Kratos, one of PlayStation's most iconic characters, almost didn't make it into Sony Santa Monica's God of War reboot.
According to game director Cory Barlog during an on-stage interview at Gamelab in Barcelona (via Eurogamer), nixing Kratos was an important part of the discussion early on in the design process, if you can believe that.
"Early in discussion, people were saying we had to get rid of Kratos," said Barlog, speaking to Stuart Whyte, director of VR Product Development at Sony London. "It was like, 'he's annoying, he's done'." It's easy to see why Kratos could annoy some players since he was created as an anti-hero character, but given his character arc throughout the game, he did end up changing bit by bit as the later entries progressed. Barlog stated that some members of the God of War team thought that the character should be retired.
Barlog, however, thought that there was an interesting story to tell beyond Kratos as he was in the previous iterations, and giving him a chance to change, as it were.
"They really did not like the character. They wanted a new character. It took a lot of convincing to make them think it was a good idea," said Barlog. Thus, Atreus was introduced, which gave Kratos plenty of reasons to change the way he thought, behaved, and felt about certain things.
Sony's "old guard," according to Barlog, were more concerned that including Kratos's son Atreus would make the game more of one big escort mission than add real value, but as we all know now, that couldn't be further from the truth. Even Atreus was pushed out of the game during development a few times, which is great that it didn't happen as well. Can you imagine how the game could have come out minus both its stars?
"There was a point where we were going to cut Atreus completely. It was mostly due to the budget," said Barlog, "just as a back-up."
These insights paint a totally different picture of the game that we got and loved, but wouldn't it have been bizarre to see it turn out differently? This particular author's glad it turned out the way it did.