Santa Monica Studios have announced that the upcoming God of War for the PlayStation 4 has officially gone gold. That means that principal development is now complete and the game is primed and ready for release on the PlayStation 4.
The news was rolled out over on the official PlayStation Blog, where creative director Cory Barlog announced that the gold milestone had been achieved by the Santa Monica outfit.
The gold master disc was featured in several images as the studio smiled for a photograph of the event. Barlog noted in the blog post that the two biggest milestone achievements in the development process are getting "greenlit" and "going gold." The first is when a publisher would give the game a green light for development (or previously when Greenlight existed for Steam and gamers would upvote a game through the Greenlight process, it would be "greenlit" for distribution through the Steam storefront). The second instance is when development is final and complete after going through the hardships of building, refining, and eventually finalizing the core design process so that the title works from start to finish in a polished state.
The final step after going gold is is the manufacturing, shipping and distribution of the game, which is completely out of the hands of the Santa Monica team.
Barlog notes in the post that building this newest reboot-sequel of God of War has been a "long and exhausting journey" that was filled with a roller coaster ride of emotions that spanned from doubt and fear to laughter and wonderment.
One aspect of the design difficulty comes from the fact that the team completely overhauled the way God of War plays. It's completely unlike the PS2 or PS3 outings when the game followed Kratos through mostly isometric, beat-'em-up style battles that usually took place throughout levels designed as arenas. The new game does away with that kind of focus and instead has players moving through a living and breathing world themed after Norse mythology. Players take on the role of Kratos and his son Artemus, as they go on a very personal family journey that spans the great expanse of mythical lore and the importance of a father and son relationship.
The isometric view is replaced with an over-the-shoulder camera angle, putting players down lower to the ground and closer to the action. It also means that the combat is a lot more intimate and focused as opposed to being zoomed out and open. The studio overhauled the previous God of War trilogy's hack-and-slash style gameplay with a Dark Souls-inspired setup where tactics and strategy are rewarded over button mashing.
There have definitely been some mixed receptions about the change-up in combat. Many gamers grew up on the arcade-style mechanics that were fast-paced and required lightning-quick reflexes. So, there's definitely some push back on how this newest God of War is being perceived from a functional standpoint.