The award was well-deserved, but it was a surprise nevertheless because God of War came out early in 2018, and it was easy to forget about as big titles like Marvel’s Spider-Man and Red Dead Redemption 2 came out later in the year and were fresh in the minds of voters.
“Every single game that was nominated up here was an absolute frickin’ masterpiece,” said Cory Barlog, designer of the game. Barlog is famous in part for tearing up on a live video stream when he saw the first critical reaction to the game.
Red Dead Redemption 2 from Rockstar Games took several awards, but it appeared to lose momentum when Sony’s God of War won for best game direction as well.
God of War was not my favorite title of the year, as I’ll note in a future column. But I won’t begrudge it this victory, as I thought it was a brilliant reboot of a beloved series. The story of Kratos, the God of War, and his son Atreus is so touching. It transformed the game from a hack-‘n’-slash title to a narrative about a father and son, and that made all the difference.