Archangel Consolidated

God of War

by Joel Fernandez

We have seen it time and time again. A game development team comes up with a formula that works, but for some inexplicable reason they try to reinvent the wheel. The question is, why? It's understandable that the game play needs to evolve over time. But the changes need to be gradually presented in a nuanced way that will not leave hardcore fans in shock. As the console generations progress, it's only natural that each video game franchise finds it's own way to change with the times and the new hardware. But it's equally important to remember what made a franchise great to begin with.

Every time that the video game console life cycle resets itself, the transition must be made by video game franchises and fans alike. One such franchise is the God of War series. The first six games in the series were pretty straight forward in terms of premise and character development. The Spartan, Kratos, gets betrayed by the Greek pantheon of gods and decides that he wants revenge. For pretty much the entire series, Kratos goes about the process of exacting revenge on one deity after another until he is the last man standing. It is admittedly one dimensional in terms of character motivation. But some video games are like pizza. How complicated does it need to be?

It would be both unrealistic and unreasonable to expect the same experience from every game. Some are more narrative driven, others are more game play driven. Perhaps once in a generation, you might come across a game that does both perfectly like Assassin's Creed II/Brotherhood. But most development teams have a hard time duplicating that perfection consistently and thus they reach a plateau. The God of War franchise has become a staple among hardcore fans because it consistently did what it was designed to do exceptionally well.

As was previously stated, the console upgrade cycle demands change from any game franchise that wants to survive. But that does not mean that they have to fix something that is clearly not broken. Perhaps they could give players control of the camera or implement a loot drop system. But let's not pretend that Kratos is going to kill Norse gods for any reason other than revenge. Chances are the two sides are going to be at odds and the only way to resolve the conflict will be with over the top violence that is not for the faint of heart. To pretend otherwise would be disingenuous, to say the least.

Furthermore, anyone who is against the premise that made Kratos popular in the first place is probably someone that didn't like God of War to begin with. It's OK to have your own preferences when it comes to the games that you play. But to suggest that you want a game to completely change the formula that made it successful in the first place denotes an obvious lack of emotional investment in the particular game in question, which in this case is God of War. What's more, it is very easy to suggest drastic changes for a franchise when you do not have a stake in the outcome. Do we really want God of War to go the way of Devil May Cry? Don't answer that. It was obviously a rhetorical question. Now all in favor of watching the man, the legend, Kratos have his revenge, please stand up.