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How God of War’s PC port was brought to life

Mouse and keyboard, meet boy and Kratos Lately Sony has been increasingly open to putting previously PlayStation-exclusive games on PC, and today’s release of God of War is the most notable yet. One of Sony’s premier franchises since the original game was released for the PS2 in 2005, all subsequent titles — a 2007 spinoff…

Mouse and keyboard, meet boy and Kratos

Lately Sony has been increasingly open to putting previously PlayStation-exclusive games on PC, and today’s release of God of War is the most notable yet. One of Sony’s premier franchises since the original game was released for the PS2 in 2005, all subsequent titles — a 2007 spinoff for mobile phones aside — have been locked to PlayStation hardware. Santa Monica Studio’s 2018 God of War is one of the most acclaimed games for the PS4, and now it’s available to a new audience for the first time.

I’ve spent some time with the PC version and found it to be impressively well-tailored to the platform, which is not always a given. I spoke with Santa Monica’s senior manager of technical production Matt DeWald and lead UX designer and accessibility lead Mila Pavlin to find out more about the process of bringing God of War to PC.

“It was about two years ago that we decided to look into whether it was possible,” DeWald says. “So we decided to look into whether it was possible,” DeWald says.

“They’re integrated into the team, so they’re not really a typical port house where we offload something and throw it over the fence,” DeWald says of Jetpack. “They’re working from our code bases, and they’re on the Teams channels and communicating with our team. They’re part of our standups. DeWald was producer, and other Santa Monica members such as Pavlin made additional contributions.

“[PC players] want it to feel like it was built for the PC rather than being a port,” says Pavlin, who worked on the project’s UX and controls. “So a lot of the work that we did early on was about hitting those points on the graphic quality, making sure that the graphics quality were up to standards and that it was responsive on the PC platform and then making sure that the controls were customizable and felt good in the native configuration.”

I can’t speak to how God of War will run on everyone’s PC, of course — and as a hypothetical, DeWald wouldn’t be drawn on how it’ll perform on the Steam Deck — but my experience with the game on a five-year-old machine has been positive. There are a lot of graphical options and performance has been more or less in line with what I’d expect; I average about 50 frames per second on a 1440p ultrawide monitor with G-Sync, and that’s using a Skylake Core i5 processor and a GTX 1080 with a mixture of settings. You can run each visual option in the “original” mode. This basically gives you PS4-level quality.

While you might not immediately think of it as a good fit given its heritage as a console-based action game, God of War on PC can be played with mouse and keyboard controls, and the scheme is surprisingly well thought out. If you are used to playing FPS games using a mouse, actions like throwing Kratos’ axe and aiming for it will feel natural. Pavlin points out the fact that commands are not mapped one-to-one from the list controller actions. For example, you can jump on the PS4 with the same context sensitive button that interacts with the environment. However, the jump command on PC is handled by the spacebar, just like other PC games. Auto-sprint is another option that can make it more convenient for some players. Although I prefer a controller, I have played the game on my PS4 and am familiar with it. The mouse and keyboard scheme are a nice addition for those who play only on the PC.

“I found it very comfortable to use because I’m used to that from my other games — I play a lot of PC games,” Pavlin says. It feels very natural and enjoyable to play the game. This changes the way you approach combat. It was very easy to target the dragon using the mouse. So I do think that there’s advantages to it.”

Another strong addition to the PC version is support for 21:9 ultrawide monitors (as well as the taller 16: 10). This is more interesting for God of War than it might be for other titles because of the game’s signature one-shot technique, where the camera essentially never cuts from the beginning to the end of the game. It was interesting to see if expanding the field of vision presented any difficulties in terms of showing things that weren’t originally intended.

“[The ultrawide support] revealed all the little hacks and cheats we were using to kind of move people into position or have somebody come on from off-screen,” DeWald says. They might not be animated. “They might not be fully animated. The results

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