We don’t always get detailed, behind-the-scenes look at the best-selling games, but Sony has been letting us peek behind the curtain with God of War. In the final part of their God of War Director’s Commentary series, Director Cory Barlog talks at length about the most surprising scene of the game. If you’ve played the game, you’ll know which scene. If you haven’t, there are heavy spoilers ahead.
As was the case with the last video they did in the series, Barlog shows how things change drastically during development. For example, the scene where Atreus attempts to teach Kratos how to read Norse runes was not added late in the game after the team cut and changed a few sequences. This scene had to be added in place to presumably add some character lost in those axed levels. Barlog said he will always be open to these kinds of changes because this scene “created one of the most powerful moments in the whole game.”
Barlog also described how hard he had to fight to keep some of the slower paced scenes. Remember that long boat ride with Atreus’ body? What about the boat ride back to your house? Barlog explains how he had to convince the team of the importance of taking it slow as well as how crucial it was to invoke impatience in the player.
“I felt very strongly that we could carry to this to 15 or 20 minutes and really build it up to really appreciate the crescendo of that moment to actually get the blades,” said Barlog. “There’s potentially a tiny bit of agitation from the player and that agitation is desired.”
The game’s no-cut camera naturally makes travelling quite long. But rather than just masking the loading, Barlog explained how they used these moments to dwell on Kratos’ inner struggles. The boat ride from Freya’s house to Kratos’ cabin originally had monsters fighting in the background. It was cut for time but that, as Barlog explains, allowed players to absorb more and reflect on what they’ve done.
“It’s another one of those things where the limitations made it better.” admitted Barlog. “It wasn’t overwhelming. You’re taking all this in. It is the moments of quiet which is very rare for him that he’s doing nothing.”
This God of War Director‘s Commentary laid out the beat by beat story behind the tantalizing trip to get the Blades of Chaos. Videos like this showcase how many decisions go into every piece of most games as well as how hard it is to execute on that vision. Peeks like this make it easier to appreciate how hard game development is and how hard it is to get right.