Sony Santa Monica revealed its next God of War game at Sony's E3 press conference, and it marked a stark shift in a lot of what the God of War series has become known for. Kratos showed a softer side of himself, and the game's camera has also changed to a third-person view.
Game director Cory Barlog joined GameSpot on its live E3 stage show and discussed why the team has decided to revisit Kratos and give him a second chance at being a human.
"The roots of it were the personal journey that I wanted to tell," he said. "I think coming back, I said, 'I have another God of War in me, I think, and I have a story for Kratos.' And it was born out of this change, this shift, this new lens I sort of see the world in. You have a kid and it kind of changes the way you see things and how I approached problems creatively. And I thought, 'There's some fascinating potential here for what Kratos would be like if given a second chance.'"
Kratos struggles with the concept of controlling his rage and is only starting to make different decisions than he would in previous games, Barlog said.
"To him, godhood is like a disease that was thrust upon him without any choice on his part, and the side-effect of that disease is rage," he added. "He has this god side and this human side, two things that were never meant to coexist together, creating this incredible rage.
"In that previous era of games, he was the Hulk all the time, 24/7, because he didn't know how to be Bruce Banner. And in this iteration, the son is teaching him how to be human, it's bringing out that closeted humanity that he stamped down for so long."
For Kratos, it's a struggle he fails constantly at. Barlog mentioned that it's not success you root for, it's the getting back up after each failure.
Barlog also discussed how the perspective change from a cinematic camera to a closer, behind-the-back one helps them reinvent God of War.
"We want to tell a much more intimate story. We want to really get in close," he explained. "And initially, we took every aspect of the game, broke it apart, and put it in pieces on the floor. And we're looking at each piece."
The studio looked at the camera's piece and was split in its opinion. Half liked the cinematic camera, while the other half felt it needed to do something different.
"Looking back at that shift from Resident Evil 3 to Resident Evil 4, even the director himself was like, 'You can't make a Resident Evil game with a controllable camera.' And lo and behold, he did. I think that's the same thing; a lot of people love the cinematic camera, but I think you can get just as much intensity with a closer camera."