The Making of “God of War”

The beloved God of War franchise has won hundreds of awards from all corners of the globe, but God of War (2018) is a new-everything: it takes a new direction, features a new setting, and boasts incredible new gameplay – that even the toughest critics can’t fault. And while Kratos has been wielding his magical axe over the last month on PS4s around the world, God of War has stomped its way through yet another record in the US to become the fastest-selling PlayStation-exclusive game.

On June 16th, join the Gnomon School of VFX in meet ingsome of the extraordinary talents that helped design, build, and make this visual and technical masterpiece for the PS4. This is a not-to-be-missed opportunity to meet top talents from Santa Monica Studio and hear how they ambitiously re-imagined Kratos’ world for 2018 audiences.

Tickets are sold out but for those unable to attend, they’ll be streaming the God of War artist presentations live on Gnomon’s Twitch Stream from 4 PM PT! 


4:00 – 5:00 PM: Character Rigging & Cinematic Animation in God of War ft. Erica Pinto & Axel Grossman
5:15 – 6:15 PM: The Environments of God of War ft. Luke Berliner & Nate Stephens
6:30 – 7:30 PM: The Characters of God of War ft. Rafael Grassetti & Dela Longfish
7:30 – 11:00 PM: The Art of God of War Gallery Opening Reception


Guest Speakers

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Rafael Grassetti – Lead Character Artist

Rafael kickstarted his career in 2004 working for advertising studios in Brazil, though he’d already worked as a lead modeler for almost three years prior. He’s worked as a freelance character artist across cinematics, advertising, and toys, with clients including Hasbro, Marvel, and Ubisoft to name a few. In 2011, he relocated to Canada to work at Bioware (EA) as a Senior Character Artist on the Mass Effect and Dragon Age franchises, before moving to California in 2013 to work at Sony (VASG) as a Character Art Supervisor across Killzone: Shadow FallInfamous 3, and The Order: 1886. He was later hired at Santa Monica Studio to work as a Principal Artist on the God of War series.

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Dela Longfish – Lead Character Concept Artist

Dela Longfish has been working for the past decade as a visual development artist in the gaming industry, on both established titles and new IP development for clients including LucasArts and Sony Computer Entertainment. While at LucasArts Entertainment Company, he worked on titles such as The Force Awakens 2, as well as the unreleased Star Wars 1313. He also contributed to the early visual development of Star Wars: The Force Awakens at Industrial Light & Magic. He is currently working as the Lead Character Concept Artist on God of War at Santa Monica Studio.
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Erica Pinto – Lead Narrative Animator

Erica Pinto is currently a Lead Narrative Animator at Santa Monica Studio and has worked in the gaming industry for the past 15 years. She has worked on many highly successful titles and IPs including God of War (2018), God of War: Ascension, and the Medal of Honor series. Erica earned her BFA at the UCLA School of Film, Television and Digital Media, and additionally received an MFA in the UCLA Animation Workshop. She is an avid movie fan, loves playing video and board games, drawing whenever she can, as well as singing and visiting national parks with her husband and daughter.

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Axel Grossman – Lead Character Technical Artist

Axel Stanley-Grossman is Lead Character Technical Artist at Santa Monica Studio where he writes tools to automate rigging processes, prototypes new techniques, and works with programmers, animators, and artists to ensure animation data is properly translated into the game engine. He was previously Senior Character TD at Insomniac Games on Ratchet and Clank: Tools of DestructionRatchet and Clank: A Crack in Time, and Resistance 2 and Resistance 3. Axel graduated from Gnomon School in 2006 and has a Bachelor of Fine Arts. Axel has taught animation and rigging courses for both the Gnomon School and the Gnomon Workshop, and has contributed various educational materials for the school over the years.

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Nate Stephens – Lead Environment Artist

Nate has been working in video games for over 18 years at the likes of Santa Monica Studio, Respawn Entertainment, Blizzard Entertainment, and Cryptic Studios. Nate has been a driving force behind many AAA titles, and his work is seen in City of HeroesGod of War 2God of War 3Titanfall, and the latest God of War. A true generalist, Nate has done everything from designing, building, and lighting entire game levels, to leading teams. Nate is currently a Principal Artist at Santa Monica Studio and leads the Environment Art, Lighting, and Breakables teams. He’s also an instructor at Gnomon where he instructs Environment Creation for Games, and has several Maya and ZBrush video training titles in the Gnomon Workshop library.

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Luke Berliner – Lead Environment Concept Artist

Luke Berliner is currently the Lead Environment Concept Artist on God of War at Santa Monica Studio. He has eight years of experience in games and TV along with four years of teaching. Luke’s credits include God of War (2018), God of War: Ascension,Transformers: Prime, and his work can also be seen in TV and print advertising. He is currently a lecturer at his alma mater, Otis College of Art and Design, and Red Engine, a design school formerly located in Los Angeles.

About the author

The ArtStation Team