Sony shocked the crowd at E3 2016 by not only revealing a new God of War title, but confirming how much different the experience looked from past games. A grizzled and bearded Kratos was now in Norse territory, using a new axe weapon and guiding a small child which turned out to be his son, Atreus. Through the campaign, players are able to shape the young Atreus through various choices which director Cory Barlog likens to being a parent.
During the course of the God of War campaign, players will be faced with various decisions which ultimately dictate the direction of both Atreus and Kratos. From a gameplay perspective, Barlog relates them to games that feature different loadouts or outfits for certain characters. On a deeper level however, these choices are intended to make the player feel like a parent. This intention was made clear towards the end of the initial E3 2016 demo, where Kratos teaches Atreus how to shoot and kill an animal, earning the duo an archery bonus.
Interestingly enough, Barlog also admitted that the changes to the series didn't sit well with longtime fans who took the opportunity to chastise and criticize the team after the initial reveal. Even with some big changes to core systems like the combat and camera, Barlog and his team fully believe in the project, and used the reveal as motivation to reignite the enthusiasm and passion for the game.
"Just a lot of people were very doubtful of what we were going to do. “This is not God of War, this is going to fall flat, this is really bad”. I said: “Look, I believe in this and if it falls flat, it falls flat, I’m just going to be fully leaping off the cliff”."
For those unsure about the new look and feel of Kratos' next adventure, it appears that the trademark violence the franchise is known for will still be there. According to Sony Interactive Entertainment’s Vice President of Marketing, Asad Qizilbash, the changes made to the combat system have ensure that this God of War is the most brutal one in the series. Instead of seeing Kratos go up against large groups of enemies, this upcoming game features more focused battles against 1 or two enemies, making combat more personal and visceral.
God of War is slated to release sometime in early 2018 for PlayStation 4.