Ghost of Sparta spooks San Diego

Comic-Con 2010: Ready at Dawn's game director, project leads show live gameplay demo for latest PSP God of War; King Midas, spear-and-shield sequences shown.

Who was there: Ready at Dawn will be revisiting the God of War franchise on the PSP with Ghost of Sparta, due out this fall. To offer one of the first public showings for Ghost of Sparta, game director Dana Jan was joined on stage by lead programmer Derek Mulder, art director Nathan Phail-Liff, and lead animator Adam Burn.

The Minotaur will be among the least of Kratos' worries.

What they said: God of War: Ghost of Sparta received its big unveil at the 2010 Electronic Entertainment Expo, having been first announced in May. Today's panel, "The World That Is God of War," kicked off by running the E3 trailer (below), before Jan offered a look back at the game's beginnings.

The game director noted that when development started nearly two years ago, the overarching goal was to simply make Ghost of Sparta a bigger, crazier game than 2008's well-regarded Chains of Olympus. After that game, the team felt that it had pushed the PSP to its functional limit. However, with Ghost of Sparta, Jan said that the team has literally pushed the PSP to its absolute capacity, having advanced the gameplay and art well beyond that of Chains of Olympus.

Jan also said that a primary goal for Ghost of Sparta was to offer a more comprehensive look at Kratos' backstory. As such, some of the mysteries surrounding the man--for instance, his iconic scar--will be illuminated in the game.

From there, it was on to gameplay footage. Jan noted that from the very first title screen, the amount of work put in on Ghost of Sparta will be apparent, as Kratos is shown with full facial animation and a tumultuous ocean churns in the background. The title screen transitions seamlessly to a battle sequence upon starting the game, as Kratos is immediately set upon by trident-wielding enemies as he and his armada draw within sight of Atlantis.

Jan said that one of the other technical advancements was cramming more enemies onscreen and Kratos is shown butchering a host of Poseidon's mermen. He also noted that Kratos will have a variety of new ways to dispatch his enemies, including methods to throw enemies into one another. Enemy hit detection will be primarily relevant for a new move, called the hyperion charge. Here, Kratos runs and tackles an enemy, where he can then either pummel that creature to death or toss it at another monster.

The demo then offered a look at Kratos' first boss fight, one that involves Poseidon's underling Scylla. Jan noted that the size of bosses has been dramatically increased in Ghost of Sparta, the smallest of which could fully devour the biggest enemy in Chains of Olympus. The Scylla fight involved Kratos dodging massive tentacles while also fighting off mermen. It ended with the series' hallmark gore, as Kratos manages to mount Scylla and stab her repeatedly in the face.

After Scylla retreats, Kratos continues on his way, reaching Atlantis by way of an underground passage. After dispatching a number of mermen, as well as a minotaur, Jan shows off Kratos' new weapon, the Spartan's iconic spear and shield. The gameplay mechanic involves Kratos hiding behind the shield when he's on the defensive, while the spear provides a 360-degree attack. He can also thrust at enemies from a distance, as well as throw the spear outright, before it magically returns to his hand.

To conclude the demo, Jan skipped ahead to a point in the game when Kratos encounters King Midas in a mountain pass full of flowing lava. The man with the golden touch has been driven mad, and Jan shows how if Midas touches Kratos, the future god of war will turn into a golden statue and it's game over. To avoid being touched, players will need to successfully navigate a quick-time experience, and succeeding involves Kratos pummeling Midas into submission.

Once Midas has been essentially rendered unconscious, Kratos carries him forward for a reason that was not specified. Along the way, players will be harried by dogs, and Kratos will need to drop Midas to dispatch the dogs, occasionally smashing the king's face in (by literally pounding it against the floor) to keep him subdued. The demo ends with Kratos ostensibly tossing Midas into a flowing lavafall.

Quote: "If we said it wasn't possible on the PSP, we foolishly went ahead and tried to do it."--Dana Jan, on Ready at Dawn's mentality for outdoing Chains of Olympus.

Takeaway: Ghost of Sparta certainly maintains the God of War franchise's barbaric sensibilities. Ready at Dawn doesn't appear to be skimping on visual fidelity just because the game is coming out on the PSP, and the studio is looking to craft a bigger, more involved and complex experience than what was available in Chains of Olympus.

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Discussion

45 comments
godof2
godof2

It is said that this game will be better then GOW COO

sirmilad
sirmilad

nice game we can see in little trailer

ArielDark
ArielDark

Can wait to buy it and play it through in one day

iboo01
iboo01

man I sold my psp this sucks im going to have to go and borrow a friends just for this game

gbrading
gbrading moderator

Nice trailer, but a glimpse of gameplay is always nice.

Coolyfett
Coolyfett

It would nice if they had an open world to explore in these games...that is the only thing really missing in my book.

jony771
jony771

I think the gameplay and graphics will be kind of the same as the last God of War game for the psp but slightly better. I hope there'll be a great story in this game which binds the other game to this one.. Can't wait! Btw, Creepy voicee

Holy_Terra
Holy_Terra

"before there was a God... before there was a warrior... Kratos mother and father were getting frisky in a spartan nightclub ^^" woulda paid to hear that instead.

nonfanboygamer1
nonfanboygamer1

I wish this was coming out for psp2, ohhhh wait I wish there waass a psp2.

Sirbobislost
Sirbobislost

@ Milhouse09 i think he meant an actual game like god of war, and halo would be an Fps

apathy126
apathy126

I agree with HappyBB,I wanted some gameplay footage....

marcopolo426
marcopolo426

Oh here come Kratos again with another God of War. Let me make some predictions. I'll be the same but awesome gameplay with some new kick ass moves and finishing sequences. The graphics will be top-notch as usual with catchy cut scenes. The reviews will give 8.5+ scores. The story will be the good old revenge affair. Every one will awe while I die a little inside for not understanding the appeal of a unlikable douche massacring hoards of mythical Greek creatures.

HappyBB
HappyBB

I was hoping for a gameplay trailer. I was disappointed after watching the included video.

cristovar
cristovar

i want this game but i want it to be longer

AceTheBat-Hound
AceTheBat-Hound

@Milhouse09 Lol when was the last time halo had anything to do with Greek mythology.

that1guy67
that1guy67

@Smasher4ya they are not going to make another god of war for a console because they said they were done with it. it was meant to be trilogy and they are done. if they did make another one it would be cool but they would need to end it there. and just stop. all they have now are prequals on the psp and they need to end it before they run a great story into the ground.

Smasher4ya
Smasher4ya

what makes you think they wont amke another GoW for PS3?

LubiBaby
LubiBaby

looks great, but i wish they can make another one for the ps3...

TrinityChica14
TrinityChica14

This looks great...once again God of War keeps coming out with brilliant game after brilliant game!

xxx2050
xxx2050

looks incredible game i need a psp now

viotyers
viotyers

I NEED THE DEMO/GAME NOW!

lightwarrior179
lightwarrior179

I thought Chains of Olympus was quite a good game and enjoyed it so definitely looking for a bigger,better sequel to it on PSP.

haris9211
haris9211

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

Dr_Jackal
Dr_Jackal

I'm definitely looking forward to this.

Robinvd1986
Robinvd1986

Awesome cutscene! Might get a psp for this... dunno yet though. Really looking forward to what Santa Monica can bring next after this game.

Megaric
Megaric

wow the graphics are alot better than chains of Olympus, can't wait!!

fkbwii
fkbwii

Kratos looks a lot better in GoS than CoO

roda96
roda96

Cam't wait!Finally some good games for he psp,and not all those final fantasy and other manga rpgs :D

AceTheBat-Hound
AceTheBat-Hound

There needs to be a game series on the Xbox 360 that can beat the god of war series.

Erlkoenig
Erlkoenig

"game director Dana Jan was joined on stage by lead programmer Derek Mulder" haha

xNinjaKingx
xNinjaKingx

ready at dawn has a awesome name... ITS ON AT DAWN!!! (billy and mandy reference) o man cant w8 to play =)P

gimlifn
gimlifn

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

KaBo0m
KaBo0m

All I can say is LET YOU SKIP CUTSCENES AFTER YOU SEE THEM ONCE! The final boss was so lame in CoO. The final boss was the hardest of all the GoW games but you were forced to sit through a 10 minute cutscene every time you retried...really the only big flaw i found with that game

PumpkinBoogie
PumpkinBoogie

Very pleased to know Ready is really putting their all into even out-doing Chains and glad that it seems like their achieving it. More game developers need to learn from their example on how you can make a awesome gaming experience for the PSP (if you put in the effort). Keep it up, Ready!