More, More, More...
The more I think about it, the more I am beginning to think that God of War is fairly significant. I just read this interview over at Ain't It Cool News [link via GGA]. David Jaffe, the creative muscle behind GoW, articulates some pretty interesting things.
To me, the main thing is that he was trying to make a cinematic and casual game in God of War: "This is intentionally supposed to feel more like a movie. We did not want to make a game that was a hardcore game for gamers only. We wanted to make a game that was narrative, that was story-driven. We did things with hidden checkpoints so that if you died, you don’t have to replay very much. It’s really meant to be accessible..."
The great thing is that he didn't have to compromise to acheive the cinematic feel or the accessibility. Playing God of War is intensely enjoyable. The things that make it "cinematic," such as the fixed camera, the story, the epic battles, and the non-repetitive environments, don't get in the way of the "game." In fact, they enhance it.
The things that make the game accessible to non-hardcore gamers are actually common-sense design choices that just haven't been made consciously by many other development teams. Most normal people don't enjoy playing the same 15 minutes of a game over and over, so Jaffe and company sprinkled enough invisible checkpoints throughout the game that dying rarely results in much repetition.
The result of choices such as this is a game that appeals to a larger audience while satisfying a large portion of gamers as well. I think/hope that we will see more such games coming soon.
Also... David Jaffe has a blog.