E3 2009 Feature

God of War III E3 09 Interview

While at the Sony booth today, we had the chance to speak with Todd Papy, the Lead Designer of God of War III. Todd talked a bit about everything; the game’s story, tech, development process, and gameplay are all discussed. Take a look.

PSU: Todd, tell us about the game.

Todd Papy: Well, this is our final game in the trilogy, so it will play out how Greek mythology ends, basically — Kratos battling the Gods.

PSU: So we were talking earlier about the massive scale of the game. Outside of the scale, what is new that we’re going to see in God of War III?

Papy: We’ve got the Titans, we’ve got the weapons, we’ve got ridable creatures; there’s obviously new set pieces and places that you travel, new bosses that you interact with — basically the Gods — and other than that, it’s pretty much God of War. The responsiveness and all that stuff [is there] — basically, we don’t want to mess with the formula too much.


PSU: This has been called the absolute final game of the series, but obviously we’ve heard that with many games like Metal Gear and other successful franchises; they tend to live on, and–

Papy: Linger?

PSU: Linger, exactly, with prequels or other spin-off titles.

Papy: Right.

PSU: With that in mind, do you have future plans for God of War?

Papy: Right now, the team does not, but think of Crash Bandicoot, or what Naughty Dog has done with Jak and Daxter and stuff like that. For the most part, they’re not building those anymore. If Sony wants to take this property and give it to another team or something like that, yeah we’ll work together with them, but for the most part, as far as I know, this is the last one the team is doing. I mean, we’ve been doing this for seven years now (laughs). We kind of want a little bit of a change, but it’s been good it us.


PSU: How has working with the PS3 hardware been? Obviously you’re working on a PS3 exclusive, so you can take full advantage of the SPUs and all of the quirks of the PS3 development system. Has the process been easy? Challenging? Obviously it’s very beautiful, so has it been rewarding?

Papy: Well from a design standpoint, it’s been cool because it’s more of, "Hey, what do we want to do? Alright let’s do it." For the artists, building stuff now takes so much more time, but everything is a lot more detailed; you’ve got all sorts of maps: spec maps, bump maps, etc. For programming, it takes a little bit more time, too; moving stuff to the SPUs, or another chip, trying to find that line of what will work where. Basically, on the PS2, we knew how to make that sing, but with this, there was a learning curve, and still is.

PSU: But generally you’ve managed to overcome it?

Papy: I think so. I think the game looks great, and I know that our artists are very picky; they look at it and they’re like, "Aw, that’s wrong, aw that’s wrong too." You know, from my standpoint — you guys see a great game — I see the faults; I see "Aw s**t, we shouldn’t have done that," so it’s a constant process. We keep on massaging and massaging and massaging; it’s why we focus test so much.


PSU: And how long has the game been in development? God of War II came out in March 2007, so did you immediately begin work on the next game after that release?

Papy: The engine has been in development since the end of God of War I, and basically as soon as God of War II shipped, we started focusing on [God of War III]. We started programming the Titans, figuring out how the hell we could do that stuff — and also figuring out what the story [would be], what locations we were going to do, what kind of cool new mechanics we could use — that kind of stuff. It’s more just about brainstorming at that time.

PSU: Alright, before we go, any last words for fans of God of War, and perhaps for people who didn’t play the first two that might be interested in playing God of War III?

Papy: We’re trying to stay true to the franchise; we know that people love it. Basically, we want the player to always feel like they want more; expect the same variety, expect new set pieces, expect being taken on an adventure.

PSU: Fantastic, thank you very much.

Thanks once again to Todd Papy for chatting with us today. A full hands-on preview of God of War III is coming soon.