One of the saddest truths in the world of game design is that no matter how much you care, not everything can be included in a single game. We've already told you about the revisions and trimmings that Sony Santa Monica had to make to their flagship property God of War III prior to its release. While the newest installment in the series, God of War: Ghost of Sparta on the PSP gives players the chance to travel to the mythical city of Atlantis, the Santa Monica studio has revealed that they'd been planning a trip undersea for quite some time.
As it turns out, an entire level of God of War II was set within the underwater city, complete with unique water-themed traversal and puzzle-solving. For a franchise that has reached such lofty heights among the world of gamers, it may seem cruel to look at what we missed out on after so much time has already passed. With so many loyal fans jumping at any chance to get their hands on any pieces of removed God of War content, it only seems fair to take a look.
Sony posted a video to their blog of God of War II's Senior Level Designer Jonathan Hawkins explaining his inspirations and time spent designing the level. Hawkins also gives some insight into how difficult it can be to have any project -- his first level designed in this case -- removed from a game due to constraints or changes to story. Have a look at what God of War II's Atlantis level almost was:
Everyone who watches the video will no doubt wish to be able to see what the levels actually looked like, but it seems that we never will. The truth is that for every level or story moment in a popular title, there were probably a handful more that the team had to decide against to move forward. There's no question that having to throw away something that you've spent hours working on, or months in Jonathan's case, is a tragedy in itself.
It also reminds us of the work and time that goes into creating the games that fill our shelves and hard drives. When a game or level isn't what was expected, it's easy to accuse the developer of rushing a product, or failing miserably. The fact is that someone or a team in some cases, has spent weeks or months trying to make that segment of gameplay work. Perhaps giving a studio a bit more time to perfect it wouldn't be such a bad thing after all.
Decisions aren't made on whims after all, and God of War II turned out to be a fantastic game. For those of you who are wondering what Atlantis would look like in the GoW universe and haven't already picked up Ready At Dawn Studio's Ghost of Sparta, we strongly recommend that you do. It seems that the PSP title will be the only journey Kratos will make to the lost city. At least, for now.