[Post-Mortem] God of War III

We sit down with Kratos' third director in as many games to get his take on everything from moving the game to the PlayStation 3 to adding his stamp to the series.
Author: Sam Bishop
Published: March 24, 2010
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The end is here. Kratos' long journey that began more than half a decade ago has finally come to a close in spectacular fashion. A few weeks ago, we sat down with Stig Asmussen, God of War III's Director, and Steve Caterson, the Senior Producer and picked their brains a little now that the game had finally been finished. What follows is a set of candid -- and hopefully interesting -- insights into the process of making one of the biggest follow-ups in PlayStation history.


It can't have been an easy process; new hardware, a new director (yes, again), new staff and expectations that were so high some would rightly call them unfair. And yet, by nearly any metric or at the very least ours, the project was a rousing success, distilling the core essence of the series' trademark gameplay and leaving gamers with a fittingly epic conclusion. Nearly everything needed to be amped up, and Sony's Santa Monica Studios delivered, offering a sense of scale and visual polish that may have dethroned even the mighty Uncharted 2 in the process.

Now, with the game finally put to bed, we decided to go straight to the source and find out just how intense the whole process was. First up, The Stig.

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TotalPlaySation.com: Well, you're done.

Stig Asmussen: We're done.

TPS: This is it, your baby is finally-

SA: It's kind of amazing.

TPS: What's it like now? This is the first game that you actually headed up, but you've been doing stuff for all three games.

SA: Yeah, that's what's pretty neat about this one, is that as the Director I got to see and understand all the pieces that we were trying to put together from the beginning and then just actually see them come together. For the most part they came together exactly -- in one form or another -- pretty damn close to the way I wanted it. If it was exactly the way I wanted it, it wouldn't have been as good as it is because it's a team effort and everybody takes their piece, fashions it their own way.

TPS: That's exactly what [Senior Producer] Steve [Caterson] was saying. It really is a collaborative thing, but there is a fine balance between welcoming as much input as possible and then making sure you know, "okay, yeah that's cool" and, "I don't know about that."

SA: I think really what it is is that if somebody wants to do something a certain way and they're really passionate about it and I think it's cool, then I just gotta make sure that I connect all the dots in my head, "well this is connected to this thing and this person, if somewhere along the line it's going to break something? No it's not. Going to ruin the flow? No it's not. Okay, let's go with it."

TPS: Were you doing a lot that for this one?

SA: The full game, yeah.

TPS: Constant input and tweaking?

SA: Yep.

TPS: Was there a lot that came about through the graduation of hardware?

SA: I think what the hardware allowed us to do is to do certain things like I was talking about [earlier], like more... "real." We're not baking things, we're not using high res cinematics.

Because I hate it when the game takes you out of the experience. I hate any period of time when you're not doing anything with your hands. We gotta do a little bit of set up at the beginning and I want to make sure if there's a video sequence, it's paced. There's enough time between this one and the next one, not more than 30 seconds. That kind of thing.

TPS: So you definitely do some kind of pacing consideration for each movie sequence.

SA: Absolutely. Pacing is something -- that spike and flow and when we want to spread things out for a breather, there is a lot of effort put into that. The technology offered us some new avenues to do things in a more professional manner, but I don't think it really changes our design process.
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