While many God of War fans are understandably curious as to how the forthcoming title from Sony Interactive Entertainment's Santa Monica Studio will play considering its significant alterations to the core mechanics of the franchise, such as the sequel's shift from a fixed camera view to an over-the-shoulder perspective, for instance, it's worth noting that the series could have been altered in a much more drastic way. As it happens, the developer had at one point in time been creating a virtual reality demo of the game, which would have put players in a first-person view as the Ghost of Sparta himself, Kratos.
During an interview with Glixel, the Head of PlayStation’s Magic Lab, Richard Marks, went over the several years the company had been working exploratory hardware and software for virtual reality, which contributed to the existence of PlayStation VR, including a prototype demo for a God of War VR game on PS3. As seen in the video below, fans can get a glimpse of Santa Monica Studio's abandoned work on the virtual reality project during a GDC 2014 presentation, with the President of Sony's Worldwide Studios, Shuhei Yoshida, taking on the role of Kratos to perform a brutal fatality on an enemy.
As Marks puts it, the development of a God of War VR demo didn't seem to be a project borne out of necessity, but rather for the sake of experimentation, as the technology for an affordable commercial virtual reality headset was just underway at that point. According to the Head of PlayStation's Magic Lab, it was roughly seven to eight years ago that Santa Monica Studios decided to give Kratos the VR treatment.
"So this is 2009, 2010. We had the PlayStation Move controllers, and a lot of people were just doing different stuff with them. We put them on our head and did this with the TV. Another guy in R&D was putting it on his head and having a phone screen in front of his eyes, and that’s, you know, more like VR. And the same thing happened down in Santa Monica Studios. They made, like, a God of War VR demo."
Of course, taking into account fans' expectations for a recognizable, yet unique entry in the iconic God of War series, officially green-lighting a VR sequel to come out years down the line would have been an incredibly risky move on Sony's part, especially when one acknowledges the limitations of the technology at that time. However, should Santa Monica Studio have been given a lengthy enough window during which it could have worked out all the kinks, a God of War title in VR could have been just the kind of launch game needed to rouse the optimal levels of interest in PlayStation VR. Naturally, though, it's safe to say that plenty of fans still consider the action-adventure release in its current form to be more preferable, and one of the PS4's most anticipated exclusives.
God of War is currently in production for PlayStation 4.