During the 2014 PlayStation Experience, director Cory Barlog revealed that he and his team at Santa Monica Studios were working on a new game in the God of War series destined to arrive on the PlayStation 4. He explained that the game would be a sequel, but also a reboot of sorts.
The time draws near for Kratos to once again take up arms against the gods of this world. But as Barlog promised, many aspects of the bald ball of fury's next adventure look to be a departure from the norms previously established by the long-running series. The new God of War asks the question, what does a warrior do after his last battle has been fought? What would give him a reason to finally bury his past and keep his anger at bay? Or, perhaps just as important, what would give him cause to once again take up the mantel of the god of war?
God of War for the PlayStation 4 seeks to answer those questions and more, making it one of the most anticipated games headed to Sony's home console. From video footage to rumors, comments from the developers and beyond, it's time to slash through the certainties and speculation of the next God of War.
How God Of War Was Revealed
As noted above, the upcoming God of War game was first revealed during Sony's PlayStation Experience in December of 2014. At the time, director Cory Barlog revealed that he was taking the reigns of the series for the first time since God of War II, even though he's been involved to some degree in just about every installation of the seven-part franchise to date. Outside of the main trilogy, Kratos' origins were explored in 2013's Ascension, with PSP titles Ghost of Sparta and Chains of Olympus filling in a couple of of holes between numbered titles. That leaves just 2007's mobile game, God of War: Betrayal, which takes place just before the events of God of War II.
At PlayStation Experience, Barlog explained that the new God of War would not be a prequel, but it also wouldn't be a sequel in the vein that folks were likely expecting. He has since gone on to call the upcoming game a "soft reboot," which was fully revealed in June of 2016 during the PlayStation press conference held during the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3).
At that event, Sony kicked off its show with a 10-minute gameplay demonstration accompanied by a live musical performance. When a familiar gravely voice first said the word "boy," a rumble of uncertain cheers started to build in the audience. Those cheers exploded when, moments later, Kratos strutted onto the scene for the first time in years.
God Of War's Development
We knew that God of War was in development as early as December 2013, which is about three years ago as of this writing. The game has been built from the ground up on a brand new engine, specifically developed for the PlayStation 4.
Santa Monica Studios surprised the world when they revealed God of War with a big chunk of gameplay footage but, since then, the studio has been radio silent with fresh announcements. This led many to believe that the team was nowhere near as far along as the 2016 showing made it seem. In late December of that same year, however, a random tweet from Barlog proved that God of War is, in fact, coming along nicely.
In response to Twitter criticism concerning the lack of new information following the E3 showing, Barlog stated that he had, in fact, just finished a full playthrough of the game, making for a "very exciting" milestone for he and his team. As we previously reported, there are still a lot of factors to consider, but that likely means that the game is currently in alpha, with testing aplenty and additional touches being plugged in along the way. A full playthorugh, for instance, wouldn't be as impressive if the new God of War is only a five-hour game. But since the series' entries are usually pretty meaty experiences, we doubt they'd be aiming to tell a smaller story this time around.
What We've Seen From God Of War
The scenes shown off during the PlayStation E3 2016 press conference are the only footage of the game to date but, clocking in at 10 minutes of gameplay, it's still pretty impressive. You usually have to wade through a couple of cinematic trailers for a new game before reaching the honest-to-goodness gameplay bits, which speaks to the confidence on display by Santa Monica Studios. During that same E3, Barlog and company took audiences through the same section of gameplay behind closed doors, though with a bit more exploration of the game's world on display.
In the footage, Kratos tasks his son with hunting their supper. He follows the lad around as he tracks a massive deer and, after botching his first shot, eventually brings the beast down. Kratos then tells the boy to finish the job with a knife, but eventually has to help the scared youngster. Barlog has since explained that moments like these are peppered throughout the new God of War, with Kratos tasked with being a father rather than a legendary warrior. This relationship has earned the game comparisons to The Last of Us, as the deer hunting scene is practically cut from the same cloth.
In the midst of the deer hunting, we get to see God of War's combat in action. Kratos has to brutalize a couple of smaller beasts before going toe-to-toe with a troll, a fight that his son helps him win (if you consider firing a couple of arrows, one of which hits his own father in the shoulder, "helping.").
One of the biggest shifts on display here from previous God of War games is the camera. In the previous games, the camera was always a fixed third-person view, pulled back quite a bit. In the new God of War, the camera is still third-person, but it's more of an over-the-shoulder view and the player can actually control which way it is facing. Barlog has explained that this makes for a more intimate experience, which is something the team, in general, wants to achieve with God of War.