The Playstation EU blog has a pretty fasciniating look at how the first boss battle in God of War, against “The Stranger,” was designed.
The first boss battle in a game often sets the tone for the player going forward, and The Stranger fight is one of my favourites. Between the narrative setup squeezed into the fight (Who is he? Why is he attacking Kratos? What are the answers he’s been sent to get? How do we stop him?), the mechanics designed to teach the player important lessons about the gameplay, and the spectacle of the set pieces, the whole sequence is so well done.
Even if you haven’t played God of War yet, it’s worth reading the post and watching the accompanying videos to get a sense of what goes into creating these integral moments of a modern game.