God of War creator David Jaffe has cheerfully admitted that there’s not that much going on in God of War’s combat – but the roller coaster ride makes up for it.
Speaking to Edgein a making-of feature, Jaffe said he “wasn’t interested in doing a deep system” with the original God of War’s combat.
“To me, the combat, the spatial challenges, the exploration: they were all pieces of the adventure, and all of these came together to push the player along. The actual game loop in GOW is very simple,” he said.
“If this had been the kind of game that didn’t have much money, it would have been an absolute failure, because if it wasn’t for new things to do around every corner, you might feel the core mechanics are actually quite shallow. They’re intentionally shallow, because we didn’t want them to overpower the experience.
“If we’d been DMC, your headspace would have been filled with a lot of fighting mechanics that would have pulled you out of the journey. Our combat’s not deep, but thanks to great animators, it is fluid.”
Interestingly, Jaffe said his original goal was to make a game that “allowed players to feel they were watching a great action-adventure movie” and not “participating in an action movie” – like The Legend of Zelda does, for example. If he were to do it all again now, he would make a less “combat-centric” game.
“Today I would make it more like Zelda, ironically: I’d immerse you in being the hero rather than watching him. By making that game, I’ve realised there’s more to be mined from gameplay that way, rather than just taking people for a ride,” he said.
Nowadays, Jaffe is wondering about how to make games that have more going for them just being an excellent time.
“I’m fine with making diversions, but when I talk about games’ potential, I think God Of War was a stepping stone,” he said.
“I’m real proud of it, and I may never be involved again in a game as good, but there’s a lot more to do, both in terms of reaching a bigger audience and just affecting an audience more; affecting them so they carry it through their lives as a fond memory.”
God of War went on to become of of Sony’s key franchises. The latest entry, God of War: Ascension, released earlier this year. It’s a prequel to the core trilogy and the first to feature multiplayer.