God of War was built around three core pillars that would influence all design decisions for the project: Combat, Father/Son, and Exploration. When Anthony DiMento Senior Systems Designer started at Santa Monica Studio in May 2015, the Exploration pillar was the least defined. The franchise had traditionally been a solely linear experience, but the team was hoping to add ten additional hours of optional content outside of the critical path.
To accomplish that goal, a team focused on the “Exploration” portion of the game was formed. Anthony DiMento was tasked with helping them define what the content would be, and ultimately, to design the quests that would help entice the player into participating in these optional activities.