Sacrifice. It’s a theme that pervades 2018’s God of War and in the Raising Kratos documentary released at the weekend, where we see that sacrifice was part and parcel of the game’s development cycle.
God of War has been lauded as one of the greatest videogames to hit the PlayStation 4, nay, the world of gaming, in recent memory.
The team behind the game, Santa Monica Studio had a mammoth task ahead of them when production of God of War began.
While Kratos was much-loved in previous God of War titles, come God of War Ascension he had fallen out of favour with gamers and a change was desperately needed. The big question over the heads of the developers throughout the process was whether Kratos could grow from a machine of death into something else.
In the documentary Raising Kratos, we go behind the scenes during the development of God of War and sacrifice is front and centre as a theme of not only the game, but development as well.
The doccie follows a strict timeline from the initial concept, the selection of the development team, the debut of gameplay at E3 2017 and more leading up to the final release of the game.
While creative director Cory Barlog features heavily in Raising Kratos we also get some insight from the rest of the team about some of the more stressful events that occurred during development.
There is one particularly poignant moment where head of studio, Shannon Studstill is asked what sacrifices she had to make during development. The question has a visible effect on Studstill and it marks a rather dark side of God of War we hadn’t considered – the toll it took on the team.
In recent months publishers and developers alike have been rightly slammed for pushing teams to meet absurd deadlines. This in turn leads to some employees working for 100 hours a week for the greater good.
Raising Kratos showcases this to an extent but by the time the credits roll, the team is happy because the game was a success and their vision was allowed to flourish.
It begs the question – does crunch and the toll it takes become worth it when the project is a success? We’d argue no because it sets a precedent that can be hard to overcome when the next project rolls around.
Overall however Raising Kratos is a fantastic look into the development of one of the finest games we’ve had the pleasure of playing in recent memory.
The documentary is well worth a watch and the best part is that it’s available for free on YouTube.
At just under two hours in length we advise making sure you’re comfortable when you click play below.