God of War Art book from Santa Monica Studios and Dark Horse Books

Hey everyone,

For those who don’t know, I’m a fan of video games ever since I was a kid. I grew up on the Nintendo Entertainment System and have had several consoles over the last 30 years. I am also a big fan of art as well. Whether its in games, comics, 2D/3D animation, illustration or whatever form it comes in. Currently, most of the games I play are on the PS4 and Nintendo Switch. I’ve had an on again, off again with games during my life for one reason or another like focusing on school, work or something else but the love for them never died. I’m even making an indie game with a group of friends in my free time.

Last year, I was unfortunately furloughed due to the Covid-19 pandemic and found myself with a lot of free time outside of my UX bootcamp and studies. I decided to get into my backlog and play 2018’s God of War on the PS4 by Santa Monica Studios. I fell in love with the world, the mythos, the narrative and everything that came with Kratos and his new journey. He was older than the last time we saw him. Now, he was a full-fledged father and 2nd time widower.

For my 35th birthday this year, 2021, I decided to gift myself the God of War art book. I was blown away by the amount of beautiful work and thought they had put into the characters, the world, the enemies, props and other aspects of the game. I wanted to show you a few of my favorite images from the book without spoiling too much for those who haven’t played it yet. Hopefully, this helps with making that purchase a bit easier for you.

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Title: The Art of God of War

Author(s): Evan Shamoon

Topic(s): Video Games, Art

Book Summary: “The Art of God of War” from Dark Horse Books/Santa Monica Studio takes you on a visual journey of creating the latest God of War game. Written throughout the book are the insights and works of Game Director Cory Balrog, Concept Art Leads Luke Berliner/Dela Longfish, Character Art Lead Rafael Grassetti, Concept Artist Jose Cabrera and so many more artists on the large team.

My Key Takeaways:

  • It takes a village to create something, no matter how big or small the thing is.

It’s all about team work and how we’re all striving for similar goals. Every person has something to offer that can help make the game, product, app whatever be the best thing it could be.

The upcoming photos do not do justice to the images inside of the book so keep that in mind.

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  • Iterate, Iterate, Iterate

Something I saw a lot of in the book was different iterations of either the same prop, characters or enemies. They made sure to try out different ideas to see what fit and what didn’t. Even the stuff that didn’t make it in the game looked amazing but maybe didn’t fit what was needed for that section of the game.

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  • Visuals Follow The Story

The team made it a point that the visuals followed and served the story and narrative. Since the game is heavily influenced by Norse mythology, they learned about Norse stories but also went to the areas where these stories were born. They took those influences and applied it to the characters, the props and the environments. They added creatures like Giants, Trolls and famous norse legends while also honoring the original history of Kratos which comes from Greek mythology.

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That was my takeaway from the book, there’s more in the book but I don’t want to spoil it all. There’s not much I could say but could only show. You can buy the book here if you’re interested. If you have any thoughts or questions, please feel free to put them in the comments below! Have an awesome day!

PS: Santa Monica Studio released a documentary, Raising Kratos, on the making of the game which reboots Kratos story. It’s definitely worth a watch. You can check it out below.