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Taking an Axe to 'God of War' Gameplay

Jason McDonald (Design Director, Sony Santa Monica Studio)

Location: Room 303, South Hall

Date: Thursday, March 21

Time: 10:00am - 11:00am

Pass Type: All Access, GDC Conference + Summits, GDC Conference - Get your pass now!

Topic: Design

Format: Session

Vault Recording: Video

Audience Level: All

The new 'God of War' has a bold new vision that changed everything about it. A major challenge was determining how gameplay would fit into this vision. Everything from the controls, camera perspective, core weapon, enemy cast and ability set were changing drastically. How can do you change the gameplay system while still maintaining a core feel that resembles the past games? What were the key combat pillars that needed to exist in the new title? Join Jason McDonald as he shares the details in leading the gameplay design for the new 'God of War'. Design philosophies and experiences will be explained as he discusses specific points of the development process, from concept to ship.


This talk outlines techniques in identifying a gameplay vision for the reinvention of a franchise. We then discover how to determine what to keep from older titles, and what to add to succeed at reinvention. This is told from the lense of the gameplay design process of 'God of War'.

Intended Audience

This talk is intended for new and old designers alike that are interested in gameplay design.