One of the greatest success stories to come out of the latest God of War is the incredible turnaround of its main character. After spending several games as an unlikeable anti-hero with anger issues, the PlayStation 4 iteration transformed the protagonist into a far more relatable being. The miraculous recovery of Kratos by Cory Barlog and the team at Santa Monica Studio is pretty astounding, but the director has said that the decision to keep the character at all was not a straightforward one.
Speaking at Gamelab in Barcelona, Barlog reminisces that many members of the development team wanted Kratos out of the picture in favour of someone new -- a fresh start. "Early in discussion, people were saying we had to get rid of Kratos [...] It was like, 'he's annoying, he's done,'" he said during a post-mortem look at the game.
Apparently, it was argued early on that God of War is more about its setting than its lead character: "Kratos is not God of War - Greek mythology is God of War". Barlog argued the case for the demi-god, suggesting the character be humanised, but the idea was met with resistance: "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".
Atreus, too, was almost cut from the game "mostly due to the budget," but thankfully was left in as a means to aid the development of Kratos as a more relatable protagonist. We think that, in the end, the right decisions were made. God of War PS4 is all the more impactful for focusing on Kratos and his new life in a Nordic landscape. A new protagonist could've been refreshing, but it would have lacked emotional heft. Kratos is now a far better character than he's ever been -- to think he was nearly cut from the franchise now seems ridiculous.
Are you happy Kratos stuck around for God of War on PS4? Would you have preferred a brand new lead character? Mind where you're throwing that axe in the comments below.