E3 2016

The New God of War Looks Very Different

god of War Kratos

Sony showed off the first footage of a new God of War game at their press conference yesterday. I’ve been a fan of the series since the beginning and I must say I’m very excited about what I’m seeing from the first bits of footage.

The series appears, at least from the few glimpses we’ve seen of it, to have grown up and matured a little bit. The game play looks far different from what we’re used to seeing in this series. Gone are the long camera angles and incredibly fast paced action. The series thrived on button combos to deal out brutal damage. This game appears to be a much more slower paced affair. In conversations with some of the other staff during the stream I called it something along the lines of Shadow of Mordor. Others said it looked more like Last of Us, or even Dark Souls. All of those are apt descriptions. The one thing it didn’t look like was God of War. That’s not necessarily a bad thing though. Kratos’ adventures more or less set the bar for the action game over the last few years, but the series was in need of a change. Slowing the pace, especially for an older version of Kratos, could be a very good thing. The first bits of action they showed off looked very promising.

I do, however, after watching that footage have a number of questions.

God of WarWhat has happened to the world since GoW 3? At the end of that game the world was more or less in ruins. There wasn’t much that survived Kratos’ wrath. Did just the area around Greece get wiped out and the rest of the world is fine? There are a number of things about the lore of the series that I’ll be very interested in seeing how they tie together and explain.

How are there multiple gods existing in the same universe? One of the things that people believe about their gods is that they’re the only ones that exist. The world is ruled by them and them alone. You can’t really have Greek gods surviving around Norse gods or Celtic gods or the Christian God. There can only be one creator, one God of War as it were. If this game is, in fact, taking on Odin and his crew it’ll be interesting to see how this gets explained.

Has Kratos started a new family? It was confirmed after the conference that you are playing as Kratos. That was him with the majestic beard teaching his son how to hunt. One of the pivotal plot points of the series was Kratos getting revenge for the death of his family. That’s why he was so rage filled before. It drove everything about him and was the primary motivation for his actions. Has he moved on now that he’s gotten that revenge. A mother was spoken about during the game play, but never shown. Is she still around? Is Kratos finally getting another chance to settle down and start a family once again? If so, how much of that past still lingers with him?

Will his motivation for fighting be the death of his family again? Please, for the love of all things holy, don’t let the motivation for him fighting again be the death of his family. We’ve done that once before. Let’s not do that again. Let’s come up with some plausible reason for him to be fighting. Perhaps he’s just fighting against injustice that he sees at the hands of Odin and the other Norse gods. Perhaps it’s not about the gods this time at all, but something else altogether. Let’s just not go down the road of revenge for the fallen family again.

God of War Son.pngHow will all the RPG elements shown off during the footage be implemented? As the live demo was being shown one thing I noticed was a number of elements on the screen that appeared to be related to RPGs were showing up. Points for completing specific actions were being accrued. Does this hint at something more along the lines of Tomb Raider or even Final Fantasy in that you’re gaining experience that can be traded for more skills? Is this going to be more open world than we’ve seen in the past? Do your actions directly translate to better abilities?  For example, if you spend more time shooting your bow do you get more proficient in that while maybe lacking in melee skills? A lot of potential can be seen in a game play system based around this. It’s something very different from what we’ve seen. In the past you could upgrade weapons and things by finding orbs around the world, but there wasn’t a huge skill tree of things that could be learned. I like the thought of a more customizable, unique Kratos for each person playing the game. It’s exciting to think of what might be.

Will there be any more obligatory sex scenes? Every game had one. Part of the core of the game was built around Kratos’ lust for the opposite sex. With the change to the overall tone of the series that appears to be happening I really hope that means we’ve seen the end of these unnecessary scenes. Perhaps Kratos only has eyes for his new wife. I really, really hope we’ve gotten past the need to button mash through a sex scene. It’s not necessary and just seems childish. Kratos appears to have matured. Let’s hope that is the case.

I’m really, very interested in what was shown off to start Sony’s E3 event yesterday. The series was in desperate need of a shake up and it looks like that’s exactly what we’re getting. There will still obviously be familiar elements, and a familiar character. Much like Ezio got more interesting as he got older through his trilogy of Assassin’s Creed games, I’m hoping Kratos has gone through the same evolution. He was an interesting character, but making him feel a little more grounded, a little more family oriented and maybe not just out for revenge could make him even better.

As it stands now Sony has the chance to do something very different for an established franchise and I look forward to seeing what more they have in store for us before the game comes out.

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