When Sony Santa Monica first started working on the God of War reboot, members of the team suggested getting rid of series protagonist Kratos.
Kratos has been God of War’s only main hero at that point, but many at the studio didn’t think he should come back for the new game. Game director Cory Barlog revealed this tidbit at Gamelab Barcelona this week.
In an on-stage talk, Barlog recalled the process of going through every defining characteristic for God of War as a game, and as fiction. In that stage, nothing was off the table.
“We listed it out and we went through point by point and started talking about each one, trying to determine like, ‘If you remove this, does it make it not God of War?'” said Barlog.
A major point of contention, surprisingly, was Kratos himself. Some members of the team believed his angry, anti-hero persona just didn’t belong in today’s world. “And even early discussions, people were saying we had to get rid of Kratos,” he recalled.
“So there was a bunch of people who were in the camp of, ‘No more Kratos, he’s annoying, he’s done.’ And I already decided right from the beginning, ‘I was like, I want to use him,’ because I want to see if we can make a turnaround with the character, see if we can take somebody that people hate, you know, or they like to hate?”
Interestingly, throughout this process, Barlog discovered that God of War means different things to different people. For some, Greek mythology was integral to the games. This was particularly shocking for the director because he thought it would limit where the team can take the new game, as far setting and fiction.
Kratos was, in Barlog’s eyes, God of War’s defining characteristic. This conversation also extended to major gameplay/feel elements, such as the floating camera, jumping, platforming, and even the Blades of Chaos. Much of that has obviously been changed for the new game, but the journey to pick and choose what to fight for wasn’t easy.
“And I think it was just, they really did not like the character. They wanted to see a new character, and I think really was they wanted to see him change. And so that took a lot of convincing to say, ‘No no no, I really think this is a good idea, we need to stick with this.'”