finishes, talking about the playtesters who have been running through this newest God of War. When looking at the previous games, he says that most people all kind of nail down the same few moments, whereas this God of War is speaking to different people at different times. “The memorable moments range from a single line spoken by one character who spoke strongly to them, to an epic moment that is sort of bombastic, to a moment that we didn’t even think was that epic, but they perceived it as being this most amazing epic thing.”
Having grown with the series myself, from a young adult in 2005, to being in a significantly different and more mature place with my life in 2018, I’m really excited to see what they are doing with the series, and how Barlog and the team at Sony Santa Monica are breaking the rules in order to create the next evolution of Kratos and God of War.
It was also recently revealed that the studio considered a lot of mythological eras for this game, and that Egyptian or Mayan mythology could potentially be where Kratos heads in the future. Some new God of War gameplay details have been revealed, along with story hints and confirmation of unlockable costumes.
[Source: Game Informer]