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'God of War' Hinges on the Bond of Its 2 New Actors

LordOfLore

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Link.

Nearly a decade has passed since gamers concluded the tale of the rage-filled Spartan warrior Kratos in 2010's God of War 3, in which the son of Zeus finally exacted his vengeance against the spiteful gods of Olympus.

Now, Santa Monica Studio and Sony are bringing the action gaming icon back to consoles with God of War, set for release in spring 2018.

A lot has changed for Kratos since he was last seen hacking and slashing his way through the roster of Greek deities. The new game sees the familiar anithero sporting a bushy new beard, an apt look for the series' new locale in the frigid wilderness of Norseland; new weapons now that he's lost his trademark, chained Blades of Chaos; and, most importantly, he has an adolescent son.

The change of tableau is not simply cosmetic, as the franchise's Grecian setting was integral to Kratos' story and was a fundamental aspect of the plot, characterization and even gameplay of the previous titles. The new location opens up the narrative to the wide breadth of Norse mythology, something of great interest to game director Cory Barlog.

"When I came back to the studio I knew I needed to make a big change to the game," Barlog explained to Heat Vision during a recent visit to the studio. "We had exhausted Greek mythology and kind of started to set up Kratos to be able to connect to more myths. We didn’t know exactly where we were going to go at the time, but we knew we were going to expand it out."

Barlog has been working on God of War since the first game in 2005, on which he was the lead animator. He moved up to game director for 2007's sequel, earning a BAFTA for his writing on the project, then served as game director for eight months on the third game before leaving the company. His return to the franchise (and developers Santa Monica Studio) came in 2013 where he put together a team to work on the next leg in Kratos' blood-soaked journey.

"When I really started forming the seed of this idea I knew it was going to be a massive polar shift for the whole franchise to really reimagine everything we can about it while still keeping the guts of God of War," Barlog said.

Changing up the setting was not the only shake-up Barlog had planned for the fourth installment, however. To match Kratos' new look, Barlog needed a new actor. Christopher Judge, perhaps best known for his role as alien military commander Teal'c on the hit sci-fi television series Stargate SG-1, won the role, replacing longtime Kratos voice actor Terrence C. Carson.

"The way we shot all the previous games, we were able to have a different body actor than the voice actor, so the voice actor could do most of their work similar to an animated film where they just did all V.O. work in the studio," Barlog explained. "Doing what we wanted to do with a camera that was never going to cut away, we had a lot of scenes that required two characters to interact physically on the stage. The size difference between Kratos and Terrence is very great. Offsetting that for the size of a child, it turned out it was going to be almost impossible to try and actually shoot them and go in and redo the animations."

Luckily, Judge had no such problem. Standing 6-foot-3 with the build of an NFL linebacker (Judge attended the University of Oregon on a football scholarship), he had the look of the character down. However, unbeknownst to the veteran actor, his fate ultimately lay in the hands of a 10-year-old: Sunny Suljic.

Suljic was cast as Kratos' son Atreus very early on in the game's development, when the actor was only 9 years old. The Atreus character was modeled after the young actor's stature and appearance, and when it came to finding his co-star, the team weighed Sunny's opinions about the casting of Kratos heavily.

"There was an audition and they asked me who I liked the most," Sunny, now 12, recalled as he took a break between recording sessions at Santa Monica Studio.

He was doing the one-on-one interview with Heat Vision as his mother waited around the corner ("She makes me nervous sometimes during these," he explained) when Judge showed up. A towering presence even to other grown adults, seeing Judge beside Suljic is an exhibition of true contrast. The massive actor immediately began rough-housing with his co-star, lifting him over his shoulders handily with one arm as Sunny giggled. The familial bond between them is evident instantaneously, a promising preview of the bond their roles require.

The laughter between the two was quick and genuine as they recalled the casting process. "We did a chemistry test, and I didn’t find out until later that they really did ask Sunny for approval," Judge said with a laugh. "If I had known then that my fate was in the hands of a 10-year-old," he turns to Sunny. "I owe you a pair of Nikes."

More at the link including a BTS video.
 

psychotron

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The series needed a shakeup, and I trust Corey. I think many people are writing this off too early and it may end up being absolutely incredible.
 

Azoor

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Sorry Santa Monica, but nothing you could do would erase what Kratos had done in the previous games, I could never see myself liking him.
 

LightningXCE

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I absolutely love Judge as an actor, and I have full confidence in him.

I mean Teal'c is so similar in style.
 

DC1

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Now that was a good read. Very reasonable explanation on why the team decided to move away from Terence.
 

sephiroth7x

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Will see where it goes...

Greek myth was hardly 'exhausted' but I do really like the Norse setting and understand the need for a change.

For me though, I don't understand why it needed to be made... this could have been a new IP completely with a character that people wont have an instant dislike of due to actions in previous games...
 

Philippo

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This father-son relationship is going to crush me when it'll inevitably turn for worse...

Still, i love when devs take inspiration from their lives.
 

Kenzodielocke

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Will see where it goes...

Greek myth was hardly 'exhausted' but I do really like the Norse setting and understand the need for a change.

For me though, I don't understand why it needed to be made... this could have been a new IP completely with a character that people wont have an instant dislike of due to actions in previous games...

People wanted God of War and the studio seem to have wanted it, too.
 

DC1

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Sorry Santa Monica, but nothing you could do would erase what Kratos had done in the previous games, I could never see myself liking him.
Not sure if anyone is asking you to like Kratos. It's reasonably apparent that you purchased the other titles and likewise resonable that you will be picking up this one as well. Santa Monica says Thank You.
 
Jan 29, 2007
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Sorry Santa Monica, but nothing you could do would erase what Kratos had done in the previous games, I could never see myself liking him.

I think they're taking that into consideration in the new game. Kinda like in Last of Us how Joel did horrendous things and killed innocent people in a dark part of his life and the journey to redeem himself.

I hated Kratos in the third game and he became a villain for me so this shift and the tone they showed with the new game seems really interesting. Especially with his son and how, to me, in the footage they showed, Kratos feels ashamed of what he had to do in that part of his life.

We'll see, I'm optimistic with Barlog at the helm.
 

sense

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The series needed a shakeup, and I trust Corey. I think many people are writing this off too early and it may end up being absolutely incredible.
I know some are skeptical but the vast majority of fans are really excited about this game. It managed to excite a lot of non fans as well so I wouldn't say many are writing it off.
 

DC1

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Did people want God of War? That's not the vibe I get anymore...
You didn't hear that crowd at last year's E3?
You don't hear the thumping hearts of anticipation from the substantial world wide fanbase that has made every GoW release a great success?

Listen closer Sephiroth. Listen.
 

Danjin44

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Sorry Santa Monica, but nothing you could do would erase what Kratos had done in the previous games, I could never see myself liking him.
I'm going to take a guess and say you hate movies like Nightcrawler. Character being terrible person doesn't mean they are bad characters.
 
Nov 23, 2011
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Nearly a decade has passed since gamers concluded the tale of the rage-filled Spartan warrior Kratos in 2010's God of War 3, in which the son of Zeus finally exacted his vengeance against the spiteful gods of Olympus.

The writers forgot that God of War Ascension exists and came out in 2013.
 

BreakAtmo

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I think they're taking that into consideration in the new game. Kinda like in Last of Us how Joel did horrendous things and killed innocent people in a dark part of his life and the journey to redeem himself.

I hated Kratos in the third game and he became a villain for me so this shift and the tone they showed with the new game seems really interesting. Especially with his son and how, to me, in the footage they showed, Kratos feels ashamed of what he had to do in that part of his life.

We'll see, I'm optimistic with Barlog at the helm.

That's very much true. I remember lat year when the game was announced, I heard that part of Kratos' character in this game is that he has come to see godhood, full or partial, as a disease, and his intense rage as a symptom of that disease that he fights to suppress.
 

James Scott

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Sorry Santa Monica, but nothing you could do would erase what Kratos had done in the previous games, I could never see myself liking him.
It’s strange. Could’ve just made it a new IP or made him not be Kratos. Would’ve been like The Last of Us featuring and old Drake instead of Joel (or Jak)

Should probably still be a good game for fans of TLoU-likes
 

kromeo

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I'm going to take a guess and say you hate movies like Nightcrawler. Character being terrible person doesn't mean they are bad characters.

I can see why it might be difficult for someone to suddenly care about the character and his relationship with his son though which is obviously going to be the focus of the story. I would have refreshed the series with a new character personally but that's an old argument now
 

Danjin44

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I think they're taking that into consideration in the new game. Kinda like in Last of Us how Joel did horrendous things and killed innocent people in a dark part of his life and the journey to redeem himself.
I can't be the only person who thinks what Joel did in the end was right move.
20 years...20 fucking years has passed since the the outbreak. Even the cure did worked it wouldn't do damn thing to save the world. Infected already done their damage, they are no longer the biggest thread here other insane people are and they are not suddenly going to stop. If Joel didn't stop them Ellie would have died for nothing.
 

OléGunner

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Thanks for the fantastic read OP.

I've really warmed to Chris Judge's performance as Kratos since the first gameplay reveal.
It feels like he really "gets" who and what this older Kratos is and I'm confident he'll put in an amazing performance.

I feel like he'll capture all of the patented Kraots rage (which I need, because angry Kratos is a boss) and showing us the new more empathetic and fatherly figure he needs to be.

I forgot the child actor playing Artreus but he appears a solid choice too (and not as annoying as I initially thought during pre-GoW rumours)

I'm sooo frothing at the mouth for this game, GoW is basically my favourite PS franchise.
 

psychotron

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I know some are skeptical but the vast majority of fans are really excited about this game. It managed to excite a lot of non fans as well so I wouldn't say many are writing it off.

I'm sure those excited outnumber those who aren't, but I have seen a lot of complaints about the camera and more open nature of the game. You know, the "not my GOW" people. I hope that if they show us a bit more, people will get psyched.
 

strafer

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I think they're taking that into consideration in the new game. Kinda like in Last of Us how Joel did horrendous things and killed innocent people in a dark part of his life and the journey to redeem himself.

I hated Kratos in the third game and he became a villain for me so this shift and the tone they showed with the new game seems really interesting. Especially with his son and how, to me, in the footage they showed, Kratos feels ashamed of what he had to do in that part of his life.

We'll see, I'm optimistic with Barlog at the helm.

Uh, what innocent people? Everyone in that game deserved to fucking die.
 

sephiroth7x

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You didn't hear that crowd at last year's E3?
You don't hear the thumping hearts of anticipation from the substantial world wide fanbase that has made every GoW release a great success?

Listen closer Sephiroth. Listen.

I did but I try not to take into account the people at E3, TGS or any major show to be honest. Its a very bias environment so its hard to really tell.

All I ever hear nowadays about GOW is that everyone hates Kratos and Bayonetta did the combat better. I really enjoyed GOW, I just feel as if the ship has sailed a little bit.

Maybe people still do want Kratos and GOW, but compared to the days when GOWII and III were coming out, the buzz seems to have dropped... maybe that's just around my circles though!
 

Azoor

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Not sure if anyone is asking you to like Kratos. It's reasonably apparent that you purchased the other titles and likewise resonable that you will be picking up this one as well. Santa Monica says Thank You.

Well, excuse me for playing a game before giving it a fair judgment.It's pretty damn obvious they want us to feel some sort of sympathy in this game.

I think they're taking that into consideration in the new game. Kinda like in Last of Us how Joel did horrendous things and killed innocent people in a dark part of his life and the journey to redeem himself.

I hated Kratos in the third game and he became a villain for me so this shift and the tone they showed with the new game seems really interesting. Especially with his son and how, to me, in the footage they showed, Kratos feels ashamed of what he had to do in that part of his life.

We'll see, I'm optimistic with Barlog at the helm.

I'm not optimistic at all, but we will see what happens.

It's strange. Could've just made it a new IP or made him not be Kratos. Would've been like The Last of Us featuring and old Drake instead of Joel (or Jak)

Should probably still be a good game for fans of TLoU-likes

Maybe it could have been better with new characters, but I'll refrain from judging that for now.

I'm going to take a guess and say you hate movies like Nightcrawler. Character being terrible person doesn't mean they are bad characters.

The difference is that we were not meant to sympathize with the main character of that movie while we're supposed to sympathetic towards Kratos in this game seeing devs talk about him.
 

DC1

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I can't be the only person who thinks what Joel did in the end was right move.
20 years...20 fucking years has passed since the the outbreak. Even the cure did worked it wouldn't do damn thing to save the world. Infected already done their damage, they are no longer the biggest thread here other insane people are and they are not suddenly going to stop. If Joel didn't stop them Ellie would have died for nothing.
You're not. There are probably thousands of posts that supports Joel's actions.

In fact I believe that over 90% of all people with reasonable and sound mind would save "her" by whatever means necessary.
 
Sorry Santa Monica, but nothing you could do would erase what Kratos had done in the previous games, I could never see myself liking him.
Given what we know about the plot, erasing what Kratos did and asking us to like him is the last thing this game would ask of the player.

I can't be the only person who thinks what Joel did in the end was right move.
He's not talking about the end. He means how Joel was an unrepentant ruthless bandit who would ambush and murder innocent people for their supplies. He actually tries to justify it when Tommy confronts him about those years
 

strafer

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Given what we know about the plot, erasing what Kratos did and asking us to like him is the last thing this game is going to ask of the player.


He's not talking about the end. He means how Joel was an unrepentant ruthless bandit who would ambush and murder innocent people for their supplies. He actually tries to justify it when Tommy confronts him about those years

If that was the case then they should have added the option to leave them be instead of killing em all.
 

Danjin44

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Given what we know about the plot, erasing what Kratos did and asking us to like him is the last thing this game is going to ask of the player.


He's not talking about the end. He means how Joel was an unrepentant ruthless bandit who would ambush and murder innocent people for their supplies. He actually tries to justify it when Tommy confronts him about those years
Oh okay if we are talking about that then I somewhat agree. I think after
he lost his daughter part him died with her
and after that his only instinct was to survive by whatever means necessary.
 

Azoor

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Given what we know about the plot, erasing what Kratos did and asking us to like him is the last thing this game would ask of the player.


He's not talking about the end. He means how Joel was an unrepentant ruthless bandit who would ambush and murder innocent people for their supplies. He actually tries to justify it when Tommy confronts him about those years

I hope so because that would never work if they had this intent.
 

DC1

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Well, excuse me for playing a game before giving it a fair judgment.It's pretty damn obvious they want us to feel some sort of sympathy in this game.

Well, just assumed that you knew that the games (as a collective), while not absolutely obvious, thread the reason for the god tier range that has enveloped Kratos (this reason should not be considered justification, just details that explain motive).

His knowledge of the gods and their propensity to toy with humanity and the chains of fate; couple with the lost of his two loves (not withstanding the how) is the reason for his ambition.

I don't have to like him either (I absolutely would not invite him to my family reunion), but I'm looking forward to the next chapter in his story.
 
Jan 29, 2007
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I can't be the only person who thinks what Joel did in the end was right move.
20 years...20 fucking years has passed since the the outbreak. Even the cure did worked it wouldn't do damn thing to save the world. Infected already done their damage, they are no longer the biggest thread here other insane people are and they are not suddenly going to stop. If Joel didn't stop them Ellie would have died for nothing.

That's the interesting thing; whichever you see it, one choice or another, you have to live with the burden of that choice. It's not a simple 'good or bad' choice, there are consequences to that choice and all the doubts that come with it. Joel's probably gonna die with the choice he made weighing on him. That's why it's such a tragic ending.

Uh, what innocent people? Everyone in that game deserved to fucking die.

It was before Joel met Ellie. There's a small dialogue bit between them how Ellie wondered how Joel knew about the hunter's ambush and Joel said that he's been on both sides. And when Ellie asked if he killed a lot of innocent people Joel just sighed and didn't want to talk about it. Same with Joel's brother who has nightmares from the time he and Joel had to do horrible things to survive.
 

Wilhams

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Honestly it seems the writing could be on The Last of Us level so as long as they time the music perfectly like that game did its going to be revered as the best for some time.
 

Boke1879

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I did but I try not to take into account the people at E3, TGS or any major show to be honest. Its a very bias environment so its hard to really tell.

All I ever hear nowadays about GOW is that everyone hates Kratos and Bayonetta did the combat better. I really enjoyed GOW, I just feel as if the ship has sailed a little bit.

Maybe people still do want Kratos and GOW, but compared to the days when GOWII and III were coming out, the buzz seems to have dropped... maybe that's just around my circles though!

Honestly where do you hear this from? Because this is not the mainstream opinion at all. Just look at the interest this game has on youtube. This game is going to be huge when it launches. People wanted this.