Kratos' Son Could've Been Axed from New 'God of War'

Creative director Cory Barlog describes how it would have been "the most expensive art house game of all time" without Atreus

Kratos with his son Atreus in the latest 'God of War' trailer Credit: PlayStation

The new God of War for PlayStation 4 is a huge undertaking for creative director Cory Barlog and his team at Sony Santa Monica. The project began back in 2013 when Barlog returned to the studio after several years away, and the scope for the title has always been both ambitious, and because of its five year development cycle, very expensive. "As a creative person who's dedicating five years to something – I don't want to do just the same thing," Barlog told us during E3 in Los Angeles. "You have to give a lot of yourself to this. One of the things I talked to Sony about when I came back was that I don't just want to make another game. It's not about just shipping something. I want to make a game that really means something."

There was a point where Sony questioned the scope of Barlog's vision, and asked him to entertain the idea of something less ambitious. "There was a time at the beginning of this project where it looked like it was going to be so big and so difficult that we were encouraged to really consider scoping this thing down," he explained. "It was suggested that maybe the son was something that we shouldn't do – and to me he's really the core of the game. But I did the due diligence and looked at what I would do if I didn't have the son in there."

The concept Barlog came up with certainly would have been epic. "Literally the only thing I could think of was the most expensive art house game of all time. Y'know, All is Lost. It would be just Kratos, he never says anything, all the other characters speak in a different language and they very rarely speak. It would be 20 hours where nobody talks. It would have either sucked or have been really amazing. At no point did Sony ever say I had to do that, though. There's the creative reality, the financial reality, and then, of course, the human reality. If you have this many people and this much time – what are you going to do?"

God of War – with Kratos' son featured throughout – is currently expected to be released for PlayStation 4 in early 2018.