God of War is going to be a much more intimate experience than past games in the series. It will be a true reboot. It's been revealed that the team at Santa Monica Studio will be deviating focus from the pure hack and slash gameplay, which doesn't go over so well in Europe, to a more intimate and narrative driven experience. To achieve this sense of intimacy, director Corey Barlog is employing a highly unorthodox strategy that resulted in some major pushback from his team: no camera cuts.
No cuts at all. It sounds kind of crazy when you think about it, especially when you think back to the last few games you played or movies you watched. Think about how many camera cuts are used to effectively communicate what's happening. Barlog explains his reasoning for this experiment in a recent interview with Eurogamer:
"The aspiration when I got back was to tell a much more personal story. God of War is traditionally known for these cinematic, pull back cameras, which I think are fantastic. But trying to get in there and really get to know the character a little more, I realised it'd be interesting if we got closer.
"The vocabulary of film is camera cuts, it's how they communicate. But games are different. We don't really need to do that. We do it because it's a language that we're familiar with. It's hard to not do it, I'm realising that now, but it's a challenge that I really wanted to take on. I'd been looking for a project that I could do this on and I felt like this was the one. There was big resistance, but I have probably one of the best teams in the business, so as much as they were pushing back, I think they all kind of wanted this crazy challenge.
"For me it really comes down to when you experience something amazing, you go see the Grand Canyon or something like that, you don't have a crane camera behind you giving you a vista shot to make it look amazing. That's a postcard. What you have is you, standing on the edge, looking around and just being in awe of what you're seeing. In games, I think we can do that. We can experience it from that perspective and I think that's amazing. It's not limiting. We're finding so many amazing things we can do with this: the sense of scale, even when you go against something that would be considered medium-size in previous games, it feels fantastic. "
It sounds pretty ambitious. In fact, it just might be crazy enough to work. As long as you have the creative vision to spur on your developers and designers, this is something that could set a really interesting standard of camera work an "cinematography" in gaming. We're eager to see more gameplay and cut-free cutscene footage to see how Barlog and his team pull this off.