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Pentiment and God of War Ragnarok

One of the signs that gaming is growing up is when you have two games so totally different vying for people’s attention this November. God of War and Pentiment couldn’t be any more different – but expect a lot of chat about them going forward.


That’s not to say they should be compared, although inevitably they will be. But with both games now gold, and almost ready to be played, there’s a good chance that Game of the Year talks will bounce between these two extremely disparate titles.

Chat won’t necessarily be equal. God of War is the blockbuster. It’s the game that’ll dominate this Christmas, in the same way that the next Marvel film will dominate whenever that comes out. That doesn’t necessarily make it better or worse than anything else. But, like Marvel films, it’ll mean its defence and even general discussion will be wild.

Pentiment is the indie film – ironic given that it’s backed by one of the biggest companies in the world. But it’s true. It’s the smalltime game that fans of God of War will roll their eyes at when that conversation stars. “You have that, while I have this?!”

Not everybody is going to get it. Not everybody is going to want to even try. That’s okay.

This isn’t an article about that disconnect, and it’s not an article about the inevitable console warring that will come out of this comparison. But look out for it. I’m sure it’ll be crazy.

It’s about the joys of being in an industry where these projects can exist within the same conversation. Where experimental games can be released on a major gaming platform and can deserve to be compared to the giant that is God of War.

There are few industries where that is true.

The AAA Showdown – God of War

This is the beauty of Game Pass. That a smaller game can be given the space it deserves. And I hope that doesn’t start to disappear as we hit Microsoft’s AAA deluge.

We are going to start seeing some crazy output from Xbox over the first half of 2023 and beyond. And that’s not just for Xbox. I think – hopes and prayers – we are finally coming out of the covid dry spell. Delays are going to start paying off.

But the conversation about AAA and indie is much the same as the conversation about blockbuster films and indie. Every executive wants to do Marvel numbers. And to do Marvel numbers, you need to spend Marvel money. And if you’re spending Marvel money, well, that’s the film you prioritise.

This time next year, Microsoft are going to marketing whatever massive winter blockbuster they have planned. At this rate it might be Starfield.

And I sincerely hope that doesn’t mean smaller projects like Pentiment stop getting the attention. Given Xbox’s output this year, and given that it’s “up against” God of War, there’s a lot of pressure on Pentiment. I still think it’s going to be incredible.

Let that conversation continue. Variety – and support for that variety – is a sign of a healthy industry.


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blank Mat Growcott has been a long-time member of the gaming press. He's written two books and a web series, and doesn't have nearly enough time to play the games he writes about.

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Twitter: @matgrowcott