When asked about the complexity of the God of War
series' combat, lead combat designer Jason McDonald admits that "we do get knocked occasionally for being a little too accessible, a little too easy and straightforward."
"We want to make sure that most of the fans get the experience, no matter what," he tells Gamasutra.
The key, he says, to making it "feel good throughout" is not difficulty, but instead variety: "different abilities, different items, different things that you can use for yourself, different moves, and different specials," says McDonald.
Even when the combat team has experimented with more gameplay depth, internal testing has shown it's not the way to go.
"It's always that line, where it's like, you want to make things advanced -- and with the Cestus [weapon] last game, we did experiment [prior to release] with a few things that are a little bit more technical, and stuff like that. But once we simplified it back down, suddenly everyone was raving within the studio."
And on release, he says, players agreed with the decisions made, in the end.
Sometimes, he says, players just want "to get it done", not struggle with memorizing complicated combat commands.
"So, the single player component of the game is always one where it's a mix of wanting to learn as much as you can about your character, and stuff like that, but not forcing you to do that. Because most of the fan base is not going to learn everything. You've got to make it work for, I guess, all players," says McDonald.
The full interview, in which he further discusses
how the team approaches combat design -- and for the first time multiplayer, with next year's God of War: Ascension
-- is live now on Gamasutra.