Steve Caterson, senior producer at Sony Santa Monica, has told Gamasutra that the violence in God of War III was all part of Kratos'character and the storyline, and had nothing to do with being sensationalist or controversial just for the sake of it.
"The violence question is something we always take very seriously, and we recognize the controversy involved in those works and decisions," Caterson told the site.
"I think we tried very hard to follow one of our key guidelines that was set out when we were making God of War, and that was, 'Don't do anything that doesn't fit the character'. Anything that relates to the character, as the situation evolves the character and pushes the character forward -- those kinds of things you need to do and should not be shied away from.
"Don't do anything just to be sensationalist. Don't do anything just to be controversial. There should be a purpose and a reason for the actions and the depictions shown on-screen.
"That was the guideline that we set for ourselves and one that we tried very hard -- and I think successfully -- to follow in the first two products. The same thing applied for God of War III."
When comparing the developmental prowess of PS3 compared to PS2, which the last iteration in the series was launched on, the team found that the "graphical fidelity" it was able to accomplish not only impressed the team but make it worry a bit as well.
"[We were like] 'Hey, look! We can split a centaur from stem to stern and still have insides falling out!'", Caterson reminisced. "And it was like, 'Whoa, we can actually do that?' And then the question was, obviously, 'Should we do that?'
"It definitely heightens the level of brutality, but after careful consideration and viewing it and experiencing it, it became obvious that Kratos is a very brutal guy, and what he does is very brutal. We want that to be a part of the experience, and there are a few things we actually pulled back on.
"There were conversations held at a variety of levels, [E3] confirmed for us that we were on the right track and we were doing what was right for the franchise and was right for the character.
"It also confirmed for many of the doubters internally that, 'You know, they've got a handle on this. They're pushing the limit, and they are going to the edge, but the games have always done that.'
"We've always tried to take it as far to the edge as we could."
God of War III was released yesterday in North America, and lands in the UK this Friday.
Yesterday, it was reported by the LA Times that PS3 shortages could hinder sales of the game.