God of War looks to be one of the most dramatic reinventions a series has ever had yet- and one of the main reasons for that is that the camera, which was always fixed in the previous games, has been freed in the new title, which changes just about everything as far as gameplay is concerned.
The previous games in the series were designed around the fixed camera, which let Sony Santa Monica craft some very tight encounters, and also let them create the kind of spectacle that no other game or series has managed to replicate. So how does the studio plan on replicating something like that with this new game? And why even bother changing the camera angle at all? In an interview with GameReactor, Sony Santa Monica’s Technical Designer Mihir Sheth and Gameplay Engineering Lead Jeet Shroff explain their decisions to make this dramatic change.
“So one of the things we’re really striving for is to create a very immersive player experience, which is seamless,” they explained. “So we’re going to be exploring may ways we can maintain that very close, but intimate experience for the player, but also very seamless as we transition from cinematics to the gameplay.”
Speaking specifically about how the camera changes gameplay, they explained that having a closer camera angle will change combat by making each encounter seem more personal, and therefore more threatening.
“The close camera gives us opportunities for not only intimate and personal storytelling, but it influences combat in a different way, we’re looking at different avenues of how we can use both the camera, but also the combat experience molded around it.”
The close up camera angle also changes how the game approaches spectacle- after all, the old approach of having a fixed camera and giant setpieces will no longer work in this new game.
“I think with the new perspective that we have, we get a lot of opportunity, and that’s a fun challenge for us as a studio. And one of the challenges for us as a studio is, how can we make even one enemy seem threatening and bigger than ever before? And that’s the way we approached the troll. And I think when we do that, we find new things, we find that having it close, you really feel as though Kratos is in danger. And so, when we approach spectacle and approach cinematics, we’re going to be seeing them in a moment we haven’t seen them before.”
As for me, I am sold. I want this new God of War game to be different than any previous game in the series, because I think that the old formula was worn out and tired at this point, with no substance or ability to surprise. The new game looks like a breath of fresh air- which is, in the end, just what the doctor ordered for God of War.