God of War Director Cory Barlog Talks Norse Mythology’s Dark Sense of Humor

I recently got the chance to talk to God of War director Cory Barlog, and got his thoughts on a number of topics. One of the interesting tidbits Barlog shared with me was that he found the humor in Norse mythology to be “amazing,” and “weird.” He says that he’s incorporated it into the game since it “has to have that if we’re going to have an extended engagement. You can’t just be serious all the time.”

Here’s the full quote from Barlog (read more of his thoughts on Norse mythology in my interview) concerning the God of War story and its sense of humor:

Wow. Norse myth. Right from the first time I started reading about it, I saw this amazing, weird sense of humor. My wife is Swedish, so I’m familiar with the Scandinavian kind of odd humor. It’s very dark and very deadpan. When I saw that, I realized we need that sense of humor. God of War has to have that if we’re going to have an extended engagement. You can’t just be serious all the time.

Judging by the opening hours, God of War appears to strike that balance quite well. Read more about the upcoming PS4 exclusive by reading my God of War preview of the action game’s first two hours. Here’s a snippet:

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.