PlayStation Boss Was "Horrified" After First God Of War Play Session

Cory Barlog chronicled the rockier points of the hit game's development at Devcom 2018.

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God of War is easily one of the most popular and critically-acclaimed games of the past year, and while it has hit huge success post-release, it was not always so certain that the PS4 game would do the franchise justice. Speaking at Devcom 2018, the developer-focused event at Gamescom, creative director Cory Barlog got candid with the audience and told them about some of the challenges he and his team faced during development, including the time Shuhei Yoshida, the head of SIE Worldwide Studios, came in to play the game. It didn't go well.

During playtesting of the game, much of God of War was still looking rough, reports Gameindustry.biz. "Part of it was that we were building the engine and tools, as we were building the mechanics, as we were designing the mechanics, as we were then designing the levels," Barlog said. "All of those groups had to build everything at the same time." He added that many playtesters had intense reactions to the game at this point, accusing his team of "ruining" Kratos after seeing certain cinematics and gameplay.

As the God of War team was about to put out a demo of the game, with only six months to go until full release, Shuhei Yoshida came to the studio for a playthrough. "I mean, the framerate was terrible, everything just felt bad. He's playing, he's got scrunched up shoulders, head shaking a little bit," said Barlog.

"He kinda just shook his head and walked out the door...He never told me how he felt. In fact, he only told one of my friends, who he saw at a party. [Yoshida] said, 'Oh, you're working on God of War? I just gotta say, I played the game the other day. I was horrified.'" He added that this was a turning point in rallying his team to get the frame rate back up and work out some of God of War's core issues.

In the end, Yoshida returned to play the game a second time. "He played it again, and you can see the two different poses of Shu. Horrified is much more rigid. The second time, he was not horrified. It was super good. Very exciting," said Barlog. God of War released in April and received rave reviews, including GameSpot's review, which gave the game a 9/10. Despite its rocky development, it turned into a "spectacular action game with epic set pieces, big-budget production values, and hard-hitting combat," according to reviewer Peter Brown.

"What may surprise you is how mature its storytelling has become. Like Kratos, God of War recalls the past while acknowledging the need to improve. Everything new it does is for the better, and everything it holds onto benefits as a result," he added. "Kratos is no longer a predictable brute. God of War is no longer an old-fashioned action series. With this reboot, it confidently walks a new path that will hopefully lead to more exciting adventures to come."

In other God of War news, the game has just released an update and introduced the New Game Plus mode. It allows you to play through the game again, but with access to your unlocks, abilities, and weapons, meaning you'll have them all right from the start.

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