God of War Screenwriters Reveal Their Plans for Kratos

Patrick Melton and Marcus Dunstan describe the first act of the film and what audiences will see that wasn't in the game.

William Bibbianiby William Bibbiani


Like many top tier video game movies in development, God of War doesn't seem to be making a lot of announcements. (When was the last time we had any concrete news on that Mass Effect movie, anyway?) Last we heard, Patrick Melton and Marcus Dunstan – best known for their screenplays to Piranha 3DD and Saw 4-7 -had been tapped to write the cinematic adventures of Kratos, the Spartan warrior tasked by the Greek pantheon with killing Ares, the renegade "god of war." Updates hadn't exactly been forthcoming after that… until today.

In an interview at IGN, Melton and Dunstan revealed some of their plans for the God of War movie, including what they changed from the original screenplay by Road to Perdition writer David Self, and how their film will be different from the various sword and sandal flicks that have sprung up in recent years. 

Says Dunstan of the previous draft, "The only problem with that is it was written before Clash of the Titans, Wrath of the Titans, 300 and Immortals, and those movies borrowed quite a bit from the God of War stories. It was just a little bit outdated, so we wanted to differentiate it from those other movies."

He continues, "In the same way that Batman was grounded with Christopher Nolan's rendition, we were attempting to do that with Kratos so that when we meet him — like they're doing in this newest game, which is sort of a prequel to the original — we're seeing him before he became the Ghost of Sparta, when he was just a Spartan warrior and he had family and kids."

Adds Melton, "In the game… there's that attack from the barbarians and Kratos has to call upon Ares to help him. Really, that's going to be our first act break. Before then, he's going to be mortal, and he's going to have his family. We're going to learn about him and understand how he operates. So it's potentially 30 minutes — give or take — of building up this character so that, when he does turn and becomes the Ghost of Sparta, we understand him as a human and we understand the journey that he's going to take. We're emotionally invested, so that it could go beyond just this one movie."

The full interview goes into greater detail about their plans to humanize Kratos and develop Ares further as villain, so check it out, but this is enough to encourage us. The God of War video games drop us into Kratos's story quickly, as soon as his greatest adventure begins, and while that works wonders within the immediacy of an interactive story, movies don't work the same way. You can start a video game with Kratos kicking ass if you are Kratos, but if you're just watching him in action, you need to establish a reason for audiences to care once the monster-fighting begins in earnest. 

We were concerned with the choices of Dunstan and Melton initially, given their track record with very different genres, but it sounds like they've got the right idea for the first act at any rate. Waiting an act for the action to really kick in could really contribute to the film's epic scope – they suggest that a $150 million budget is being considered – and if there's one thing we don't want, it's a brainless action spectacle that's in a hurry all the damned time. Kratos is one of the most tragic and interesting protagonists in video games, so hopefully they're giving him the respect needed to make the character work on the big screen.

CraveOnline will be back with more God of War news after the monster we created returns to kill us.