God of War - Level Design Breakdown

God of War - Climbing Section

Recently I’ve been replaying the latest entry in the God of War series for research into level design techniques. There is a few areas later in the game that I’m particularly excited about researching. However in my travels through Midgard I stumbled upon the moment captured above. I felt the framing and along with the level’s geometry really are a master craft in teaching the player how to navigate the space.

  1. Our eyes are immediately drawn to the light coming in from the top of the screen. The bright color contrasts the rest of the image. Light rays help guide the player upward and finally once we arrive at the top of the screen our gaze is captured by the lone red flag waving in the wind.

  2. From here we naturally wanna work our way down the space.The affordance of the golden paint has been taught to us at this point in the game and we know that when used on walls we can climb that object. This focuses our vision with our goal of reaching the red flag we can start to imply a route.

  3. The stone with the golden chain is another great example of object affordance. We know we can climb the chain but the chain must be knocked down by Kratos or Atreus. In addition the texture of the chain stands out from this rest of this imagery in the scene. Capturing the player’s attention and providing clues about how to traverse.

  4. Here we have some subtle leading lines that point to the intersection of the rock walls. More gold paint allows us to trace the path.

  5. A large golden circle and the slightly inset to the rocks really help connect the climbable wall to the wooden platforms below.

  6. The contrast of the torchlight help to highlight the gap in the platform and imply the importance of the bridge. In order to progress we have to bring that bridge down.

  7. The second chain we see brings everything we just observed into range and with the gold paint on the wood under it we know we can eventually climb this short structure. This also brings us back down to ground level where the player currently is. We can observe the entire path from this location and just have to figure out our first step.

  8. We do see a gear below the bridge. This object stands out from the rest and it’s affordance tells us we can freeze it once the bridge is in place. from here it’s a matter of finding the device to activate the bridge.

  9. Finally we can get a glimpse of a staircase in the bottom right corner of the map. This helps lead to the first piece of the puzzle which is sending Atreus up onto the platform.

This is a quick entry in the blog but I just felt this was a such a strong image that really stresses the importance of framing. As soon as Kratos climbs onto this ledge all the information is available to the player. With great use of lighting texture and solid geometry the player can piece together the clues and figure out the area for themselves. As always thanks for reading and please look forward to more entries based on God of War in the near future.