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Aug 09

Aug 09

Cory Barlog Returns to Sony Santa Monica Studio

Cory Barlog's Avatar Posted by Sony Santa Monica Studios

Good Day, fine feathered folks of PlayStation!

Cory “Balrog” here.

I’m baaaaack.

CS Lewis said that “the next best thing to being wise oneself is to live in a circle of those who are.” That quote really seems to sum up the thought process for most of my career decisions up to and including my current situation. While I, myself, may not always be wise, I am fortunate to have always been lucky to have a circle of those who are.  I have worked in many places, with any number of smart people of all disciplines, notoriety and awesomeness but nowhere have I encountered so many ‘top-of-their-game’ people as I have at Sony.

Just how the heck did we end up back here, you ask? That, my pretty PlayStation people, is a great question.  I thought I might invite you all to jump on a memory lane version “Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride” and take a look at just how in the hell I got to be here…again.

The here I speak of, by the way, is the hallowed halls of Sony Santa Monica. The same jewel encrusted fortress where the pantheon of super-creators make their waking dreams into reality and tickle that part of your soul

Ok, stop distracting me. We have a lot of information to cover and precious few lines of code to do it in.

It was a drizzly Tuesday when I showed up to Sony Santa Monica to work on a project, then known as Dark Odyssey, full of hopes and dreams.  A fresh faced idealistic young animator with a goal of working at a job where I can do very little, come in late and leave early.  Yes, after making crappy game after crappy game for over 10 years I had decided that I was going to say “suck it” to the game industry and work on a movie script so I could go where the grass was truly greener – a land of magic and wonder known and the ‘Film Business.’

I realized in just a few weeks of animating Kratos that I already worked in the greatest business that any creative person could ever hope work in.  Sure, I am biased.  I make games, and games are the future of entertainment.  Yup, interactive is the delivery system of the future. Who doesn’t want to work in the future?

Incidentally, I am actually writing this blog post from the future.  I am going to hit send and the little bits and bytes are going to go through the internet and cross through the aurora borealis and then, there is a 50/50 chance they will either end up in a Jim Caviezel / Dennis Quaid movie, or get sent back in time exactly 27 days and 13 minutes to be served piping hot for you to read. If you are reading this, clearly the latter has happened…and Frequency still sucks.

After that first few frenzied workweeks the rest is history, folks.  God of War 1 was released and received with open arms from the fans, which made us all happy we still had jobs and got to make another one!  I Directed and wrote on that one, then went on to write the original design/layout and story for GOW III before deciding to roam the earth like Caine from Kung-Fu. I wrote the script for PSP God of War: Ghost of Sparta at the start of my journey and then headed off into the wild blue of creative, and employment, uncertainty. I wanted to go on a creative walkabout, of sorts; in order get the experience I knew I needed to become a master craftsman.  It sounds pretentious, and it probably is, but I am totally not meaning for it to come off that way.

In my creative travels I found myself working on a game concept on the deck of a yacht in Monte Carlo with a crazy German music producer who carries around a fur-ball dog everywhere he goes and the heir to some British toilet paper fortune. I’m not kidding; the name of the yacht was Le tissue.  I seriously cannot make this stuff up. Later that week I had dinner with this other crazy guy, Erich von Däniken, a hotel industry worker turned vocal “ancient alien” theory proponent.  He actually created a theme park based on his beliefs and his books are translated in like 32 languages. He told me, everything I believe is wrong.  I told him, I believe he is right.

I took a good few years to hone my understanding of writing and drama with George Miller – that crazy guy who made the Mad Max franchise.  In the years I worked with him I think I learned more about story and character development than I could with ten advanced degrees.  Plus, I got to sit in the driver’s seat of Max’s new interceptor – that was a very big nerdvana moment!

I even got a chance to hang out with George Lucas for a short stint at, the now defunct, Lucasarts.  That was a pretty amazing experience, I actually got to stay at the Skywalker Ranch – something usually reserved for the visiting filmmakers and writers – and kick around story and character ideas with head writers from CSI, 24, the Shield and the creator of the IK show Life on Mars.  All the rooms at the ranch are themed after George’s favorite filmmakers.  I stayed in the Kurosawa suite, decorated with items from his past as well as some of his original drawings and watercolors.  It was awesome.  I tried to swipe a few for myself – turns out Skywalker Ranch security was also awesome. J While the Lucasarts thing didn’t shake out exactly as planned, it was another great experience that added new creative weaponry to my growing arsenal.

I went to Sweden and worked with those Ace of Base loving cats over at Avalanche, even though they seem to have forgotten that…or were misquoted.

Then, after much travel around the globe I came back to the US and kicked around in San Francisco for a year where I got to direct the cinematics on that Tomb Raider game that just came out.  If you haven’t played it, do yourself a favor, stop reading now and go pick it up NOW!

So, after all the travels and great collaborations and wandering, did I become the master craftsman that I originally set out to become?  Well, no, not yet.  I learned that the “master” part is a goal best left on the horizon, always appearing attainable, but just out of reach.  That keeps you hungry and at the top of your game.

That, and a healthy dose of gut wrenching fear that you are going to screw it all up, destroy the thing you are working on and disappoint legions of fans and players around the world.  That is important too.

I felt that I was ready to come back home – home to where it all started, Santa Monica Studios.(SMS)  There I would use my newly honed powers of awesome to create something that will rock the free world.  In an instant I decided to move my family, my wife who is nothing short of a superhero every day and our newborn son, Helo, named after our favorite character in BSG as well as our shorthand for the Sun God Helios – nerd family for sure, down to the sunny Shangri-La that is Santa Monica California.

What am I working on, you ask?  Good question.  Sadly, I cannot tell you…yet.  But I can say that it is freaking huge, and it will live up to the standards that I helped establish here at SMS.  We’re putting together a team as I type this, an Ocean’s 11 kind of thing. We are searching the world high and low for the best of the BEST to come and be on the ground floor of this endeavor.  So, hey, if you are a freaking rock star unafraid to roll your sleeves up and take risks, reading this thinking that your current digs are feeling…well…a bit small, a bit dull and in need of some excitement – you need to contact me at Sony Santa Monica.

That is all for now, PlayStation nation.  I will sign off with this – your continued support is the reason I get to make these crazy big games.

I thank you, from the bottom of my black heart, for all the time you play. I will keep working hard to create them if you promise to continue playing them.

If you don’t, God will kill a puppy.

This puppy.

[] [] /\,

Cory Barlog

Add Your Own

DigitalHero said:

August 9th, 11:39 am

Welcome back Cory! God of War II was my favorite of the series and I was sad that you left originally. Glad you are back with Sony!!!

Mando44646 said:

August 9th, 11:40 am

maybe you’ll get to make the game that sells the Vita finally :)

Busca-Cabezas said:

August 9th, 11:44 am

I’m sorry… I got here late. By late I mean, God of War III. So… Who is this guy? I don’t know. I guess you better make up for leaving… Hehe!! ;P

A-HBX said:

August 9th, 11:49 am

Welcome back Cory, GoW2 is joint with GoW3 as my favourite games ever. I hope you direct GoW4 and Sitg directs the new IP, two amazing PS4 games incoming! :D

And to all the idiots saying the series went downhill after GoW2, shut up. GoW3 is one of the best games ever and GoW: GoS is absolutely amazing. Only God of War: Ascension was mediocre.

Lord-Fratos said:

August 9th, 11:58 am

Welcome Back Sir. GoW II is one of the Best Game Ever Made by World Wide Studios and it my favorite of the series.

AwRy108 said:

August 9th, 11:58 am

Hey Cory, glad you’re back! When you have a spare minute, please help SONY dig the God of War franchise out of the toilet–Ascension was a HUGE let-down.

megacarlos said:

August 9th, 11:59 am

after the lack of updates on starhawk from santa monica me no excited but concgrats on coming back (sony love)

Kchow23 said:

August 9th, 12:22 pm

Awesome news.. DO NOT LET THIS GUY GET AWAY AGAIN! I love God of War 2… it is the pinnacle of the series so far :)

xaos said:

August 9th, 12:22 pm

My great PlayStation man-crush is returned!

Cory, your combo of excellent games, self-deprecating humor and fondness for the c-word (I’ll say no more) make this a happy day for me.

mystikalguy said:

August 9th, 1:02 pm

Welcome back Cory Barlog, make sure you stay there at SSM & get busy on GOD OF WAR 4!!!!!! :D

D-Squad3 said:

August 9th, 1:06 pm

OMG!!! THE Cory Barlog!!! Responsible for the best God of War game ever!!! (God of War II)

I really hope whatever you’re working on is AMAZING!!! God of War IV perhaps? Whatever is it I cannot wait to see what it is!!!

Will you show it at Gamescom?!!

FreshRevenge said:

August 9th, 1:12 pm

Well this is Great news. All we need is to hear is that David Jaffe has return and just wait for the big announcement of God of War 4. We need God of War 4 on the PS4!

zeothedeathgod said:

August 9th, 1:21 pm

welcome back!

TheSuperFunk said:

August 9th, 1:34 pm

“… and Frequency still sucks.”

“… when compared to Amplitude.” is the only acceptable follow up to this statement.

Seriously, though… Way to turn me off from any of your opinions or products. Then again, a quick look at your list of credits (outside of GoW2) was bound to do that anyway. Good luck!

FlyingUberHuzo said:

August 9th, 1:42 pm

Welcome back Cory! You did a ******* good job with God of War II. I hope Sony allows you to rock the PS4 with a new IP! But im cool with GoW4 under your guidance, too.

Good luck!

VoteKratos said:

August 9th, 2:03 pm


Kchow23 said:

August 9th, 2:08 pm

I also hope that the teams at SSM are working on some new IPs :)

TheSuperFunk said:

August 9th, 2:12 pm

Ha. I’m an idiot. You were talking about the terrible movie, Frequency…. NOT the Harmonix game. Thank God! I apologize for my random insult. haha

Crimson_Ryan said:

August 9th, 2:35 pm

Welcome back Cory! I’m excited to see what you guys are up to. If you say it’s huge, it’s gotta be HUGE. Can’t wait to see what this new team of industry rockstars can do, but if Sony Santa Monica are behind it, I bet it’ll be incredible.

T0xIK-BuLLET said:

August 9th, 2:51 pm

CHEERS!!! =)

remanutd5 said:

August 9th, 2:55 pm

Welcome back Cory!!!! please make a psvita game, the system is in serious help of more exclusive AAA titles, if you do make sure sony advertise the game because psvita tv spots are non existent.

stavrosyomafias said:

August 9th, 2:58 pm

I really love the work of Cory Barlog, and GOW 2 was my favourite game. But if he’s not gonna work for GOW4 or a new GOW game anyway. I don’t care then.

SpooNManX said:

August 9th, 3:29 pm

Welcome back Cory!

I’m glad to see you embrace the BALROG nickname, which I have secretly been calling you in my head for years.

And hey, if the whole video game thing doesn’t work out, I strongly suggest you become a Sci-Fi writer.
Very entertaining post my friend. :)

Now, let there be chaos! (AKA GOW IV on the PS4).. Hopefully you can let that kitten out of the bag soon. ;)


August 9th, 3:30 pm

Welcome back Cory!!!! please make us god of war IV please Cory your awesome and genius director, god of war 2 was my best god of war game and i cant wait to see working on god of war IV :)


August 9th, 3:33 pm

Yea please direct god of war IV and let Stig direct the new IP both of are awesome you’ll make the best two exclusive PS4 ever in history!!!

sancesarinpro said:

August 9th, 3:55 pm

please fix the gow ascension!!

zarzar5 said:

August 9th, 3:57 pm

Congrats Cory, I’m excited to see what you guys are working on. Hopefully it isn’t GOW, I think that series needs a break for a while.

IceColdKilla44 said:

August 9th, 4:22 pm

Holy CRAP!! This is actually really awesome news, welcome back Cory! I’m expecting some really awesome things from SSM in the future!

ElektroDragon said:

August 9th, 4:24 pm

I read his name as Cory BALROG — EVERY SINGLE TIME! Anyone else?

Gamerzlimited said:

August 9th, 4:39 pm

I started hearing of you when I played God of War II one year back and was disappointed to hear that you left months after GoW II release. Now that you returned, I hoped you come back to make SSM better. They have doing bad decisions lately and maybe you can turn SSM to a better company that support their games?

Heavenly_king said:

August 9th, 5:43 pm

Awesome!! God of War IV please!!! :)

BlindMango said:

August 9th, 5:59 pm

I loved reading this! It’s always awesome to get some cool stories/experiences from people in the gaming industry, welcome back!!

Kchow23 said:

August 9th, 6:55 pm

Was the puppy a Naughty Dog reference? :P

arrownoir said:

August 9th, 7:20 pm

Freaking awesome, God Of War II is my favorite GOW game, it was freaking glorious

Glad, very glad to see you back
can’t wait to see what you’re working on
Will pre-order immediately, I don’t care what it is
it can be a wet buttered @ss cheek

I wish I had some skills/knowledge of game development, I would contact SSM ASAP

anyway, welcome back!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

GhostMachine1 said:

August 9th, 7:30 pm

Glad you’re back. Cory + PS4 = fa get about it.
No puppies will be harmed. :)


August 9th, 7:30 pm

YEAH, WELCOME HOME CORY “THE BALROG” \m/ Rock the world as you did in the past years

Phoenix7469 said:

August 9th, 8:55 pm

God doesn’t need to kill that puppy, that puppy looks like it’s about to check out on its own!

DaNTi3L said:

August 9th, 9:55 pm

Hey man i just want to say i enjoyed God of War 2 and that i am glad to know that you are back with Sony Santa Monica

DarkArcani said:

August 9th, 10:05 pm

Awesome!!! Welcome back and I can’t wait.

measongara said:

August 9th, 10:19 pm

Wlecome back to home Cory Barlog. that awesome!!! while your back please make us god of war 4 we need god of war 4 on ps4 and please you direct it it gojng to be awesome!!!!

ARSOSA14 said:

August 9th, 11:36 pm

Is that God of War IV? I fall in a lot of emotions right now. Welcome back to Sony Santa Monica Studio. I’m a HUGE FAN of all of you. Keep on rockin’

proud2be said:

August 10th, 1:23 am

Welcome back to the Sony Fam Cory, i would love to work with you,just tell me how.

GhostX1984 said:

August 10th, 2:27 am

Hope it’s not another game with Kratos. He killed Zues. He’s done being an angry powerhouse. Great games, but it’s time something fresh. I welcome the return of more square, square, triangle with a new mythology or just something new and crazy tho.

Don’t really want to play Tomb Raider. She just can’t raid tombs anywhere near the level Drake does. If i’m gonna play a series around a sex object, i’d rather they just be overt about it like with Dragon’s Crown (excellent game). Either that or make her ugly on purpose cuz then your’e really going to have to sell the game on raiding tombs. Those tombs would have to be amazing. All the previews I saw of Tomb Raider had footage zooming in on her ass as she crawled thru a cramped linear crawlspace. That’s not what I play games for…

Sarges24 said:

August 10th, 3:12 am

welcome back bro!

GhostX1984 said:

August 10th, 3:27 am

Since they have less limitations now with PS4, they don’t need to stick with the camera on rails to have an absolutely beautiful game anymore. My guess is an open world game with the type of gameplay that makes GoW games so damn good. Something like God of War Ascensions multiplayer in a big open world would be amazing.

Sucker Punch should make an Infamous game where everyone has their own unique conduit and you all just go at it. Second Sun should have announced some kind of persistent open world competitive/cooperative multi like that with everyone fighting for control of the city 24/7. That’d be something you wouldn’t sell back. Plus you can patch on extensions of the city for new battlegrounds and new tiers of abilities a few months after launch.

Next gen is going to have higher player counts in general and a lot of games are doing this shift towards being more like mmos imo. Destiny will have you running into groups of other players in an FPS. Battlefield 4 can finally have more players on console. PS4 just won’t have those limitations so it’ll come down to how well they can design a game to make everyone feel like they’re in a persistent world that feels alive with other players.

fortex said:

August 10th, 6:44 am

welcome back cory

legalize said:

August 10th, 6:47 am

GOW king is back sony studios +1

AliVampire said:

August 10th, 7:46 am

I think they’re just making a new Gow to be released on Vita

chrisgomez3030 said:

August 10th, 8:45 am

don´t know the guy but i hope we get a good game out of this studio for the vita :)

JROD0823 said:

August 10th, 9:20 am

Welcome home Cory, the PlayStation faithful are glad to have you back.

I’m sure whatever you and Santa Monica are working on is going to be epic!

Please don’t keep us in the dark for too long, we will be waiting for more news with baited breaths. :)

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