As an accomplished novelist, I am accustomed to crafting stories from beginning to end independent of outside influences. So when Cory asked me to write the God of War novelization, I enthusiastically agreed, while at the same time realizing I would need to alter the way I thought about the storytelling process. Having only ever created original fiction, taking on a novelization presented a whole new set of challenges. How should the novel deviate from the game versus how should they be the same? After all, Cory and his creative team had already crafted a masterful consummate story. In essence, the boundaries had been set for me, yet I still needed to dream up an angle to successfully novelize the game. My prime concern became: What remained after stripping away the controller, the video screen and the PS4 hardware. The answer: Pure story. Cory had delivered an adventurous, lightning-paced, complex tale with fascinating characters on which to build.
Consequently, I established two primary objectives: First, maintain the purity of the story while translating the chaos of the near non-stop combat onto the page; and second, satisfy the reader with a deep dive into the characters involved. I wanted a way to convey to even the non-gaming reader the frenetic, all-consuming energy and the thrill of defeating the vast menagerie of formidable adversaries encountered in the game. Living the God of War adventure vicariously through the main characters remained foremost in my strategy.
The God of War faithful already knew Kratos well, but they didn’t know this Kratos. If they were expecting the god from the past, Cory and his team would deliver them one hell-of-a surprise. In this reimagining, circumstance had forced Kratos to transform from a creature of self-survival to a man responsible for someone above and beyond himself—his son Atreus.
As I put the novel together, I quickly uncovered the very soul of this new God of War deep inside a young lad determined to prove his worth to an ambivalent father. For the page version, Atreus became the core around which all other characters orbited. Without the slightest forewarning, fate thrust Kratos into what he had sought to avoid since his son’s birth: being his father.
I established two primary objectives: First, maintain the purity of the story while translating the chaos of the near non-stop combat onto the page; and second, satisfy the reader with a deep dive into the characters involved.”
As a result, many opportunities emerged throughout the story landscape to inject parenting parcels from my own experiences as a devoted father raising a son. I forged to whisk the reader into the very fibers of the father/son connection. Readers get the opportunity to experience a turbulent journey of discovery through the eyes of both an inept father and a callow yet determined son. It is no small feat for any father to find the wherewithal to nurture a son to greatness. But to accomplish that, he must first understand himself then understand his son. Only after a common understanding emerges can a father become a mentor and spirit guide to enable the child to grow and achieve great things.
God of War is a video game; God of War is a novel; but just as importantly, God of War is a bold introspective look at how the father/son relationship can endure even the harshest tragedy.
A Prequel Story
When I was first approached about working on a new God of War comic, a prequel to the forthcoming PS4 game, I was both intrigued and intimidated.
What happens in Midgard, stays in Midgard. Making a video game is difficult. Making a stable game that both pushes the capabilities of the hardware and creates a super immersive, no-camera-cut, epically-sized AAA gaming experience like the one seen in the new God of War, is vastly more difficult.
The Art of the Scene
Our Director of Photography, Dori Arazi, breaks down three pivotal scenes that shaped our game's masterful cinematic style.
Sound of God of War
After adding all man-hours for music, dialog and sound effects, the number we came up to was 48,920 man-hours, which is 23.3 work years! Now hear this from Senior Sound Designer Daniel Birczynski about creating the sounds of God of War.