Early versions of God of War didn’t feature Atreus, Kratos’ son and companion in the game director Corey Barlog has revealed.
Since the reveal of God of War, the involvement of Kratos’ son Atreus has been a big focus. In an attempt to reset the tone and stakes of the series, it seems like so much has hinged on the inclusion of a child who is seemingly trying to bring an emotional and grounded core to the character of Kratos. A lot of games have been centred around fatherhood recently, especially from the Sony side of things recently, but judging by the current reception to the title, it’s justified.
However, it seems that at some point in development, he wasn’t going to be in the game or at least have a much more diminished role. Speaking to Gamespot, creative director on the title Corey Barlog said that initially, Sony wasn’t so hot on the idea of the boy:
The early phase when they told me, “Man, this might be too hard, too expensive, we’re already looking at so many challenges, it’s maybe too much.” When I went back and said, “Alright, fine, if it was not with Atreus, what would it be.
To try and convince Sony the character was worth the trouble, he made the resulting game sound as abstract and bizarre as possible, citing Robert Redford‘s All is Lost. He said:
Alright, it’s gonna be All Is Lost with Robert Redford’; it’s gonna be one character who talks to himself occasionally, but generally, it will be very silent and everyone will talk in old Norse, so that you won’t understand anything anybody’s saying. I think that threat was enough for them to go, ‘Okay, we’ll take on Atreus.’ So, it was kind of the creative director, passive-aggressive, ‘Oh, yeah? Well, we’ll take all the toys away.’
It seems that this all worked out of the best in the end. The current word is that Atreus is a great addition to the series and you can’t ignore the Metacritic scores. God of War is out this Friday.