Sony Santa Monica Studio’s new God of War game contains conceptual influences from the scripts for Lucasfilm’s canceled television show for Star Wars.
During an interview with the fine folks over at GamesBeat, God of War‘s director Cory Barlog discussed how and why the tone of the game is pulling back somewhat from the ravenously violent qualities found in the franchise’s previous entries and going with a quieter, more subdued approach. Interestingly enough, the God of War director revealed that the germ for the idea of a patient, sympathetic Kratos began with Barlog encountering scripts for the canceled Star Wars TV show.
As seen in God of War‘s E3 2016 gameplay footage, we were reintroduced to Kratos as he roamed the woods with his child, with the protagonist teaching survival skills to the young scion. According to Barlog, the familial dynamic between a father and his son was exactly the focus the development team wanted in order to explore the notion of Kratos getting a second chance to change his ways by being a dad again, and the idea came to fruition after looking at other storytelling mediums—specifically television.
When the God of War director was working at Lucasfilm, he was given access to Skywalker Ranch and got to read the scripts for the canceled Star Wars TV show. As Barlog put it, after reading the scripts, he learned that when people invest enough time and interest in a character, they can become surprisingly complex figures with their actions and traits containing multitudes throughout a long narrative arc, with them eventually being able to transform from someone that’s hated to a beloved individual.
“I cared about the Emperor. They made the Emperor a sympathetic figure who was wronged by this fucking heartless woman. She’s this hardcore gangster, and she just totally destroyed him as a person. I almost cried while reading this. This is the Emperor, the lightning out of the fingers Emperor.”
Of course, a more nuanced and compassionate Kratos isn’t the only departure from the original games that the new God of War will take. The developers at Santa Monica Studio have also decided to move the Ghost of Sparta from his roots in Greek lore and place him within the context of Norse mythology this time around. Not to mention, rather than being a brawling, platforming game with a fixed camera angle, the studio has shifted players’ views to be right behind Kratos’ shoulder so as to give fans a closer look at the action, making for one of the biggest E3 2016 surprises.
Whether or not these alterations to the franchise’s core elements will pay off in the long run remains to be seen, but if the reaction from God of War‘s debut at Sony’s E3 2016 press conference is any indication of fans’ opinions on the matter, then the game ought to fare perfectly well upon its launch. Plus, even if the risks Barlog and his team are taking don’t pan out, it wouldn’t mean the title will be the last entry in the series, as it’s already been confirmed that the new God of War won’t be Kratos’ last game.
At any rate, Barlog’s resolution to switch up the style of God of War is ultimately a smart move. Sure, Santa Monica Studio could have played it safe and put out a cookie cutter version of the first three games in the franchise, which probably would have resulted in fans enjoying the final product. However, it seems as if the sequel’s creators are grasping for something more substantial by attempting to breathe fresh life into Kratos’ story, and for that, God of War‘s developers should be applauded.
God of War is currently without an official release date, but it is expected to be a PlayStation 4 exclusive.