Kratos might seem inextricable from God of War, but Sony Santa Monica considered dispensing with him early on in the PS4 reboot’s development, fearing that his anti-heroism had become a liability. During an on-stage stage interview at Gamelab in Barcelona today, game director Cory Barlog discussed the game’s change of direction and what almost got hacked out of the package along the way.
“Early in discussion, people were saying we had to get rid of Kratos,” Barlog told Stuart Whyte, director of VR Product Development at Sony London, in an hour-long post-mortem. “It was like, ‘he’s annoying, he’s done’.” Kratos began life as an anti-hero at a time when anti-heroes in games were scarce, Barlog went on. He was designed to be intensely unlikeable, which made sense back in 2005, but after three mainline games, some members of the God of War team felt the character had run his course.
They suggested a brand new protagonist, arguing that the game’s surrounding mythology was more important to the God of War brand than the character. “Kratos is not God of War – Greek mythology is God of War”. Barlog, however, argued that there was a great story to tell about rescuing such a man from his worst impulses. “They really did not like the character. They wanted a new character. It took a lot of convincing to make them think it was a good idea.”