'God of War' Director: We Could Never Compete With Other Developers’ Open Worlds

Last year’s God of War for PlayStation 4 turned out to be one of the most impressive games in some time, if only because it’s a lot of fun to play. However, the game’s director doesn’t feel that it can compete with more enriched open-world experiences.

God of War

In an interview with GamesBeat, game director Cory Barlog talked about working on God of War; and while he was highly impressed with what the team has done he doesn’t think it could compete against the likes of Assassin’s Creed Odyssey or Red Dead Redemption 2.

He said, “We kept describing it as ‘wide linear.’ I was adamant that we couldn’t make an open world game. The cost of entry and the expectation level is so high that we’d never compete. We just don’t have the infrastructure and the systems. I don’t want to do that.”

He then talked about where Rockstar and Ubisoft come in, particularly with the size of their teams. “Yeah, I think they [Rockstar] were closer to 4,000. We were 300, at peak. At the time I thought the 1,600 that Ubisoft had on Assassin’s Creed was a lot.

“To do these things, to do the complexity they have, you just need a lot of people. For us, not only do we not want to invest in that aspect of it, but to me the world needed to feel large, and not empty, but with surprising moments of discovery. It could feel like there were areas where there’s not a lot going on, and then all of a sudden an entirely new level opens up that you weren’t directed to, that you just discovered.”

But we’ve seen examples in which teams have produced open-world games in the past with a smaller team, while still having a fantastic effect. God of War definitely comes to mind, as does Guerrilla Games’ Horizon Zero Dawn, which continues to be one of the PlayStation 4’s most notable releases nearly two years after its release.

Barlog also discussed about how vital it was to make God of War feel like an open experience on its own level. “Once we started saying wide linear- I didn’t have a term for it. One of the level designers actually started saying that. That was a good way to describe it, because I kept saying, ‘not open world.’ That’s the worst way to describe something, to say what it’s not. It’s better to give a good picture. It was hard for people to understand that, one, I wanted them to do work that might not be seen, which is a really hard thing to convince people about. ‘You worked hard on this, and 50 percent of players might not see it.’ I think that’s okay, because that 50 percent might be told by their friend, ‘Did you find this?’ ‘No way, you have to go over here to see that?’” he said.

“That was my experience with Zelda. I talked to other kids at school, and all of a sudden I’d find out that if you put a bomb next to a wall over here you’d find a secret. Those kinds of shared experiences, the sense of feeling like you’re the one discovering these things in the world, that’s very important. But the cost of entry for open world, the gambling systems and territory control- it wasn’t in the cards.”
Regardless, we still think God of War is a monumental gaming experience that you should check out if you haven’t already. You can get it now on PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 4 Pro.


(Hat tip to GamesBeat for the scoop!)

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