When game studios develop video games, they hold numerous brainstorming sessions before they ever nail a game’s themes and features. The original God of War game went through several iterations before Santa Monica Studio finalized the soundtrack, ancient Greek setting, and art style, and the same is true for the upcoming God of War game. It’s not every day we get to see what could have been.
Finder.com.au recently sat down with God of War director Cory Barlog and lead level designer Rob Davis and learned that Kratos nearly didn’t raise a son in a Scandinavian wilderness filled with creatures from Norse mythology. Had things gone differently, Kratos would have rubbed elbows with Egyptian pharaohs or explored Mayan jungles.
“I looked at everything,” explained Barlog. “For the first year, I was reading up on every mythology, trying to find the spark. There were a lot of great mythologies that would be fantastic, but I had to say ‘not yet’.”
While Aztec/Mayan mythology was a main contender, the team eventually narrowed their choices down to mythical Egyptian and Norse settings. It was a close call, but in the end, geography was the deciding factor. According to Barlog, “He [Kratos] has a pretty bad history in Greece, he’s going to want to put a lot of distance between himself and his past. Scandinavia allowed for that distance and really put him as a stranger in a strange land. That fish out of water idea.”
Barlog also explained the final decision was somewhat inspired by his trip to Scandinavia. He felt lost because he was “surrounded by people that spoke Swedish,” which ties into the fish out of water theme. Barlog wanted to “take this character that’s so well-known for being a power fantasy and [put] him in a situation where power can’t solve the problem but intellect can.”
We can only imagine the kinds of adventures gamers might have experienced had the latest God of War game taken place in Ancient Egypt or Mesoamerica. Maybe Santa Monica Studio might revisit these ideas in the future, but that’s a dream for another time.