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Moments: Seeing God of War For the First Time

I'm sure there were other games besides God of War shown at Sony's Santa Monica Gamer's Day in 2004. I should know; I was there. But I couldn't tell you if I tried. That was the day that Dave Jaffe unleashed Kratos on the world, and I still remember the impact it had on me.

"Gamer's days" are a long tradition in the game industry, though they are becoming less common. Basically, they were large cattle calls, with press from around the world assembled to see a publisher's upcoming lineup of titles. Generally, you'd see presentations and trailers for various titles (think of a smaller-scale version of what you'd see onstage at an E3 conference), then later there would be time for developer interviews and (hopefully) hands-on gameplay.

I attended Sony Santa Monica's Gamers Day in 2004 (I had to do a little online searching to find the date, the years tend to run together after a while). I'm sure we were shown a lot of games. I probably wrote stories on all of them. However, all I remember now is the last presentation of the day, where we were called back into the Santa Monica studio's small theater for a surprise announcement.

We crowded into the theater and took our seats. Dave Jaffe, the creator of the Twisted Metal series and one of Sony's most high profile (and outspoken) internal producers, took the stage In his usual over-caffeinated manner and started expounding on his newfound love of Greek mythology and his desire to create an completely over-the-top action experience. It was Jaffe, so this went on a bit. Though I know he can be controversial sometimes, in person his enthusiasm for the games that he's making is infectious.

Thankfully, this was one of the rare times when the game that was shown not only lived up to but exceeded the hype - Jaffe had a hit on his hands, and he knew it. There have been times in my career when I was certain I was looking at a blockbuster. This was one of them. Though there were elements of games like Devil May Cry and Rygar, God of War seemed to take these influences and craft them into something bigger, grander, and more violent. I'm not even sure if all the footage we saw made the final game, but watching Kratos rip the head off a Medusa or toss enemies into oblivion by the ankle while climbing was like nothing I'd seen before. The game, already in development for two years, looked every bit a polished, triple-A hit -- action on a scale that we hadn't witnessed before.

I don't think there's anything better about this job than those times when you feel like you're witnessing game history. That day in Santa Monica was one of those magic moments.

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