The Story of How Kratos’ Boat Came to God of War

August 23, 2018Written by Lucas White

god of war boat

The PlayStation Blog updated today with an enormous post from Santa Monica Studio’s Dean Rymer, Sr. Combat Designer for God of War. The post is all about the boat Kratos and Atreus use to get around Caldera Lake, the vehicle from one location to the other as well as the home of Mimir’s disembodied lore-vomiting. The post goes into the history of the boat, its design, and the technical details of its implementation into God of War.

According to Rymer, director Cory Barlog wanted a boat for Kratos ever since God of War II, but the team was never able to narratively justify the effort. But since exploration is a much bigger part of the latest entry, it was the perfect excuse to finally pull the trigger.

The early stages of the boat design include watching videos of people rowing in canoes, to figure out what the animations should look like. This process even extended to a giant, cardboard mockup in the middle of a mocap stage. After figuring out the animations, came the physics, and how to actually control the boat. Turning was the biggest challenge in this department, and part of what ultimately informed the choice to keep boat controls isolated to the left stick.

Rymer says that above all else, the biggest hurdle in this whole process was getting Kratos in and out of the boat. Because of the game’s level of detail and the close camera, taking shortcuts was not an option. The team had to develop a whole new system to govern how the player attached to various objects, which informed the entire rest of the game.

Finally, here’s a bulleted list of some Boat Facts you may or may not have noticed (and some you can’t notice) during your time with God of War:

  • There are over 600 unique animations for the boat
  • There are more than 750 lines of dialogue on the boat
  • Alfheim has a unique boat, oar and light
  • Every enter and exit animation is different when you acquire Mimir
  • On docks the boat knows if it’s on the left or right side and the enter/exit animations adjust accordingly
  • The DualShock 4 LED changes to an “aqua blue” while you are in the boat
  • Even though it stays in the boat, the oar is considered a weapon pickup in the game engine
  • At one point there was a bug where Kratos would be able to exit the boat holding the paddle

[Source: PlayStation Blog]