Change is an essential part of life. In creative development change is often the explosive spark that transforms good enough into truly memorable. Several years ago we at Santa Monica Studio began the journey of creating a new God of War. All of us recognized a special honor and responsibility to create a different and better and truly more memorable experience than before. I realized early on that we had to make changes in every aspect of the game.
I knew I didn’t want to simply reboot the franchise, starting over with a retelling of the origin story. I wanted to reimagine the gameplay, give players a fresh perspective and a new tactile experience while delving deeper into the emotional journey of Kratos to explore the compelling drama that unfolds when an immortal demigod makes a decision to change.
For Kratos, this change means breaking the cycle of violence, distrust and deception that his family, the Greek pantheon, perpetuated for so long. That cycle drove a whole host of bad decisions – the ill-fated deal with Ares, the murder of his family and a rage fueled descent into madness and vengeance that ultimately ended with the epic destruction of Olympus.
It also means learning how to control his rage, the intensely turbulent monster that lives within him, steering him down ever-darker paths. Kratos needed to figure out how to put the monster back in the box, how to control when he does and does not let that monster out.
Kratos’ rage has provoked a ton of bad decisions in his life, so I was fascinated to see what would happen if he actually made a good one. What would that look like? How would he struggle with this very difficult and unfamiliar road? And more importantly, why would he do this?
All of us recognized a special honor and responsibility to create a different and better and truly more memorable experience than before.”
The last question was answered in my own life with the birth of my son, a tremendously transformative event that had me thinking about all kinds of change in life. It is hard for human beings to truly change, but one thing that can really motivate us is the thought of being responsible for a life, and especially the life of our child. The weight of that responsibility drives the instinct to protect, to want to prevent the mistakes of our past being delivered upon them. There is no end to the lengths we will go, no adversity we will not overcome, to be better… for them.
Once the decision to change was made, things got really interesting for Kratos and for all of us here at SMS. The road to creating a new God of War is a seemingly endless climb up an impossibly enormous mountain, filled with countless gut-wrenching failures and joyfully sweet successes.
Change is hard, but through it all we persevere, getting back up each time we are knocked down and celebrating each breakthrough, knowing that this journey ends in the realization of a collective vision – a great change in something we all hold very dear – a chance for us all to be better.
This playable gameplay teaser from E3 2016 last year, and our new "Be A Warrior" trailer from E3 this year, is a first glimpse at the new beginning for God of War. We are so very eager to show you more as the game continues to take shape.
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.