And Kratos' new home has more in common with Disneyland than you may think.
Ahead of the launch of God of War, Stevivor spoke with Sony Santa Monica’s Rob Davis, a Sydneysider turned Calfornian who serves as Lead Level Designer on Kratos’ newest adventure.
Surprisingly, we learned that a quite a lot of God of War‘s level designers came from a background in childrens’ titles and that the new, Norse-themed world of God of War has more in common with Disneyland than you may think.
Steve Wright, Stevivor: I looked at your past work — the thought of the various tools at Kratos’ disposal reminded me a lot of the protagonist in Disneyland Adventures. Despite the two games being completely, totally different, I’m sure they share more in common than people would kind of believe.
Rob Davis, Lead Level Designer, Sony Santa Monica: If you look at the previous God of War games there’s always been quite a bit of returning to spaces through re-exploring, re-engaging, or whether using Icarus wings, or different things that Kratos has expanded his arsenal on as he becomes more and more apt in the world, right?
So, when you come back to Hades, or when you come back to the Phoenix in God of War II, it’s always really fun to re-explore and master those spaces. For this game, there was a really strong desire to take that philosophy all the way to 11.
What would be crazier than doing like a giant hub with reach reversal and re-exploration and all these different tools and toys and abilities. I think, in general, inside the team there’s a really strong desire to have that experience be taken all the way through. When you play the area leading up to Peak’s Pass, you go through that area a couple of times through the game and you’re always coming back with a new ability, right?
In general, yes, the reach reversal experience is fairly well planned-out and it is fairly well-tuned. As for the Disneyland Adventures, yes, I think that if a player is going back to a space multiple times, a space like Disneyland, or a space like the Lake of Nine, one of the ways that will be the most exciting for the player to push to the fringes of the map or re-explore places maybe they’ve even gone to already is through memory, solution, puzzles, and new abilities, right?
If you look at the Lake of Nine from top-down, it is actually quite a similar structure to Disneyland, and that was fairly deliberate from the level design team.
Stevivor: Nice — I’m very impressed.
Davis: A lot of people on God of War teams come from a kids’ game background. That’s the thing — [we’ve] a pretty skilled team. Kids’ games usually give you a lot of opportunity to try stuff out to succeed and fail.
We’re about 45 minutes away from Anaheim. Disneyland is a huge cultural influence on our team, especially since so many people in the studio now have kids, which obviously has been a big influence on the game as well. I think there’s a very strong love of Disneyland inside the on God of War team.