God of War Director Says Kratos Was Almost Replaced With New Character

If you’re asking God of War fans, Kratos and the God of War series are synonymous with one another and are basically inseparable. Considering how he’s been the protagonist of every game in the series, it’s hard to imagine him being removed from the game, but that was a possibility at one point when developing the 2018 game God of War. Game director Cory Barlog spoke at the Gamelab event in Barcelona on Wednesday and discussed the idea of removing Kratos from the game, an idea that he said was talked about early on within the studio.

Barlog said during the event (via Eurogamer) that early discussions within Sony Santa Monica occasionally touched on whether Kratos needed to be in the game or not. The director said the word “annoying” was used to describe Kratos at times and that people said “he’s done.”

“Early in discussion, people were saying we had to get rid of Kratos," Barlog said. "It was like, 'he's annoying, he's done.’”

A new protagonist was suggested and those within the studio said that the mythology of the series was more important to what people recognize as God of War than Kratos, though that’s perhaps not something that everyone would agree with. Barlog said it “took a lot of convincing” to have Kratos stay in place as the main character.

The decision to add Atreus to the game was also one that required people to be convinced. Comments about this have been around since before the game released, but Barlog echoed those again during the talk to say that the middle of the game’s development was a time of peak frustration for those working on the game as they tried to figure out how Atreus would fit in. He revealed that he’d written a backup pitch for the game that didn’t have Atreus in case the first version didn’t end up working out.

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Sony Santa Monica’s God of War reboot was praised for being an excellent game on its own, though Kratos being in it was no doubt a huge contributing factor. The way the character was pivoted and how he grew throughout the game was integral to the story, so it’s difficult to imagine it doing as well as it did without Atreus to be that catalyst, let alone without Kratos. Perhaps Atreus will one day take up the mantle of the God of War if the series goes on long enough, though.

As for the next God of War game, nothing official has been announced, though we have been treated to some teasers.

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