God Of War’s Shallow Mechanics Are Disguised By Its Spectacle
It’s rare for developers to get retrospective on their best known titles and least of all for them to moderately criticise their games. David Jaffe isn’t your average developer, in fact he appears to sometimes go out of his way to be heard. That said, he is revered as the creator of God of War and while many believe the series needs to be put to rest, it is still one of PlayStation’s defining franchises reaching back to the PS2 era.
That doesn’t meant there isn’t any room for criticism and Jaffe was light-heartedly honest and frank about his creation in a recent making-of feature with Edge. Jaffe admitted that he “wasn’t interested in doing a deep [combat] system” and that the rollercoaster spectacle that the game offered distracted players from this shallow combat.
- You’ll Be Able To Play (Expensive) PS2 Games On Your PS4 Now | 2 months ago
- Jessica Jones Disempowers Its Male Characters And The Effect Is Refreshing | 2 months ago
- Hell Is 30 000 Deathclaws Tearing Through Boston And It’s Glorious | 2 months ago
- Sony Santa Monica Is Teasing Something Truly Strange | 2 months ago
“To me, the combat, the spatial challenges, the exploration: they were all pieces of the adventure, and all of these came together to push the player along. The actual game loop in GOW is very simple,” he said.
“If this had been the kind of game that didn’t have much money, it would have been an absolute failure, because if it wasn’t for new things to do around every corner, you might feel the core mechanics are actually quite shallow. They’re intentionally shallow, because we didn’t want them to overpower the experience.
“If we’d been DMC, your headspace would have been filled with a lot of fighting mechanics that would have pulled you out of the journey. Our combat’s not deep, but thanks to great animators, it is fluid.”
Jaffe’s goal was to “allow players to feel they were watching a great action-adventure movie” rather than being part of one. The series has certainly achieved that with some truly epic set-pieces and scripted moments. It is still perhaps one of the few games that does quick-time events respectably. However, were he to make God of war today, Jaffe would make the game less “combat-centric” and have far more going on.
“Today I would make it more like Zelda, ironically: I’d immerse you in being the hero rather than watching him. By making that game, I’ve realised there’s more to be mined from gameplay that way, rather than just taking people for a ride,” he said.
These days, Jaffe concerns himself with making games that are more than just an entertaining ride.
“I’m fine with making diversions, but when I talk about games’ potential, I think God Of War was a stepping stone,” he said.
“I’m real proud of it, and I may never be involved again in a game as good, but there’s a lot more to do, both in terms of reaching a bigger audience and just affecting an audience more; affecting them so they carry it through their lives as a fond memory.”
I adore the God of War franchise simply because I can leave my brain in bed and slaughter a ton of mythical creatures with careless abandon. It’s been a little long in the tooth and Sony Santa Monica needs to move on but that has nothing to do with Jaffe who moved on long ago.