Posted 6:00pm

Cory Barlog returns to Sony Santa Monica

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Good Day, fine feathered folks of PlayStation! Cory 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.

Okay, 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 as the ‘Film Business.’

I realised 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’m 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 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.

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 J.

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.

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[] [] /\,

Cory Barlog

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Comments

33 Comments 0 Author replies
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cowbanana 9 August, 2013 @ 6:08 pm   1

Awesome, welcome back.

Please make an awesome Vita game now. You know, it needs one. Thank you!

 

welcome back and great post :)

 
supersmith2500 9 August, 2013 @ 6:16 pm   3

I agree with cowbanana. A new Vita game would be awesome. Welcome back to Santa Monica Cory. = )

DuncesOfWur09 9 August, 2013 @ 6:26 pm   4

That’s the big announcement? You got a lot of people hyped for nothing.

 

I’m sure we’ll hear something in the future about the new PS4 game you are working on. For god sake make it a bit more fun then the Tomb Raider story. I just played it and it’s a nice attempt for a Uncharted rip-off (that was a brilliant Tomb Raider rip off to begin with) but an adventure story needs a bit of fun put in the mix. A touch of black humour could lighten up the story at some places.

vonhammer 9 August, 2013 @ 6:31 pm   6

Should be good, hopefully it’s another new IP along with whatever Stig is working on.
Then crank out one mainline GOW, And one F2P GOW DOTA style MOBA.

 
ChazzH69 9 August, 2013 @ 6:32 pm   7

Welcome back to where you belong. :)

 
DoYouLikeMyID 9 August, 2013 @ 6:39 pm   8

Great post Cory! I can’t wait to see what you and the guys at Sony Santa Monica have in the works. :D

And, of course, welcome back ;)

 
RSStation 9 August, 2013 @ 7:01 pm   9

I don’t know who this guy is, or what he want’s but let’s get him back in the team and win this war.

and for the PlayStation Blog team – what’s taking you so long to put the PS2 classics The Getaway and the Getaway Black Monday on the store.

Gunner_1993 9 August, 2013 @ 7:13 pm   10

Welcome back brah. Looking forward to seeing what you have in store.

 

Wow he also wrote Ghost Of Sparta too?!
So its no accident that GOW2 and GOW:Ghost Of Sparta were my fav then… incredible!!!

FlyingUberHuzo 9 August, 2013 @ 9:40 pm   12

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!

 
residentSteve 9 August, 2013 @ 10:23 pm   13

God of war 4 confirmed then lol, I must admit I still like gow2 the most in the series.
Tomb raider is fantastic cory I’m glad your back with Sony.

 
Lunastra78 10 August, 2013 @ 12:54 am   14

You shall not season pass!

 
razordude 10 August, 2013 @ 8:57 am   15

This is the most self-indulgent blog entry in the history of the internet. I’d suggest that even most hard-core God of War fans wouldn’t know who you are. You’re not even announcing a game. Frankly, it’s embarrassing that Sony have allowed you to publish this. As you say yourself – “it sounds pretentious, and probably is”. Yep, you got that right.

 
extermin8or_ 10 August, 2013 @ 12:09 pm   16

Meh, it’s abit pretentious, but in fairness I doubt many people can say they’ve done all the things you’ve done or have as much experience sooo…. However I’m more interested in your bit about this message travelling back in time… Whats so important about that date in September that means you are writing this as if that date has arrived…i.e: that you know something we don’t so can’t say but that we will know by the middle of september? I wonder will we maybe know more about this new IP you are working on by then? :p Gamescom is in just over a week after all.

 
THE_FORCE 10 August, 2013 @ 1:05 pm   17

I completely agree with razordude.

I thought the blog post was a joke when I first read it, referring to a fictional character. Knowing that someone actually considered themselves prominent enough to warrant the post unfortunately, to me, comes across as rather vainglorious.

Normally I’d feel slightly guilty about making a post such as this, but in this instance I’m sure Cory’s ego is large enough to withstand any constructive criticism.

 
MASPALOMAZ 10 August, 2013 @ 1:35 pm   18

Wow, so once a blog post is not the usual promotional advertising like usually , and somebody writes something personal and even shares some insights into his life and fears , a few people crique him?

The same people who rave about a competition that is only there to collect your personal data for a new list?

I still think gamers are mostly smart people so I hope this is just an exception to the rule.

 
Coody-Baroody 10 August, 2013 @ 1:38 pm   19

To all you who say ‘Who is this guy and not even hardcore GOW fans would know who he is’

Im a hardcore GOW fan and I know who he is. He DIRECTED God Of War 2. That there ALONE should allow him to say hello to us all now he is back at SMS and it shows me – as it SHOULD you – that whatever SMS is working on next, it has one of their best creative people from their entire history of games back with them to give us PS gamers the best game they possibly can.

I mean to be honest, anybody that bought the 1st GOW HD collection should know who Cory is cos it came with a ton of GOW2 videos on the disk.

 
formlessg 10 August, 2013 @ 3:50 pm   20

looks good but I wont to know if there is going to be a new wipeout on ps4

 

Great news. God of War 2 is one of my favourite games and definitely the best of all the GoW games. Thank you for making it. Welcome back, Mr Barlog.

chrisdavid83 11 August, 2013 @ 9:29 am   22

hey im having problems logging into ps network keep getting error (8002A308) anyone know what this is or what to do??

chrisdavid83 11 August, 2013 @ 9:29 am   23

hey im having problems logging into ps network keep getting error (8002A308) anyone know what this is or what to do??

same here can’t sign in getting same error code

 
MASPALOMAZ 11 August, 2013 @ 10:02 am   25

got this error too, tried again 10 minutes later and i was able to log in.

 

jep me to same problem ( on vita ) online but not abel to log in psn network.

mummy112211 11 August, 2013 @ 4:16 pm   27

sup

ThreeWallzz 11 August, 2013 @ 6:15 pm   28

Meh I know it’s late..but still it’s better than never right?
I decided to comment since the news have been slow these days sadly

Welcome back dude!ur a legend among this company,it’s gr8 to see you return
U worked on backyard wrestling other than God of war and at crystal dynamics,Avalanche,such an awesome game it was.I hope u’ll have a warm welcome and enjoy yourself at Sony Santa Monica!

NutsXG_OnZo 11 August, 2013 @ 6:29 pm   29

Oh God no!don’t kill that puppy!LOL he’s so cute!he kinda reminds of Naughty Dog’s male dog mascot Pogo
This might be the best post ever in the ps blogs even though it’s a personal post,not a preview,or some advertisement or sale

BiGsMoO7ke 11 August, 2013 @ 6:39 pm   30

Welcome back.
Can we get a new GOW for the Vita :)

 

Hey Cory,

I’m guessing that C.S Lewis was meaning The Inklings when he mentioned that circle of smart folk, which used to include JRR Tolkien and WH Auden(I’m sure it included the latter)which met at the Bird & Baby in Oxford. I really hope you are back making us GoW4. Stig did a fine job, but I think the series lost it’s way in Ascension, and I know you can get it up to what it was in GoW2 again. Welcome back m8 to where you belong :)

 
residentSteve 12 August, 2013 @ 6:09 am   32

Just one question who is cs Lewis?

 
Jesse-Blue 14 August, 2013 @ 9:52 pm   33

Certainly very good news.
God of War II is still my favourite of the series.
Simply the best adventure of Kratos.