It’s fair to state that last year’s revisit to the God of War series was an all-out success. With its vision of a matured, tired Kratos, and the incredible quest he undertakes with his son Atreus, Sony Santa Monica not only reinvented the franchise but in many ways the third-person adventure genre itself.
Surprisingly, however, it seems that this wasn’t a sure thing. In fact, when Cory Barlog and crew first took on the project, some of the team gave strong consideration to removing Kratos from the equation entirely. Speaking on stage at Gamelab in Barcelona, Barlog noted how many basically thought Kratos had become an “annoying” character, and how his violent, anti-hero antagonism wasn’t befitting of a new era of video games.
This helped Barlog envision the idea of a “redeemed” Kratos. Older, wiser and alongside his talented but estranged young son, Barlog convinced the team that an amazing story could be told of Kratos’ attempt at redemption from some of his past atrocities. Ironically, even Atreus nearly hit the cutting room floor himself, under concerns he turned the entire game into one long escort mission. All in, it seems that opinions on the father and son duo were divisive at best.
Still, we know how it works out. Kratos and Atreus both make it into the game, and God of War becomes an incredible bestseller, swamped in positive praise from critics and fans. Whether in literature, film, music or video games, it’s amazing how much can be won and lost on the turn of a dime, and whilst we’ve no doubt lost many potentially brilliant projects in the past due to the wrong decisions, we can always be grateful for the right ones.
God of War is available now on PS4.