Warren Spector has said the "ultraviolence" in video games just has to stop. God of War: Ascension is guaranteed to be one of the most violent titles of the generation.
But the team at Sony Santa Monica believes that such violence is okay given the setting and story. In speaking to IGN , game design manager David Hewitt explained how and why the studio drew the line at certain levels of violence.
He first clarified that at the core of God of War is Greek mythology, which of course means there's going to be plenty of blood and guts. They also want to make it plain that Kratos knows of only one way to deal with his internal demons, and that's basically to slay the external ones. Furthermore, when asked where the team stopped in regards to in-your-face brutality, Hewitt responded:
"In fact the team has a set of rules that define those sorts of things very clearly. Where it shows itself is how the combat designers and animators have designed Kratos’ moves. 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.
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 has 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."
That's an important distinction because if Kratos was just having fun, that'd be sick for the sake of sick; it wouldn't really have any purpose. In this case, his undying quest for revenge is in no way a leisure activity, and we also have to remember that he was tricked into killing his family. In short, this isn't a pretty story, but the writers don't want to go too far.
Related Game(s): God of War: Ascension