In a piece reflecting on the development of God of War, creator David Jaffe has admitted that the title lacked some depth when it came to the combat and the gameplay, because he wanted to focus on the "experience" and the "journey".
If he had to do it all over, Jaffe said he'd take more inspiration from the Legend of Zelda series, and have players focus more on being the hero, rather than just sort of watching him.
“I was going for Zelda in terms of depth of combat,” Jaffe told EDGE. “I was looking for the presentation of DMC, but I wasn’t interested in doing a deep system. To me, the combat, the spatial challenges, the exploration: they were all pieces of the adventure, and all of these came together to push the player along.
"The actual game loop in GOW is very simple. If this had been the kind of game that didn’t have much money, it would have been an absolute failure, because if it wasn’t for new things to do around every corner, you might feel the core mechanics are actually quite shallow. They’re intentionally shallow, because we didn’t want them to overpower the experience. If we’d been DMC, your headspace would have been filled with a lot of fighting mechanics that would have pulled you out of the journey. Our combat’s not deep, but thanks to great animators, it is fluid.”
Today, Jaffe talks with pride about his game, but suggests that perhaps it was a little too focused on the combat side of things, and that GOW taught him that there's more to a game than "just taking people for a ride".
“There are cinematic moments and character moments I’m proud of, but I think maybe it was too combat-centric. Today I would make it more like Zelda, ironically: I’d immerse you in being the hero rather than watching him. By making that game, I’ve realised there’s more to be mined from gameplay that way, rather than just taking people for a ride.”