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Cory Barlog on rebooting God of War: 'We don't just want to erase the past'

God of War's Cory Barlog discusses how leaving Sony Santa Monica to help reboot Tomb Raider gave him the perspective he needed to reboot his own franchise.

"How about we make our audience grow a little bit, too? How about we open it up a bit and not just lead with, 'Yeah, violence!'"

- Sony Santa Monica's Cory Barlog speaking to VentureBeat about the development of God of War.

Rebooting a franchise is a risky endeavor and comes with many unknowns. But having helped with the Tomb Raider reboot while taking creative leave from Sony Santa Monica, God of War lead Cory Barlog had some experience under his belt. 

In a recent interview with VentureBeat, Barlog discusses his thought process behind pitching the reboot the way he did, as well as the many experiences which all helped him learn to focus his storytelling.

After finishing the his work on the original God of War trilogy, Barlog describes feeling burned out and wanting to pursue something new.

"I wanted, creatively, to get a different experience. I’m not certain how well I knew this or not, but I felt like I didn’t know a lot that I needed to learn, and I wasn’t going to learn it if I was making the same game over and over again," he explains. 

Thus, Barlog did a few stints at various places before landing at Crystal Dynamics and helping with the Tomb Raider reboot on its cinematics. It was monumental to shifting his thought processes. "That gave me the perspective I needed. I don’t think I would have been able to make this game had I not had that walkabout."

"That was really good for me, because it gave me a good understanding of, when they were rebooting, what was their process? I ended up using that—this isn’t to say they were wrong. It’s just that the way they approached it, I looked at it and thought, 'I’d approach this very differently,'" he continues. 

So when it came time to head back to Sony Santa Monica, he had some ideas. "I think I said, 'God of War needs a fresh start, but the player needs a fresh start as well. But we don’t want to just erase the past.' That was an important thing."

"As a writer, you understand how hard it is to build up backstory for characters, so you can have impactful moments. You have to build toward something and then pay it off. We built for 10 years! Let’s not throw that out. Let’s keep that, but let’s take chapter two. Let’s use that and have that resonate even stronger."

Be sure to check out the entire interview over at VentureBeat, which goes into more detail about the development cycle of God of War

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