PlayStation 4 exclusive, God of War, was one of 2018’s best video games, equally deserving of the Game of the Year honor it received at The Game Awards. The large-scale game was highly praised by fans and critics alike, but according to the game’s director, the game somehow could have been even bigger.
In a video interview posted by No Clip, God of War Director Cory Barlog said that numerous bosses were cut from the game due to their massive size.
Barlog used the troll boss - which was actually never supposed to have been considered a boss at all - as an example for how the size of the enemy made things a bit difficult for the on-screen interface.
“We put the boss bar on screen because the troll was so big, the health bar above his head meant you had to keep looking up; and the health bar around his feet just looked stupid…. We tried an experiment where we put the health bar above, and then it would move down so it would stay at the sort of edge of the screen, and it just became distracting. So, someone had said, ‘Hey, put the just put the boss bar on it.’”
The size of the bosses also weighed heavily on their inclusion into the final game from a resourcing standpoint.
“We had so many more [bosses]. It was a much more ambitious, crazier, crazier game,” Barlog said. “Then as you go through development, you start realizing, ‘No, this is too big. We can’t do this.’ One boss takes, like, 30 developers a year and a half. It’s an absolutely massive scale when you really consider it, and you measure it against other games in which we finished the game in a year in a half. This one is more like, we have a group of developers dedicated as a boss team, and that’s not the only thing they’re working on…. So it became a reality that some of these things will have to be cut.”
Considering the scale of the giant bosses that were included in the game, it is not surprising that numerous other bosses had to be cut, given the factors of time and developer headcount. The ambitions of God of War clearly paid off, even if there was a lot more that Barlog and team wanted to put in the game - including a considerably expansive lore surrounding the aforementioned troll tribes.
The entire interview is well-worth your time, especially for those who enjoy the creative process behind developing video games or stories in general. Barlog is a 21-year industry veteran, and the insights he shares in the interview not only span the successes and regrets of his own experiences, but also provides an intriguing perspective of the history and current state of the industry overall.