As you can see from the E3 2017 God of War gameplay trailer above, the game will feature Kratos's son, Atreus. Fred Dutton, SCEE Blog Manager, sat down with Game Director Cory Barlog last week to find out how the development of Atreus came about, and posted it on the PlayStation blog just a few moments ago.
First on the list was discussing how difficult it was developing his appearance. Kratos has a staple image from the franchise, but Atreus is brand new.
At first I tried to describe to our artists what Atreus was about to go through, and what he had gone through. I gave them an idea of the world he was about to experience – the world that is not going to be friendly. But I don’t think that really helped the team figure it out.
At one point we actually sat down and said to ourselves, ‘What would Kratos actually look like aged 10? Let’s do a drawing of that and see if there’s something analogous we can work from’. But that didn’t work either – it was just really goofy and weird.
The next interesting fact is that Atreus's appearance is based on a real person. When they met Sunny Suljic during the auditions, they were immediately taken by his appearance. It solved the dilemma of what Atreus should look like, and it helped that Sunny's performance was absolutely brilliant.
Balrog describes how the whole father-son relationship was actually developed on a short story he created for the game. When you look at the trailer, you can see just how powerful this bond is.
I created that story for the rest of the team. They could read it, they could visualise it, they could feel like they were there. They could go, ‘Ah, that is who Kratos is now, and that is his son.’ I think that short story really helped the team frame it.
The last two questions really tickled my interest, as it is so epic that it cannot be ignored. It's one of those philosophical questions you almost want to ask yourself every day.
The first: How do you teach a boy to become a god? Balrog explains that it has less to do about divinity and power and more to do with teaching not to make the same mistakes. As a parent, I can definitely relate to that.
To Kratos, being a god is a disease. It’s a disease that he’s passed onto his kid, and he doesn’t want that. In our children, we often see our own mistakes – the worst parts of ourselves amplified. But Kratos hates everything about being a god. All he wants to do is make sure that the mistakes he’s made are not passed on and repeated. But then, of course, he also needs to make sure his kid can take care of himself – it’s not a friendly world out there…
And then there is the second question: How do you teach a God to be human? Just like so many of us close ourselves up, even to our family, Atreus has the difficult task of reaching into Kratos and helping him realise his humanity once again. This father-son relationship has such a bearing on normal life, and you can only imagine how intense it will be in a God of War environment.
It makes one almost afraid to play the game... If anything happens to Atreus, I may just be traumatised.
If you want to read the full interview, you can have a look at the PlayStation Blog.