God Of War Aims To Bring Movie-Like Physical Rendering To PS4, Programmer Says

God Of War Atreus
God Of War will use movie-like cinematic rendering for realistic PS4 graphics. Other attributes, like Kratos’ son and a static camera, will channel the best film techniques as well. God Of War releases in 2018. Sony Santa Monica/SIE

God Of War was a stunning asset to Sony’s E3 press conference this year, and its visuals tell a huge part of the game’s story. Kratos and his son Atreus have never looked better, and it’s all due to the game’s physical rendering.

In a bid for new job applicants on Gamasutra, Sony Santa Monica Programmer Florian Strauss spoke briefly about the game’s technology.

“We’re aiming for a grounded, realistic style, set in an environment that feels like a real place but with fantastical elements. In order to achieve this look, we needed to make the switch to physical-based rendering. We wanted to read subtle emotions on characters' faces and used specific technology to help achieve this, such as pose-space deformation, which was previously only used in films, and very accurate lighting to make the characters look right."

While the term pose-space deformation sounds pretty technical, it’s actually fairly easy to understand. It’s a 3D rendering technique by which a traditional mesh model is able to deform to the way specific joints would naturally react. In simple terms, it’s a modern method of making sure limbs, like elbows, bend as they naturally should in gameplay and cinematics. The concept was first used in 2003’s The Animatrix to simulate cloth, but its functionality has now expanded to humanoid models.

As those who’ve been following God Of War closely will know, however, pose-space deformation is far from the only technique Sony will be using to ensure this game resembles and feels like the best animated films. For what would seem like the first time in gaming history, God Of War’s camera will never cut away from its initial perspective once it’s first established in-game. That means players won’t be dazzled by sweeping cuts and will instead be fully immersed in the narrative unfolding in front of them. Creative minds behind the project see this tactic as a method of creating empathy for the heroes because gamers never leave their side.

Atreus will act as an additional source of empathy too. As a single character mapped to an entire face button on the controller, he can be leveraged to help in combat and in solving environmental puzzles as the player sees fit. Reactive AI that accurately responds to these varied situations quickly is essential to making that happen.

Those who’d like to work for Sony Santa Monica are encouraged to apply on the company’s careers page. Open positions include programmers, animators, VFX artists and a whole lot more.

God Of War is set to release on PS4 in 2018. Read our exclusive interview with Creative Director Cory Barlog here. In the chat, he discusses how fatherhood and personal growth in the studio has influenced the emotions experienced by Kratos in the game. Suffice to say, it’s been a challenge to make this rage-based icon a truly multifaceted character.

What do you think of God Of War’s most recent trailer? Will this game deliver on its cinematic ambitions? Tell us in the comments section!

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