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Sony Santa Monica Studio details how quests were used in God of War to fuel player exploration

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Spoilers, of course.



One of the first challenges we faced when thinking about quests was that we had a game world devoid of friendly NPCs. There were no towns or bustling hubs, and the characters we did have (Brok, Sindri, Freya) were all heavily tied to the core narrative, which was still in flux. I set out to create a quest giver that was light-weight, but also flexible enough to be used in multiple locations, while providing a varied suite of quest activities. My initial prototype was a burial circle with an interact that popped in a ghost guy from Helheim. The “wayward spirits” gave a human voice to the mythical world around you. Being able to tell stories from people who lived in this world made it feel more alive, which is ironic since they were all dead.

As the project moved forward, we started defining buckets in which these quests would fit. Each bucket was defined by the amount of work required to bring the quest to a finished state:


“A” Quests

  • Full levels of dedicated content
  • Cinematic support, heavy narrative
  • Quests acquired through an established cast member (Brok and Sindri)

“B” Quests

  • Encourage exploration to the islands and beaches in the Lake of Nine
  • No cinematic support, moderate narrative support
  • Quests acquired through the wayward spirit module

“C” Quests

  • Provide additional discoverability and reward exploration
  • Light, non-critical narrative support
  • Utilize gameplay modules such as Treasure Maps and Artifacts

“D” Quests

  • Checklists, milestones, stat counters
  • No narrative support
  • Labors, Ravens, Challenges


Much more in the link. I loved exploring this world.

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That's interesting, because I despise exploring the world. The areas are designed in a very linear fashion, so I feel like I'm backtracking in a hallway as opposed to exploring a wide-open space.

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