Since God of War’s 2018 launch, a slew of details have surfaced about what failed to make the cut. For example, Atreus’ emotional fits were once much more extensively explored, and he almost landed on the cutting room floor. Curiously, Kratos nearly had a dad bod. Creative Director Cory Barlog may have just revealed the most shocking news with regards to what could have been. Apparently, there was a time when even Kratos seemed as though he would get the boot.
During Gamelab Barcelona 2019, Barlog revealed this tidbit during an on-stage interview with Sony London’s Director of VR Product Development, Stuart Whyte. According to Barlog, the push to get Kratos out of the way occurred during the game’s earliest developmental stages. Some team members at Santa Monica Studio felt Kratos’ anti-heroic antics were the product of a bygone era. Barlog explained, “Early in discussion, people were saying we had to get rid of Kratos. It was like, ‘he’s annoying, he’s done.'”
Much of the argument centered on the meaning behind God of War in general. Is the long-running series emblematic of Kratos’ place in its world, or is the title representative of Greek mythology? Some developers argued in favor of the latter. “Kratos is not God of War–Greek mythology is God of War.” Barlog, on the other hand, offered an opposing view. Returning to Kratos meant exploring a redemption arc, telling a tale of growth. Given that much of the team seemed in favor of a new character, regardless, selling the studio on Barlog’s idea “took a lot of convincing.”
Atreus, Kratos’ son, is at the heart of Kratos’ tale of redemption. Barlog reiterated that this, too, was a tough sell. Senior members of the studio, he explained, were worried about God of War’s devolving into a glorified escort mission. Interestingly, referencing Naughty Dog’s acclaimed The Last of Us aided Barlog in allaying said concerns. The Creative Director noted that Santa Monica Studio managed to avoid escort mission comparisons by “boil[ing] down a few simple rules to prevent the player’s experience from sucking.”
Kratos God of War Return Was Almost Cast Aside for a New Character