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May 5, 2010

Geek Out!: New 'God of War' will go back in time

Posted: 10:07 AM ET
God of War: Ghost of Sparta
God of War: Ghost of Sparta

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When "God of War III" came out two months ago, it was touted as the end of the series for Kratos, the former Spartan warrior who sought revenge against the Greek gods who wronged him. But without giving away spoilers, the game left as many questions unanswered as it did conclusions to story lines.

"God of War: Ghost of Sparta" (Ready At Dawn, Sony) will be stepping back into Kratos' timeline to offer a glimpse into the mythology of his character. We talked exclusively with Dana Jan, Ready At Dawn Studios Game Director, about what would be new to the series and why they were ready to tell this story.

Why did you choose this particular time in the "God of War" timeline to tell this story?

When we started working on this project, we had a particular interest in exploring some of the unanswered questions of Kratos' story, especially the areas that have defined his character as well as the franchise itself. "God of War III" was on its way to complete the overarching story of the destruction of Olympus, therefore we had the freedom to pick where to place our game and found a perfect fit in the time between "God of War" and "God of War II".

This allowed us to expand upon events of both games as well as lead into the story of "God of War III", and reveal a lot behind Kratos' character and motivation. We've always tried to tell a more personal story in our games, and in this one, we took the opportunity to recount moments that have a huge impact on the entire franchise.

Was there anything learned from the Santa Monica studios production of "God of War III" that you were able to take advantage of in "God of War: Ghost of Sparta"?

We learned many lessons from the team in Santa Monica. One of the most important was that while making another "God of War" game, you had to come up with new and interesting gameplay moments that do not always revolve around the standard staples of the franchise. Of course, all the basics should be present — combat, puzzles, story, cool navigation moments – but there should be other aspects that someone who has played the previous games would not expect. These moments keep the game fresh and enhance the overall experience.

For example, we drew inspiration from some of the immersive moments that Sony Santa Monica created in "God of War III" where you have a chance to play Kratos in a different way and used that approach to not only build similar moments in our game but also to take them to the next level.

Another really good example is the cinematic cameras Sony Santa Monica used. There are a lot of moments in previous "God of War" games where the player would have a bigger god’s eye view of the landscape. We certainly have those moments as they are crucial in telling the story and in showing off the grandeur of the world. This time around they inspired us to create some really novel moments where the camera pulls in close to Kratos to show off his character, which in turn puts the player in Kratos' mindset.

Talk about the “never-before-seen depth of scale”. What does it mean to the gamer?

Scale is something that we knew we had to push in this game. In "God of War: Chains of Olympus", our thought had been to place Kratos in the biggest and grandest situations we could possibly realize on the PSP. We thought at the time that we had pushed the limits of the hardware. What we set out to do in this game is trump ourselves and push the sense of scale even further.

This was a two-pronged approach. First, we knew we had to create bigger and more bad-ass enemies. A good example is the first boss in "Ghost of Sparta." It's a gigantic creature that, in scale, could actually swallow the biggest boss from "Chains of Olympus." When you see this creature emerge to face-off against Kratos, you can see that it dwarfs Kratos but he can still interact with the creature by climbing all over it. This sense of scale is something we would not have dreamed of doing in "Chains of Olympus."

Another way that we’ve expanded the scale of the game is by showing the player the true repercussions of Kratos’ actions in the world. We wanted to show that Kratos was a destructive force of nature and that his actions had a certain domino effect that played out over the course of the entire game, from the start all the way through to the end. Through brute force he destroys the world to get what he wants.

Is it going to be tough coming out in the same year at the "God of War" finale? Will gamers still have an appetite even though Kratos is apparently done?

With "God of War III" being such a big success both critically and commercially, it shows that the franchise still has a lot to offer and that this universe is something that resonates with people. For PS3 and PSP owners alike, "Ghost of Sparta" will further expand the world of "God of War" and complete a huge part of the "God of War" saga. We have created a story and a game experience that is whole and will provide both fans and newcomers to the franchise a great source of entertainment.

And just for fun, we asked him this:

In your opinion, what is the difference (if any) between a geek, a gamer and a nerd?

Personally I fit into all three categories. If you ask me about tech, I sound like a nerd. Ask me about Star Wars and I sound like a geek. Ask me about God of War and I sound like a gamer. As a game director I tap into my inner geek, nerd and gamer to make the best game possible.

"God of War: Ghost of Sparta" will be released exclusively on the PSP later in 2010.

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Filed under: Games • Gaming • Geek Out! • Sony • video games

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James   May 5th, 2010 12:01 pm ET

This is very cool. I started the series with GOW3, and have just recently gone back and started playing the GOW&GOW2 collection. I am an instant fan of this series, and am having a lot of fun with these games. I've never been big on video games in any way, but the God of War series is the absolute best, of the very few games I've ever played before. Am excited to play this 4th installment, and am interested to see how it plays out.

Fan   May 5th, 2010 1:25 pm ET

I like the series, but i just couldn't justify spending $60 on the game(GOW3) to get 15 hours of gameplay out of it if i'm lucky.

gaming is going down the tube, all bells and whistles, no substance. don't get me wrong the story is awesome, but the same thing happened to the metal gear series. metal gear trumps GOW by far, but the latest installment you could literally beat in 5 hours.

story was awesome, but 5 hours of gameplay? come on.

IllIlI   May 5th, 2010 1:32 pm ET

Back in my day when I had to walk 10 miles to and from school up-hill in both directions in the middle of a blizzard, we played games that never ended (Pitfall, Pac-Man, Donkey Kong). Hours upon hours of fun with never having to worry about any limited gameplay.

lh   May 5th, 2010 1:35 pm ET

good input James. i only play madden, but tried the demo of GOW3, and was thinking about buying it.

Chadwick   May 5th, 2010 2:03 pm ET

Thank you RaD.
God of War is one of the best video game franchises out there.

phyco crusha   May 5th, 2010 2:28 pm ET

man i dont even know if i want to play this new 1 kratos os gone yo when i was playing GOW3 i was thinking imma play this s@#t over lol but after ending as soon as he killed himself i just turned off the game instantly =( damn it whyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy???

V   May 5th, 2010 4:19 pm ET

Im on my second playthrough of GOW3 on hard. I think its a bit more satisfying on the harder difficulties because it makes the gameplay and what you get out of it so much more worth it. To me its one of those single player games that was such a great experience the first time you really dont mind playing through it again and again.

zeke   May 5th, 2010 5:05 pm ET

played the demo for gow3 and fell in love!!! far i beat part 1 and i'm in the process of beating part 2. This game is Genius!

B   May 6th, 2010 8:35 am ET

i Know two games that are better than GOW3 POKEMON HEARTGOLD AND SOULSILVER both games are long and expandsive and to get everything in the game without codes would take weeks maybe months so GOW i hate you i have something better and cheaper and longer hahahaha

j   May 6th, 2010 9:51 am ET

b pokemon sucks compared to GoW3

Ben Levy   May 6th, 2010 12:53 pm ET

I love God of War, but the God of War stories on here seem like thinly veiled press releases.

Erzullie   May 6th, 2010 1:51 pm ET

Why is it that they keep putting games out exclusivelly for the PSP. I don't have one, don't want one, and even if I did, I could play it. The device is too small for me. so why not, bring out the Chains of Olympus & Ghost of Sparta as a PS3 game as well? Honestly, this upsets me.

psn id= smr101   May 6th, 2010 4:08 pm ET

I started off with GOW chains of olympus for the psp a few years ago and thought it was a great game,great graphics,great gameplay and replayable as well sadly I didnt realise GOW 1 and GOW 2 were available on ps2 as I most certainly would have bought them both. Anyway 5 or so days ago I ordered GOW for £24.99 from Game online (pretty good value) It arrived yesterday im a few hours in and tbh im pretty impressed the graphics are amazing argubly the best so far from the ps3 gameplay is awsome a few new features have been added since the last psp installment and the story seems good as well. I may also buy the GOW collection which features both GOW 1 and 2 for the ps3 for a great price of £19.99 (again from game) Ive heard rumours of a GOW 4 and I'll probably buy the ghost of sparta game for psp so yeah im a happy bunny lol 🙂

ben   May 6th, 2010 7:48 pm ET

i bought a psp go and seriously the only game i can justify buying was god of war COO.... yet it still lacked because i hate playing games on such a small me the psp or any hand held gaming device is made for 28 i have no real need to play games on the go....but i do connect the psp to the tv via composite cables and play god of war...

i just recently got into god of war series only because a christmas gift of god of war collection for the ps3....for the ps2 i never played it, matter of fact i used to laugh at the name and how cheesy it looked.....i was wrong....i started with GOW1 that game felt like it took forever to beat...then went on to GOW2 the game was much nicer but seemed shorter.. ..actually had time to beat GOW COO prior to GOW 3 release...and the game is my platinum on all 3 games also...very addictive cant wait for ghost of sparta should be interesting if it takes place during the period where kratos is still a god ( between 1 and 2 ) however i really want some DLC or some type of confirmation for another ps3 game

To James   May 7th, 2010 7:14 am ET

Actually, this will be the 5th installment into the god of war series.

$licc Ric   May 27th, 2010 3:40 am ET

the first game i bought with my PS2 was GOW. always read about it, never played it until i got my own copy. MAN, was i hooked! Couldnt wait to get GOW2, got it and fell in love again.Downloaded GOW betrayal, woop woop, CLASSIC! Then i bought a PSP just to play Chains of Olympus and it was money well spent. Then the countdown to GOW3, i would surf the web each day to get any new info, browse through gaming mags, just to satisfy my lust for chaos. Sold my PS2 [ very sad 🙁 ] but only did so cause i heard GOW collection would be coming as part of a trilogy, GOW ULTIMATE TILOGY! oh man, i never felt so good splurging on this essential series. Cannot wait to play GOW Ghost of Sparta, maybe Kratos' brother finally makes an appearance

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