God of War launched to universal acclaim, earning dozens of industry awards including plenty of Game of the Year titles. But while the game looks like a slam dunk in hindsight, it was actually a huge risk for God of War studio Sony Santa Monica.
To showcase the trials and tribulations of reinventing Kratos, Sony has released "Raising Kratos," an extensive 2-hour behind-the-scenes look at the creation and development of God of War. This documentary was originally announced on April 20, 2019, which was the one year anniversary of God of War.
In the documentary, the development team touches on a little bit of everything, from the inception of the plot to the recreation of Kratos, which was described as a "herculean effort." An angry Kratos would no longer work for God of War, but that was only one of the ways that Sony Santa Monica sought to shake up the formula.
The documentary even touches on Sony Santa Monica's big changes, like when the studio underwent restructuring in 2014. This means that the God of War team inherited 110-120 people from a completely different team, who were working on a new IP that was eventually canceled. In these early development stages, God of War was also set in Egyptian mythology instead of Norse, and Atreus wasn't even Kratos's son.
An early build of the game was shown to President of SIE Worldwide Studios Shuhei Yoshida in 2015 that, according to Barlog, horrified him. At this point, there were still issues finding a new Kratos actor, but the studio persevered. All of these trials led to the God of War we know now, and Barlog himself even pressed the button when it came time to burn its gold master disc. With a God of War sequel reportedly in the works, it ultimately seems the risk of reinventing Kratos paid off.
God of War is out now, exclusively for the PlayStation 4.