Interview With God Of War 3 Lead Combat Designer Adam Puhl

February 25, 2010

At the God of War 3 event last night, I was able to snag an interview with Adam Puhl, who was the Lead Combat Designer for God of War 3. He was able to share his insight on parts of the development process, as well as talk about the improvements we will be seeing in God of War 3. I was even able to get some information on Puhl’s inspiration for some of the ideas that were put into motion in God of War 3. I just name dropped this game 4 times in the introduction, but if you read my impressions coming later, you will know why.

Q. What makes the combat system unique as compared to the other God of War games?
A. When we started on the combat system for God of War 3, we started by working through the criticisms that we got about the system in God of War 2. Our goal was to take the already accessible combat system of God of War and add more depth to it. As I’m sure you saw in the game, there are a lot of truly unique fights that you will encounter throughout the course of this game.


Q. I noticed that Kratos isn’t always fighting on the ground during some of the boss encounters, what was the inspiration for this?
A. One of my big inspirations for this was Shadow of the Colossus. If you recall from that game, the Colossi are each an experience to be had, and on we aimed to make riding a Titan a similar experience. This adds some depth to the players experience throughout the game. The fact that you will fight on the ground, which will act as a wall of the ceiling a minute later, really adds another layer to the experience of this game.

Q. Are there any new weapons, and how was combat tailored to the weapons?
A. I don’t know if I want to give away too much on the weapons, but there will be some new toys are Kratos’s disposal in God of War 3. We wanted to make the combat more specific on what weapons you will rely on. You will be using the Blades but then you can use the Cestus to break an enemies shield and then switch back. This makes it so that you can’t go through the game using one weapon because the other weapons/skills add to the combat experience.

Q. The quick time events in this game are executed so well, how did you guys at Santa Monica manage to do the best QTEs I have seen this generation?
A. The quick time events were designed in such a way where you would really get to see something overly brutal, something that you couldn’t see in regular combat. The first two God of War titles did these extremely well, but with the new power we have, we wanted to take these to the next level. The Poseidon QTE is something a bit different, it was actually inspired by the movie Layer Cake. I felt that the style of that QTE would make it feel more personal and instill a new found fear of Kratos’ power. The button presses were done in a way to free up the center of the screen so that you could see what buttons to press out of your peripheral vision. You know triangle is up and square is left, so since those show up in the corresponding spots on screen, that makes it easier on the player. The last button press on the Poseidon fight was engineered specifically for that event, it is awesome.

Q. I know that the story of Kratos and his revenge ends in this installment, but is there anything in the foreseeable future that will be done with the God of War brand?
A. As far as Kratos is concerned, the story is over, but as for the God of War brand, I can’t say anything. What I can say is that the brand means a lot to all of us, and the last thing that we would want to see is saturation of the GOW brand. Don’t go expecting Kratos Kart Racer or Kratos Kombat.

Q.What games did you work on before God of War, and what do you want to do now that God of War 3 is good and done?
I actually started out by writing strategy guides for games, this experience gave me a good amount of familiarity with the mechanics of boss fights and game combat in general. Before God of War 3, I worked on God of War 2 and Mortal Kombat: Shaolin Monks. As a designer, I don’t want to do that exact same thing twice. There are many things I would like to try out in the future, but at this point in time there is nothing planned.

Evan Velez

Evan is not only a contributing editor but also the official west coast liaison for the site. He is a Sony fanboy without regard but has also spent countless hours grinding away in Azeroth. A true video game music enthusiast and a well versed video game historian. You do not want to argue with the man, you will probably lose.

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