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God of War’s photo mode lets you turn Kratos’ frown upside down

Let’s put a smile on that face

Samit Sarkar (he/him) is Polygon’s deputy managing editor. He has more than 15 years of experience covering video games, movies, television, and technology.

The new God of War launched today, and we already know what one of its first pieces of downloadable content will be: a photo mode, which is all the rage these days. And this one will let you replace Kratos’ rage with all kinds of other emotions.

On a 90-minute livestream counting down to the midnight release of God of War last night, Sony offered a first look at the game’s photo mode. You can see the full segment about the photo mode above. It looks just as robust as the well-received photo modes in recent PlayStation 4 exclusives such as Horizon Zero Dawn.

“Very early on, we knew we wanted it to be an art showcase,” Jeet Shroff, gameplay and AI engineering lead at SIE Santa Monica Studio, said of God of War. “And so just adding photo mode [...] is to allow players to enjoy that art — enjoy the character artwork, the environment artwork — really up close and personal.”

God of War’s photo mode offers the usual camera controls and lens adjustments, including depth-of-field presets so players don’t have to manually tweak the aperture and focus distance. There are also plenty of color filters, as well as effects and overlays such as vignetting and borders, available to mess with. That includes a God of War-specific filter called “Kratos,” which drains all color from the screen except for red.

One element of God of War’s photo mode takes after the excellent one in Naughty Dog’s Uncharted: The Lost Legacy. In that game, players could change the facial expression for Chloe Frazer, but not her partner Nadine Ross. God of War ups the ante, letting players adjust the expressions on both Kratos’ and Atreus’ faces individually. Kratos might still not know how to let loose and have fun, but you can make it look as if he does.

God of War’s photo mode isn’t available yet, and there’s no timeline for its release — Sony Santa Monica said it will patch it into the game in the future.

“It was definitely something we were really interested in doing, but I was prioritizing — along with Jeet — prioritizing the stability and, sort of, the fun of the game,” said God of War creative director Cory Barlog. “So it became one of those things: We just kept kind of kicking that can down a little bit further, because we wanted every last second to make the game as good as it could be.”

In the meantime, though, God of War players will have their hands full with the game itself, which is huge. For more details, read our full review and check out our in-depth guide, and see a few photo mode shots from Sony’s livestream in the gallery below.

Update (May 9): Sony Santa Monica is updating God of War today to add the photo mode, the studio announced. The feature is included in the game’s version 1.20 patch, which should be rolling out very soon. Players can access the photo mode through God of War’s options menu, or toggle a setting to enable quick access via the PS4 controller’s touchpad. More information on the photo mode’s controls and options is available in a PlayStation Blog post from the studio.