“Why would you get rid of all that?”
The upcoming God of War represents a major and significant change over the previous games in the series, as well as a change in the setting, gameplay style structure, character temperament, and even genre—but in spite of all of this, the new game is not a reboot, as many originally assumed. Instead, it will be a Breath of the Wild style reinvention, providing a new gameplay style within the existing continuity.
Why did Cory Barlog and his team at Sony Santa Monica not take the chance to reboot the series, when they could have? Why stick to the existing continuity? That is because, according to them, what has come before is very important—and it makes no sense to throw it all away.
“It’s like the first games serve as the backstory, right? And it’s like people say, “Oh, why didn’t you start over and bring a new character?” And I was like, but it’s like a decade of character development. You can’t. Why would you ever throw that away?” Barlog said to PlayStation Lifestyle. “Like why wouldn’t you want to see what it’s like. We’re not the same people we were in our high school years, in our college years, right? And then in our middle age, like we change throughout life and I think Kratos is the same. That life in the first games is sort of like how my life and how the rest of the team’s life was. We were in our college years of development. We lived in the moment, we were thumbing our nose at the man, and trying to top everybody else.
”We were staying up late and we were making changes at the last second, and we were just not really measured in thinking about things. We were just going for it. It was pure, and I think that’s fine. That’s great because that’s who we were. Now, we come back to development, we just see everything with a different lens. We’re different people and then we have this energy of all these new people coming into development, so you mix that together and you have this whole new way of looking at making games. I was like, why would we not harness that and try something different? But still have that sense of familiarity. I mean, the hope, the phrase I used throughout the beginning of the development of this was this “familiarly different,” so when you play the game, it feels like God of War. Maybe not exactly one to one, but you feel the soul, the DNA of God of War, but it’s different. It’s that they’re so visually camera wise, different. The pace is a little bit slower, but still in the heat of the moment, God of War was felt in those combat experiences. I think that hard to do, but I hope we’ve achieved it.”
Everything we have seen of the game so far indicates that this is a balancing act that Cory Barlog and his team has managed to pull off remarkably well, which puts them in the illustrious company of they very few franchises that have been able to pull off successful reinventions. Here’s hoping that God of War lives up to expectations when it launches exclusively for the PlayStation 4 come April 20.