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Article - We play God of War. Sony transforms Kratos

What is God of War? Santa Monica Studio has reflected on this issue to offer us a video game that is very different from its predecessors, but that maintains many ingredients of its essence. We tell you about our experience after having accompanied Kratos and Atreus in the first hours of adventure.

We have had a couple of hours of play on PS4 to understand why we should divest ourselves of any preconceptions about this God of War. It is not because he has renounced his iconic keys, but because the video game drastically changes his perspective. The action is closer, Kratos is humanized and the narrative becomes very important. Of course, it is still as visceral and shocking as ever, with a tremendous playable brutality.

The best conclusion is that it is still GoW, despite the fact that it means the video game that least resembles its predecessors. Maybe it was the necessary change, a kind of "reboot" at various levels, which has cost about five years of development. Surprise how Santa Monica Studio has risked to offer us a video game so different when perhaps the simplest thing would have been to maintain the scheme of yesteryear, which had worked, the more traditional "hack 'n slash".

The creators consider it their most personal work, and one in which they accumulate all the accumulated experience. What are our sensations? Undoubtedly, we are facing a much more cinematic video game, where history will maintain a central role. There is a tone of the struggle for survival, which is joined by the experience of Kratos and the greater fragility-but courage-of his son Atreus. It is the story of a father who must teach his son to survive in a hostile environment, dressed with a gameplay that continues to make combative brutality the main feature.

Action and adventure

I had wanted to tell a story in video games for quite some time. In God of War, we have a more intimate style, with a perspective that follows better what happens
Cory Barlog (Creative Director)

If we want to understand why this God of War is so different from its predecessors, it would probably be more accurate to look at the placement of the camera: on the shoulder, closer to Kratos. This transforms the idea we had about the saga. It separates us from the traditional "hack 'n slash" and takes us to a broader concept, with action and adventure strongly combined with a very present narrative. There are still many battles, some exploration, and puzzles, but now from a much more intimate profile, something that substantially benefits the cinematic tone of the release.

IN DETAIL: The tour is completely linear, except for the fact that some sites allow a certain deviation to collect collectibles, something that could favor replayability.


Many of the combat designers wanted to move the camera away, to make it similar to that of Assassin's Creed or Batman. However, I wanted him to be closer to Kratos
Cory Barlog (Creative Director)

In this God of War for PS4 we can fix objective and the combat system is based on crushing the button, without neglecting the use of the shield or the dodge technique at certain times. It is important. As a result, we have very powerful struggles, with the ax as the main weapon. We can even throw it as if it were a boomerang, ideal for attacking enemies from a distance. Once nailed, paralyzes the opponent to hit him at pleasure, becoming a very interesting playable technique. Of course, there is no lack of the option to execute dying rivals in brutal sequences. And if you want epic confrontations, just tell them that we have experienced one, with such an exaggerated scale that it looked like a Dragon Ball chapter.

IN DETAIL: The video game presents four difficulty modes. We can alternate between them in any part of the adventure, except the most challenging (I Want God of War), which incidentally was blocked in this demo ...

From father to son

Many moments excite me because there are reflected personal aspects of the relationship with my son. There were times when in the office they asked me why I cried. It was because of the story
Cory Barlog (Creative Director)

During these first hours of adventure, Kratos and Atreus do not separate, with which we must speak not of the adventure of a single character. It's the story of both, of a father-son relationship that can be memorable. Atreus, in fact, does not play an ornamental role, but on some occasion has given us indications, alerted about the danger of a rival about to attack us, or translated a writing located on the stage. But undoubtedly the most important thing is going to be that Kratos fight with the monster that lives inside him to try to be an example for his son.

IN DETAIL: During the combats, by pressing the square button we can request the help of Atreus from a distance (through his bow and arrows). A help that is very helpful in certain bosses.

The transformation of Kratos

Kratos is the example that every human being has a great capacity for change. Our big challenge was to take the antihero that was and transform it into a character with which you can empathize
Cory Barlog (Creative Director)

The developers talk about what this project is "the most personal of his life". It is about Kratos' transition, but to a certain extent it also means the transformation of Santa Monica Studio: "Our first games were like our university years". Now they are more veterans and enjoy more experience, like the protagonist himself. This is something that we will see reflected in the gameplay, but also in the behavior of Kratos, more humanized. It is considered as the great central theme of the work, a kind of inner struggle which will be very important to see how it is resolved.

IN DETAIL: The transformation of Kratos also happens while we play, from a skill tree that allows us to learn new attacks. There is also the option to manufacture and improve weapons.

Art and mythology

On the criticism of violent video games ... we continue to do the same. We are calm because violence has a purpose in God of War
Cory Barlog (Creative Director)

God of War is highly inspired by Nordic mythology, but even the developers themselves recognize that there are things that arise from their own imagination. This allows an artistically beautiful video game, with places that go from the most winter to the most autumnal, as if by magic. There is no shortage of gigantic creatures, or of course blood (in spurts). It is a title clearly oriented to the adult public, but only in this way could the story of a character as brutal as Kratos be told. In the video game, "art takes things to the limit," as the developers themselves claim.

IN DETAIL: When asked about the inspirations, the developers commented that they took into account the role of Clint Eastwood in the movie Unforgiven.


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