Santa Monica Studios explains the design philosophy behind the Leviathan Axe

In the new God of War coming to PS4, Kratos is without his Blades of Chaos for the very first time. Instead, Kratos is wielding a new weapon; the God of War Leviathan Axe.

This new weapon is a radical departure for the series, but it’s been carefully designed by the team at Santa Monica Studios. Along with the new camera angle, new narrative and new mythology, God of War has a new weapon.

God of War Leviathan Axe

In a new featurette (below) Director Cory Barlog and a handful of Santa Monica Studios staff, explain the design philosophy of the God of War Leviathan Axe.

Barlog says that he knew he needed to do something very different for this instalment of God of War. In spite of the Blades of Chaos being such an important part of the original games, the Leviathan Axe needed to be introduced.

We knew we had to change the weapon as well. We had to bring something new to the table. The Blades are extremely iconic, everybody expects this; everybody knows this.

There’s not a lot you can do new with it without going super extreme, right? So to make a nice big change, I think will have a greater weight, a greater impact.

Initially, the team struggled with the idea of the Leviathan Axe, especially when designing interesting ways for the weapon to function. Early on, it was suggested that Kratos throw the axe, but as one developer puts it;

There was always this animation of Kratos throwing the axe that seemed like it would be cool but it would be like, well, he’s going to throw his weapon away. What use is that going to be? Is this going to be gone? You’re gonna have to go pick it up.

Eventually, it was suggested that the Leviathan Axe could have recall and from there everything fell into place.

And my AXE

Santa Monica Studios explains in the video that the God of War Leviathan Axe functions like a car in a way. Players are able to change and upgrade parts which are all interchangeable. 

Brok and Sindri are two dwarven blacksmiths who Kratos meets on his journey. They’re able to upgrade the Leviathan Axe by increasing the size of the axe head and improving the handle.

The upgrades all grant Kratos access to different skills and moves. Essentially, these skills are what would have been tied to L1 in previous games. 

The difference in God of War is that you’re able to mix and match Kratos’ abilities to suit your playstyle.

One attack might just be a giant frost wave that doesn’t do a lot of damage but does slow them down and make them easier to fight.

Another one might have Kratos just spinning rapidly with his axe, very close-range, multi-hit, high damage.

Depending on if you like being up close to enemies or far range, basically, there’s a runic attack for you.

It certainly seems as though Santa Monica Studios has put in a tonne of work to make sure the Leviathan Axe is functional, but also as iconic as the Blades of Chaos.

We’ll find out if it succeeded when God of War launches exclusively for PS4 on April 20.

Leo Stevenson
Leo Stevenson
I've been playing games for the past 27 years and have been writing for almost as long. Combining two passions in the way I'm able is a true privilege. PowerUp! is a labour of love and one I am so excited to share.

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