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Creative director Cory Barlog and the rest of Santa Monica are gearing up for the release of God of War in April for the PlayStation 4. The game will feature a mechanic that was originally intended for the reboot of Crystal Dynamics' Tomb Raider, but was rejected.
According to Daily Star, Barlog explained that the one-shot camera that was used for God of War was originally intended for the 2013 Tomb Raider reboot. However, Barlog received a lot of push back from the designers at Crystal Dynamics and the feature was scrapped before it made it into the game, with Barlog explaining...
I wanted to do this [the one-shot camera technique] and I had pitched it to Crystal Dynamics when I was there working on Tomb Raider and everyone was like, 'that's crazy, we don't want to do that.'
The one-shot camera technique would have really put Tomb Raider on a whole other level cinematically. The technique is oftentimes applied to specific movie scenes, which usually garners a lot of praise from both critics and viewers alike. The hospital shootout in Hard Boiled or those long tracking shots in Children of Men that helped elevate the film from just a gritty futuristic drama and turn it into a modern day classic.
For video games it's both easier and harder to pull off given the structure of a game's design. This was something that Barlog had to contend with constantly creatively at both Crystal Dynamics and Santa Monica. Barlog received a lot of push back because it's a technically daunting feature to squeeze out of hardware like the PS4. Things like load times, asset streaming, LODs, and transitions between gameplay and cinematics can become a massive challenge for a design team.
Barlog recently talked about the challenges the team encountered attempting to bring God of War to life, but didn't point out exactly what made the design so arduous for the over-the-shoulder hack-and-slash game. But the recent preview detailing the one-shot camera technique seems to shed some light on why there were arguments, contention and dissension within the team when it came to developing the rebooted sequel.
Barlog explained to the Daily Star that it wasn't until the last month before the game went gold that the team finally understood what he was going for with the one-shot camera. It was a design technique that Crystal Dynamics didn't even entertain for the Tomb Raider reboot and its sequel Rise of the Tomb Raider.
The thing is, until the game actually launches, it's hard to tell exactly how well the one-shot camera gels with the story and gameplay in God of War. The switch from the isometric view featured in the older games to a more intimate perspective hasn't entirely gone over well with every fan of the series out there. But some of the previews for the game have been positive and high up on the feature, so gamers will be able to see for themselves how well it works when the PS4 exclusive launches on April 20th.