During a preview session at E3, I sat with Aaron Kaufman, Senior Community Strategist and Marketing Producer at Sony Santa Monica Studio. Kaufman was able to offer up some insight into what the team was thinking going into a whole new God of War.
“With this new game we are really trying to appeal to core fans, to lapsed fans, and new fans,” Kaufman began. “For lapsed fans its about reminding you what is truly great about God of War; why you picked up that controller the first time.
“You loved Kratos. You loved the big moments. You loved the combat but you also probably want to feel how has the game evolved and become more current and modern with the Assassins Creeds, the Batmans and the Tomb Raiders. We don’t want to be in the same sentence of comparison as much as we want to just be back on our own.”
Those are some of the biggest games in recent years — if Santa Monica Studio can meet its goal, they’ll be among good company. But what exactly is it that will set God of War apart from these other games?
“What’s really interesting about the game is it’s one camera shot the whole way through,” Kaufman revealed with a huge smile on his face. “When you start the game, from the very first frame to the very last frame of the game the camera never moves away from you. It follows you like a roller coaster.
“The magic in movies is that they can cut away and create the story that they want to create for you. For us, we want you to live through the eyes of Kratos. We want you to feel like you’re the father to his son — [that] you are taking him on this incredible journey, seeing him fail and succeed, telling him what to do.”
This will all be accomplished in a tale considered equal to other iterations of the franchise.
“It will at least be equivalent to past God of War games,” Kaufman confirmed. “Our game is not true open world but we will give you the sense of open world. The sense of exploration. There will be tonnes of areas to explore and discover that take you along the main path and side quests. It’s quite easily the largest world that we’ve ever created.”
Helping to create the world is Cory Barlog, the Creative Director on God of War 2 and an employee who returned back to Sony Santa Monica a little over three years ago.
“We brought [Barlog] back because we knew we wanted to go back to God of War and give it some breath and re-imagine it, bring it to an new universe and let it settle. Cory really came back with a very specific vision that kind of related becoming a father — he was starting to raise his new son who is now 3 or 4 years old.
“When Cory came back he had this idea that all the mythologies in the world exist at the same time. There was a lot of debate on the team as to which mythology to dive into. Ultimately we felt and Cory really felt that Norse mythology has the richest environment, the richest characters that this is were the real gods and monsters that people want to learn more about are.”
During the hands-off presentation we saw at E3, it’s clear that the bond between Kratos and his son is an integral part of the game.
“Kratos really fears that the worst of him, that the god-like nature of him is inside his son. His son doesn’t know it, but we know that his son is potentially a powerful god and Kratos is scared as hell of him becoming that,” Kaufman said. “At the same time his son is teaching Kratos how to be human again. They have a very unique father-son relationship. It’s unfamiliar territory for Kratos and as you play the game you’ll see that bond grow significantly tighter.”
God of War will be released in early 2018, exclusive to PS4.