How God of War’s One-Shot Camera Was Born



We discuss the history of the God of War single-shot camera, its origin, industry reactions, challenges, and its influence.

Calm boy! Get us some mead, because we have a story to tell. A “long” story about a man and his dream of making an entire game in one go.

It was as tricky a task as climbing Yggdrasil, but by Odin’s beard Cory Barlog of Sony’s Santa Monica studio managed with his team to achieve a widely celebrated success for God of War (2018)

God of War Ragnarök reintroduces the single-shot camera, but getting to the point of creating a continuous one-shot game hasn’t been easy.

Let’s explore how the single-shot camera in God of War came about and the difficulties that needed to be overcome.

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How the God of War One-Shot Got Camera Was Born

Players became more intimate than ever with Kratos in God of War (2018) thanks to the single-shot camera. (Photo: Santa Monica studio)

God of War isn’t the first time a game hasn’t featured any camera cutouts. As far as we know, that honor goes to Splinter Cell: Conviction (released in April 2010), with the brilliant Maxime Béland as the game’s creative director.

God of War, however, was a smash hit, in part because of its one-shot, seamless camera, taking storytelling and that feeling of living in the world to the next level.

Cory Barlog, the creative director of Sony’s Santa Monica studio, had wanted to make a game in one uninterrupted shot for some time. After his work on the three original God of War titles, Mr. Barlog joined Crystal Dynamics in March 2012 to work on a Tomb Raider title.

Before God of War launched in 2018, Barlog admitted in an interview with the daily starthat he wanted to do the one-shot camera idea with Tomb Raider, but he didn’t get the go-ahead.

“I wanted to do [the single shot camera technique]and I had introduced him to Crystal Dynamics when I was working there on Tomb Raider, and everyone was like, “That’s crazy, we don’t want to do that!”

“And my reaction was, ‘Yeah, you know, I don’t know if this is the best place for me anyway.'”

To quote Kratos: “A choice among the gods is as useless as the gods themselves.”

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“Swedish family dinners are weird,” according to Cory’s Twitter. (Photo: Cory Barlog)

In April 2013, Cory Barlog left Crystal Dynamics and returned to the Santa Monica studio in August 2013. Sony believed in the idea and supported Mr. Barlog’s creative concept from the start, no matter how difficult it was. seemed.

“I guess for me there was just a lot more creative support and trust with Sony,” Barlog explained in 2018.

“As they would say, you have a crazy idea, we’re going to support you no matter how hard it is to jump off a cliff.”

Talk to Variety in an interviewDori Arzi, director of the game’s camera, said the camera was “essentially an extra character” in the scenes.

Dori Arzi further explained the intention to create a one shot game without any cuts. This wasn’t a cheap trick, but rather something the team hoped would have a tangible impact on the story:

“The intention was to create a deeper immersion in the story and promote stronger empathy towards the characters by making the viewer feel like they are literally taking the journey with our hero.”

It worked like a charm, but it wasn’t an easy feat to pull off.

One-Shot Difficulties

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Being a parent or creating a one shot camera for a 30 hour game, which is harder? (Photo: Santa Monica studio)

Making a full, massive game that takes, on average, around 20 hours to beat and over 50 hours for finalists isn’t easy.

Considering the fast-paced combat, inclusion of Atreus, some gigantic bosses, and the verticality of the world thrown into the mix, God of War’s only uninterrupted tracking shot of Kratos is jaw-dropping.

It is not surprising that there were difficulties in pulling off this magic trick. Although the game presents itself as a single single camera, the developer had to use some “tricks”.

Speaking to the polygonCory Barlog explained, “Sometimes we had to do a few little tricks, but, you know, we’re talking about six to seven, six to eight tricks in the whole game.”

He went on to note that aside from those few tricks, the rest of the game is just “an absurd amount of planning and technical trickery.”

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Mammoth creatures and fast-paced combat make the one-shot even harder to pull off. (Photo: Santa Monica studio)

In the interview with Polygon, Cory Barlog explained how this was a huge technical challenge for the team and that there were no real examples that it could work. They had to believe in his vision.

Gory Barlog explained: “They must have believed that when I said, ‘Listen, you’re going to get a sense of immediacy and connection to these characters, a relentless, adventurous feel that you can’t get from a any other way, and I can’t quote anything else.'”

Dori Arzi, the game’s camera director, also explained in her interview with Variety that there was an “industry-unprecedented mountain of challenges that needed to be proven” both visually and visually. and experimental technique.

Things started to improve as the goals became clearer throughout development.

“It had to be shot in a documentary-style form,” Arzi explained, “we had to emphasize the sense of scale for the creatures and the environment.”

The release of God of War on PS4 was not the end of the struggles due, in part, to the single-shot camera, as the PC version’s ultra-wide support and the ability to change the field of view (FOV ) made a number of the team responsible for transferring it.

In an interview with pc gamerthe lead technical producer of the PC port of God of War spoke about these difficulties: “Now there’s all this stuff that was on the edge and cut in 16:9 that’s now in the scene. Like, ‘Oh no, Atreus warps across the stage because he’s getting into position.'”

The developers had to play the entire game multiple times to spot the issues and then go back and fix them. It was not a task for the faint of heart, but they did it with aplomb.

In the end, it worked, as the reception to God of War (2018) was tremendous, as was its release on PC in January 2022.

GoW One-Shot Camera Reactions and Reception

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God of War was a triumph. (Photo: Santa Monica studio)

To quote Kratos again, as his lines are simply epic: “I am what the gods made me!”

In this case, the “gods” are Sony’s Santa Monica studio team. God of War (2018) is one of the highest rated games of all time and currently sits on a 94/100 on Metacritic for its PS4 version.

It’s clear that industry experts and gamers have found God of War to be a fantastic experience.

Many praised the one-shot camera putting them in Kratos’ battle-hardened boots as a triumph, and we just can’t disagree with that.

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God of War won Game of the Year at The Game Awards 2018, Best Game Direction, and Best Action/Adventure Game, along with numerous other industry accolades.

The game won four 2018 Golden Joystick Awards, including Best Video Design and PlayStation Game of the Year. The list is long, and while we won’t list them all, it’s very clear from reading dozens of reviews that the single-shot camera has made an impact.

Influence of GoW’s One-Shot Camera

Since the single-shot camera is quite difficult to achieve from a technical standpoint, there aren’t many developers working on similar storytelling tricks.

That is, with the exception of two…one of which is Sony’s Santa Monica studio with God of War Ragnarök, which is pretty obvious.

The other is EA Motive, as a developer announcement the long-awaited remake of Dead Space would unfold in a single sequential shot, just like God of War.

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The Dead Space remake will feature a single-shot camera. (Photo: EA Motive)

“From the moment you start the game until the moment you finish it, there are no camera cuts or loading screens – unless you die,” explained the remake’s lead producer. Dead Space, Philippe Ducharme.

“The Ishimura is now fully interconnected, so you can walk from point A to point Z, tour the entire ship, and revisit places you’ve already completed to pick up things you might have missed – it’s all new . It is now an unbroken whole to live.”

We hope this will work; good luck to the EA Motive developer team. We expect more developers to try the single-shot camera in the future, as the success of God of War is undeniable. And anyone willing to put in the hours to achieve this amazing feat deserves accolades in our books.

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So there you have it, the story of the birth of the God of War single-shot camera, industry reactions, and its influence to this day.

With God of War Ragnarök releasing this week on November 9, we can’t wait to experience another stunningly cinematic outing with Kratos and Atreus in one uninterrupted shot. Glorious!

Do you like Kratos and Arteus? Then consult our section dedicated to God of War Ragnarök News, Guides, Featuresand more.

Image courtesy of Sony Santa Monica Studio.

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