It took four years for Sony Santa Monica to turn God of War from a pitch to a game of the year winning title. God of War's director Cory Barlog recounted that journey in a new talk at this year's Game Developers Conference in San Francisco, including the lead-up to the God of War reveal at E3 2016. It was the same year Hideo Kojima revealed Death Stranding, and at the panel Barlog revealed a kind of awkward interaction between the two.
Barlog recounted the moments prior to going up on stage for Sony's E3 2016 PlayStation conference, which up until that point has been mostly filled with rehearsing the live demo set to a live orchestra. But while sitting in a back room prepping, Barlog described an encounter with Hideo Kojima and his entourage.
"All of a sudden, in extremely dramatic fashion, the curtains burst open and this group of people file in. And at the back of this group of people is Hideo Kojima... bathed in light with Magneto tiles below him." Barlog describes being awestruck by Kojima, who was there to unveil Death Stranding at E3 2016.
"I'm trying to think of an opening line like, 'oh you come to E3 often?' I came up with nothing." After deciding there's no way to coolly go up to Kojima, Barlog said he was just going to not try. "About five minutes after that one of the guy stands up [from Kojima's table], walks over to our table and says, 'Hello. We are going to eat Panda Express. It is going to stink. We're sorry.' Then he bowed and walked back to his table."
Barlog said he contemplated whether he was having a "fucked up fever dream" as a result of the months long stress that accompanied developing a demo and official reveal for the new God of War for the first time. But the demo and reveal went great, and the rest is history as they say.
Barlog even revealed that he contacted Kojima to get permission to tell this story at GDC, to which a representative said Kojima didn't even remember the interaction taking place. Given that it took place three years ago and Kojima has been busy with Death Stranding, that's probably not too surprising.
The rest of Barlog's panel at GDC discussed the process of pitching a "reboot" of God of War with a strong focus on character development and exploration. Barlog pitched his vision for God of War with works like Cormac McCarthy's The Road in mind, but also with a mission to expand and mature the God of War franchise.