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God of War’s spectacle distracts from “shallow” mechanics, says Jaffe

Monday, 27th May 2013 00:18 GMT By Brenna Hillier

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.

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8 Comments

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  1. RoyBrown

    God of War II actually had fantastic combat if you ask me.

    God of War I had the best story.

    God of War III was good for about 2 hours, then became pretty shit.

    #1 1 year ago
  2. Clupula

    God of War II is still the best in the franchise.

    I actually think Ghost of Sparta is the second best, though.

    #2 1 year ago
  3. polygem

    the fact that every move can be pulled off so easily and that the whole game runs so smooth while insane stuff is happenning makes it so great. it is an awesome franchise and a great videogame BECAUSE it is instantly accessible and fun right from the moment you have picked up the controller. i do not see that as a flaw in any way. funny that he dropped a nintendo title here because despite it’s violence this games playability, replay value and fun mechanics remind me a lot of nintendo games….like kirby.

    #3 1 year ago
  4. YoungZer0

    @2: I love the Combat and Exploration of GoW2. But this is the game where Kratos stopped being even a little bit relatable and just became this spoiled brat that doesn’t understand that killing millions of people is bad.

    Is Ghost of Sparta the one with Kratos brother?

    I still hope they try to make it more like Legend of Zelda/Darksiders, because that’s what is needed for the franchise to become at least a little bit fresh. I was barely able to finish the demo of the last game.

    #4 1 year ago
  5. Clupula

    @4 – Personally, Kratos’ attitude is part of why I like the God of War games, and part of why I still haven’t picked up Ascension, after its promise of a kinder, gentler Kratos. I want him to be a rampaging sociopath. That’s what makes him fun to play as.

    #5 1 year ago
  6. YoungZer0

    @5: I have no problem with playing a sociopath, but Kratos is just childish in his behaviour. From what I’ve seen Kratos in Ascension really is kinder, but not to his enemies. I’m fine with that.

    #6 1 year ago
  7. Clupula

    @6 – I like Kratos when he’s more of a force of nature and just destroys anything unfortunate enough to cross his path, friend, enemy, innocent bystander. It doesn’t matter. You meet Kratos and you die. It’s part of the charm of the character.

    There’s plenty of other games where I can be heroic.

    #7 1 year ago
  8. The_Red

    @1
    Ah GOW3. What happened? It had such a fantastic start and then poof.

    To be fair though, GOW1 is still my fave GOW and I don’t think any future one can change that without major changes / improvements.

    #8 1 year ago