God of War’s Kratos Evolved Due to His Son, Will Not Be an Annoyance

More and more details are being revealed for God of War as its release date inches closer. Santa Monica Studio’s upcoming game will focus on protagonist Kratos‘ relationship with his son, AtreusGod of War creative director Cory Barlog has worked on the franchise since its very beginning in 2005. He was the art director for the first game and creative director for the sequel, as well as the writer for spin-off Ghost of Sparta on the PSP. Basically, he knows what he’s talking about when discusses Kratos’ character development.

He said via PlayStation Blog that “Kratos needed to change. We intentionally made him loathed, an antihero. Now we’re trying to make him a character you care about.” Barlog knew that there would need to be a satisfying and logical reason for why Kratos would want to change into a better person. He found a solution, which was to give Kratos what he lost all those years ago; a family.

Giving Kratos a son and the responsibility that comes with it would certainly help in believably changing Kratos into a “more nuanced, sympathetic character.” Barlog described Kratos’ son as being “the mirror that shines on Kratos that makes him realize that he needs to change…. Atreus will pull the humanity out. Kratos will be shown his own humanity, and he’ll figure out how to embrace it.”

Players have been concerned ever since God of War was officially revealed at E3 2016, showing them the first glimpse of Kratos and his son. They were afraid that Atreus would be annoying, just like child companions in past games would usually be. They didn’t want to have to babysit a virtual screaming child while fighting hordes of monsters. However, they shouldn’t have to worry since Barlog is here to put all their fears to rest. He said: “It is not an escort mission. You never have to take care of him.

God of War Gameplay Engineering Lead Jeet Shroff further explained that: “For me personally, Elizabeth [Bioshock Infinite] and Ellie [The Last of Us] stood out as areas of inspiration. We were cautious about what it would mean to introduce a companion character to a game of this scale. Atreus will never steal a kill from you… he will always complement what you are doing.”

Additionally, Barlog tested the game with players who came in saying that they hate children and calling Atreus annoying. He added: “Halfway through, they say ‘he’s alright.’ All the way at the end, they say ‘I really wanted to hate this kid, but he’s my favorite character in the game.”

In other related news, Sony recently announced a God of War PS4 Pro Bundle containing a fully customized PS4 Pro console with a design inspired by Kratos’ Leviathan Axe and more. Santa Monica Studios has also revealed that the game will not feature loading screens or camera cuts, as well as aiming for a more mythical realism feel to the game.

God of War is developed by Santa Monica Studio and published by Sony Interactive Entertainment. It is slated to be released on April 20th, 2018 exclusively on the PS4.