The idea of presenting numerous scenes as “one shot” was rejected by Crystal Dynamics.
SIE Santa Monica is doing a lot of new things with God of War on PS4, the first real follow-up to the franchise since God of War 3 launched in 2010 for PS3. Among those is a new “one-shot” technique where one long take of the action is captured by the in-game camera. The story thus comes across without any cuts or transitions – and that’s in video game form.
Obviously composing something like this was difficult but as director Cory Barlog reveals to The Daily Star, he originally pitched this idea to Crystal Dynamics for Tomb Raider (2013) during his time there. “I wanted to do [the one-shot camera technique] and I had pitched it to Crystal Dynamics when I was there working on Tomb Raider and everyone was like, ‘That’s crazy, we don’t want to do that’.”
The rejection of the idea is one reason why Barlog ultimately returned to SIE Santa Monica where he wrote other God of War games before eventually directing the latest one.
“My reaction was like, ‘Yeah, you know, I don’t know if this is the best place for me anyway.’ I was already starting to talk to people about new roles at Sony and then I think I realized [the new God of War] is the one I can do it on.”
As for the technique’s inclusion in God of War on PS4, Barlog notes that he has “a lot more creative support and faith with Sony” as the company is willing to support him “regardless of how much of a leap off of a cliff” some of his ideas turned out to be. Presenting the story in God of War as a series of long takes wasn’t easy, as you’d expect.
“I’ve had a bee in my bonnet about the one-shot camera for quite a long time and you know, I got a lot of resistance. In the beginning, I had to fight the fight with everybody on the development team. And eventually, one by one, you win them over, you show them something, you explain how it’s going to be. But, honestly, I think even then, they weren’t convinced.
“In this last month, everybody’s had a lot of free time. Bugs have to be reproduced and as most people are creating content, they are playing the game more. And I’m getting leads from various departments and animators and artists from the studio coming into my office and saying, ‘Okay, I get it. Seeing the game as a whole makes sense, I see why you wanted this thing.'”
For the actual process of God of War’s one-shot long takes, check out the video below. God of War has recently gone gold and will be releasing on April 20th for PS4.