God of War 2018 was a hugely successful reboot of a renowned trilogy that amassed 23 million sales by the end of 2022 in addition to rave reviews from critics. Even though many excellent games come and go, this one stands out because it has become a significant model for AAA developers to use when creating their works
Most notably, God of War 2018’s influence can be seen in some components that have come to define the single-player AAA landscape of today, such as action game-coloured loot systems, combat with Souls-inspired mechanics, lavish presentation, and map designs that blur the lines between linear and open-world.
The game has been singled out as a significant milestone by some well-known developers, including Hiroshi Takai, the director of Final Fantasy XVI. In a recent interview, Takai even claimed that, in terms of quest design, God of War is the game that XVI most closely resembles. This undoubtedly surprised some fans.
The presentation of God of War 2018 is arguably its most striking feature.
Although it is widely acknowledged as a brilliant move by Santa Monica Studios to switch from the fixed camera angles of the first three films to the “one take” over-the-shoulder view in the reboot, the film’s visuals are stronger than that. God of War has an intimacy and immediacy that many games simply lack, from its cutscenes to its combat. It uses expertly timed camera movement and expansive shots to hold the player’s interest right from the start.
This contrast is especially noticeable in its scenes that feature a lot of dialogue; in other games, conversations would be framed in static shots, but here, camera glides and blocking/business techniques give the impression that a scripted performance is taking place. Even though other AAA games, particularly The Last of Us games, masterfully employ the language of cinema, God of War took some risks with its presentation and visual design that paid off handsomely.
In the intervening years, some games—most notably the Resident Evil games—have used close camera angles and overtly cinematic techniques. Although God of War didn’t invent these techniques, they undoubtedly contributed to their popularity.