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God of War: Ascension developer Sony Santa Monica have shied away from including violence against women in the latest iteration of the franchise.
Speaking to IGN, Sony Santa Monica executive David Hewitt explained that this was beyond a line that the team wouldn’t cross.
“The team has a set of rules that define those sorts of things very clearly,” said Hewitt.
“There are some things we’ve pulled back from. I think where this has been an issue is with violence against women – the team’s pulled back from some of that and assessed that a little more carefully.
“There are certain things that carry a different kind of resonance that we don’t want to get into. This isn’t about statement-making in that regard. It’s about fleshing out this character.”
In the past Kratos, the God of War protagonist, hasn’t actively bludgeoned or harmed women except for snapping Hera’s neck and using her dead body to weigh down pressure plates.
As Ascension is set as a prequel to the existing God of War trilogy, taking place six months after Kratos murders his own wife and child via Ares deception, this decision to remove violence against women was also a character device as Kratos gains no pleasure from killing at this point.
“Where it shows itself is how the combat designers and animators have designed Kratos’ moves,” said Hewitt. “He’s always leaning forward, he’s always moving forward. He’s seeking revenge and he’s after his ultimate objective and he will tear through enemies – rip them in half – as quickly as he can.
“But there’s not a lot of flourishes, there’s not any kind of enjoying the moment. There’s nothing about this that he’s enjoying.”