Cory Barlog, the director behind the upcoming God of War, recently took to Twitter to answer fan questions, and in the process he revealed some of the unexpected inspirations for the game’s fresh take on the franchise.
Given that the sequel, which sees longtime hero Kratos leaving behind Greece for the world of Norse mythology, focuses heavily on our Spartan’s relationship with his son, it’s unsurprising that Balrog looked to famous stories about fathers and their children, but the list is quite eclectic, to say the least. Here’s everything Barlog name checked in describing his inspirations, and how each work might influence God of War.
The Last of Us
Keeping it in the Sony family, Barlog is using Naughty Dog’s The Last of Us as a touchstone. Like what we’ve seen of God of War so far, The Last of Us did an excellent job punctuating its action beats with quieter, character-driven moments. It’s also focused heavily on the relationship between an adult, Joel, and the child under his care in a dangerous world, Ellie. While they’re not related, by the end of the game they’ve definitely developed a surrogate father-daughter relationship, which the game uses quite effectively to tug at player’s heartstrings in some unexpected ways.
Resident Evil 4
This is one of the only items on the list that’s doesn’t heavily feature any kind of parental relationship, but there is a clear touchstone here. In Resident Evil 4, Leon Kennedy spends a great deal of time escorting Ashley Graham, the kidnapped daughter of the president. It’s entirely possible Barlog looked to those escort sections to figure out how best to implement Kratos’ son. Then again, he might just as easily have been inspired by the game’s solid action gameplay, specifically its over-the-shoulder camera, which the new God of War uses for the first time.
Barlog didn’t specify whether he was talking about Cormac McCarthy’s novel or the 2009 film based on it, but either way, it’s clear what impact the story might have on God of War. The Road focuses on an unnamed father and son that travel through a bleak post-apocalyptic wasteland together. While that’s not quite the same setting as the wintery landscapes of Scandinavia that we saw in the game’s E3 demo, the concept of a father and son overcoming adversity together will surely be reflected in the game?especially since both Kratos and McCarthy’s protagonist aren’t exactly know for their emotional openness or chatty demeanor.
The Neverending Story
Most of us are probably familiar with the movie adaptation (and, befitting the title, its seemingly endless sequels), but there’s a chance Barlog is drawing from the book, too. In the original novel, the protagonist is rejected by his father following the death of his mother, and that relationship drives his escape into the fantastical world of the magical book he discovers. Either way, since the story focuses on a young boy who discovers his strength in a land full of unreal creatures, there’s a clear template for Kratos’ son to follow.
Road to Perdition
This crime drama centers on?you guessed it?a father and son. The specific angle that seems most likely to be reflected in God of War, though, is that the son in Road to Perdition is a stranger to the tough, morally questionable career his father has chosen, something we saw reflected in the E3 demo. Will Kratos’ (still unnamed) son be corrupted by the brutality of his father? Will he learn to accept his legacy, or reject the violence? That’s definitely one theme we expect to see tackled in the game.
The Tree of Life
Easily the strangest work on the list, Terrance Malick’s arthouse film The Tree of Life does ostensibly center around another emotionally distant father and his children. The film is quite impressionistic, though, and spends an extended sequence detailing the creation of the universe and the evolution of all Earth’s creatures. We’re unlikely to see such an out-there sequence in God of War?but there is another element of the film that could surface. Near the end, the story jumps forward to follow the son as an adult, so the audience can see how his upbringing affected him. Could we be seeing Kratos’ son as an adult? Could he, at some point, become the series’ new hero?
We’ll have to wait quite some time to know for sure. God of War, a PlayStation 4 exclusive, currently has no release date and is unlikely to arrive before fall 2017 at the earliest.