To inaugurate my new PS3, I decided to spin a PS2 game. It’s like calisthenics. I don’t want it to pop a hammy or anything. So I bought a copy of God of War II. I was a big fan of the first and the second slipped under my radar. I sped through the game over the course of the weekend, but what really separated the experience for me was the bonus disc.
On the bonus disc, the game ships with a documentary and interviews. Unlike the polished and completely fake documentaries that you see out of most studios (mine included), this documentary shows a team that is dissonant, unsure of themselves, extremely tired, and most of all humble. I was shocked! Usually these pieces are edited such that only the positive comments and only the hopeful comments get through. While there seems to be some self-editing of folks while the cameras are on, you actually get to see what game development is like.
Working on anything creative means arguing and it means sometimes having hurt feelings. I couldn’t believe Sony let them show something that makes them look like they don’t know everything they are doing and that they have doubts about their abilities and how the game will turn out. If you look at Tiburon’s special feature clips they have on Madden special editions (and what Ubi has on Assassin’s Creed and Splinter Cell specials and so on), you would assume we always think that we shit sunshine and rainbows.
I guess I just react better to “Hey, we made some art. Here it is. It was tough to get together, but I hope you like it,” rather than “Look at this! It’s the most awesome game in the world! Please treat us like movie stars!” Cory Barlog lives in a tiny little apartment like I do. To have them include that in the documentary just says loads about the culture at their studio. Kudos to Sony Santa Monica.
Oh, and the game was pretty fun too.