Greece Goes Multiplayer in God of War: Ascension

Squad of War? Find out why Kratos is bringing friends to the party in God of War: Ascension.

"Kratos was an asshole in God of War II and III," said Todd Pappy, game director of God of War: Ascension, as our presentation began. This fourth console release, and earliest GOW prequel, gives Sony Santa Monica Studio a chance to colour god-slayer Kratos in a very different light. The team is emphatic that this is their most ambitious game yet, and it's easy to see why. The scale and cinematic quality that are synonymous with the series have been mirrored, now appearing in a new, single-player campaign and being brought over to power the game's first multiplayer outing. While developers on hand admitted that the move from a one-player game to an experience that players can share with each other means redistribution of time and resources, they also believe that the result will be what fans have long been crying out for.

Our demo began with a black screen, as winds howled around us. A tight zoom of Kratos revealed the titular hero making his return in this adventure, although, as the game takes place prior to the events of the console trilogy, his body appeared bronzed, rather than ashen white, not yet carrying the shameful mark of his slain family. Draped over his body was a colourful tribal outfit. As the camera panned around to show us the scene, he pulled on a large helmet to protect his skull. He's not yet a god, and the security it affords was an early indication of his frailty.

The action kicked off immediately as a small Cyclops burst through a corridor doorway. With no Blades of Chaos with which to lash out and grab our target, we rushed forward with a huge, ornate sword in hand. It was impressive to watch as the pair began to tangle; animations appeared smooth and natural. A second warrior joined the fray, running interference and baiting the beast as we performed a deft flanking movement to attack it from its unprotected side. We took it in turns with our brother in arms, eventually pinning the Cyclops down and carving deep gashes into its stomach, watching as its insides unravelled, spilling out on the ground below.

We didn't hang around long to marvel at our gory handiwork. Our guide proved that this was a live demonstration by shaking the weapon in midair and activating a rousing battle cry. We broke through into a larger, multi-storey space. In the background, a huge Cyclops was being held captive in a collar and wrist chains. Our goal wasn't immediately apparent, and there was no HUD to speak of, but the combat was distinctly God of War as we began to cull handfuls of enemies. A large spinning cog was connected to two circular platforms, keeping the monster in check. It was a good thing, too, with each of our characters about the size of one of its giant fingernails.

We swatted the smaller opponents away like flies, performing a flashy combo that in one fell swoop cut off one hand in its upward motion, and finished the job with a lethal downward blow. The result put daylight between the two halves of our victim, and reminded us of the T-1000 in Terminator 2, as the unconnected body parts flailed around with their new bifurcated status. The familiar coloured orbs of previous games were scattered around the zone and were accompanied by series staples, such as loot chests and traps. Looking for a better vantage point, we climbed a nearby wall, moving diagonally rather than shimmying up a simple linear path as we would have previously. Interactive surfaces were subtle and gave us a real sense of freedom as we scampered around.

While other players dashed around us on the battlefield, the camera remained focused exclusively on our character model. Some of our compatriots swung massive, weighty hammers, while others played support for the squad, dropping to their knees to throw out a group heal. Hades, Poseidon, Zeus, and Ares will each have their own unique combat styles, but they also play into classic combat archetypes, such as melee, ranged, healer, and tank. This is light role-playing, and, as a result, the design team hasn't yet nailed down whether GOW: Ascension will go as far as to include a buff system. They did, however, suggest that teams that opt for a more rounded group of fighters would better those who favour multiples of the same unit type.

The mode we saw, tentatively named Team Execution, featured two groups of four players battling to secure a point. The first team to complete the objective activated their cog, dragging the Cyclops down to within striking range on a platform so that the victorious side could harpoon it. Once done, they plunged a glowing spear directly into its eye. There won't be any finishing-move quick-time events to end the fight, but the player who performs best during the game is given the glory of being the one to land the killing blow.

Beyond the notoriety of being the one who gets to stab something big in the face, the most valuable player of the match is also rewarded with bonuses based on his or her performance. A persistent multiplayer mode will allow you to level up your Troy or Spartan soldier and give you access to a range of perks, weapons, and abilities. A range of spoils will be delivered from the gods, with a mixture of found items and unlocks from your own talent trees. Perks will be character specific and can be activated either in combat by achieving a particular goal, such as reaching a designated number of kills, or more passively by giving you increased stats from the outset of a match.

While the development team is remaining tight-lipped on any other game modes for the moment, they did confirm that not all types will be based around four-versus-four battles. A range of objectives and smaller maps will also be available to accommodate a range of group sizes.

What is clear is that God of War: Ascension looks to be taking a page out of the book of fellow Sony franchise Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception. The latter set the goal of bringing the scale and urgency of its single-player, cinematic-driven moments to multiplayer, and GOW: Ascension is following suit. But the question remains: Is multiplayer really the feature God of War fans have been calling for? Stay tuned for more details ahead of the game's 2013 release date.

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Discussion

237 comments
snin
snin

I hope this time the finish animations will be different according to the type of weapon that Kratos use. In God of War 3, all finish were performed by the Blades of Exile. You can use for example the powerful Nemesis Cestus to fight against your enemies but the final blow is always done by the blades.

I worried about the Aphrodite chamber scene too. For me, Sony must stop definitely with this joke. They must respect players. We aren't perverts, we are good guys. Thanks!

Daniel Linkletter
Daniel Linkletter

Ninja Gaiden 3 all over again. Im going to cancel my pre order.

Richard Foster
Richard Foster

sounds fun, hopefully they auto connect with players like modern warfare, portal 2 is fun but co-op is hard to find anyone to play with no auto connect.

Rafael Yanez Sierra
Rafael Yanez Sierra

I'm guessing it's gonna have that Gauntlet Legends sort of feel to it. Having 4 people with you, such as the melee, range, healer and tank. This could be a yay or nay of a game, but GOW as never failed as a game, ever!

Mohammed Sahib
Mohammed Sahib

This is the effect of PS3 jailbreak, the developer/publisher just want to make ppl buy the game instead of pirating it

Amro Sameh
Amro Sameh

God of war having multiplayer is like zombies mode in battlefield 3!!

Nathan Hughes
Nathan Hughes

Usually against multiplayer in single player games but this could be refreshing from the usual shooter genre

Bob Rea
Bob Rea

Stop creaking out, people. It will still have single player. After 3 games don't you have faith in Santa Monica Studios?

Luis Gil
Luis Gil

Cool :) if it has some character customization

KENYANGAMER
KENYANGAMER

"You dare defy the God Of War?!!!..."

Wasp_21
Wasp_21

Oh Jaysus. Why do game developers continue to cok things up. Playing Kratos is single players effort. You become Kratos. You become his solitude. Now with Multiplayer! FFS!!! Lets hope Apple comes up with a decent console, cause Sony is just stuffing the games up now.

DespVand
DespVand

This game franchise is fun, entertaining but it has NOTHING to do with either Greece or Greek mythology... it is entirely made up except of some sporadic names and location names...

warhawk-geeby
warhawk-geeby

They totally just cut the cyclops face to bits :|

sambucca666
sambucca666

As long as the single player experience isn't watered down or shortened (COD) and remains the obvious focus(ACB/R) I'm cool with it, even though I never play MP.

PS3BigFan
PS3BigFan

@Bowser05 The multiplayer in AC: R didn't really effect the singleplayer but it's still a lot shorter than AC 2 which had no MP. I'm not against MP as long as it doesn't effect the SP but I'm just afraid that the MP in GoW: A might hurt the epic SP. Any way I'll stay optimistic for an epic SP.

Bhargav_pvs
Bhargav_pvs

God of War as always..... Nice to hear about multiplayer.

Gothic_symphony
Gothic_symphony

like always the graphics and gameplay look top notch..... just hope it does not disappoint....

phantom_blade66
phantom_blade66

Intriguing, but still way too early to tell. And really, this many god of war games and you misspell it as"Aeries"....come on

Ice-Cube
Ice-Cube

Damn I'd hate to be that cyclops, outstanding job on the graphic content. Looking forward to this Multiplayer component but regardless though, GOW should remain a heavy single player story based game. Let's hope the MP doesn't hurt that. :)

roarer90
roarer90

exclusive to PS3 of yeahhh

moleman988
moleman988

I think it looks good. Just hope they don't orientate around it too much making single player naff.

altair1321
altair1321

I'm a bit upset now that this is going multiplayer. In my opinion I think multiplayer ruins series. Look at AC, great single player games, then multiplayer came in and they started putting out more and more games, and they kept getting worse and worse. I hope it doesn't ruin this series.

GHO5T-
GHO5T-

Not going to criticize the multiplayer until I've tried it. Looking at the videos of the MP gameplay, it looks pretty sick. Hope they bring a beta out.

blue_francis14
blue_francis14

I am a fan of GOW and I don't mind it having a mp component. I just hope it doesn't suck. At least they are trying to milk the fans in a better way than the One Day DLC or the the DLC is already in the disc DLC or the true ending for the $60 game is coming up on a DLC. So, don't rage about this having MP. Be thankful that they are not pulling an EA/Capcom crap on us.

Bowser05
Bowser05

@PS3BigFan Let me ask you this then, the games that you have played that are mainly single-player games...did you feel like the game lost any of its charm because they chose to make a mediocre/good multiplayer as well? Because frankly speaking I loved the SP experience in both the games you mentioned and the multiplayer was fun too. A company doesn't need to divert from it's main resources to make the multiplayer. If they are distributing their resources properly this could work beautifully. Of course there is also the chance of what you fear as well. We'll just have to wait and see. I still remain cautiously optimistic so far.

X-7
X-7

Thius actually sounds pretty cool. I had always wanted a mp hackNslash.

Darnasian
Darnasian

@supertom221 How many times do I have to repeat myself? I'm not talking about cross platform games and even though BF3 has dedicated servers you do realise on PC you can get a full time server forever for free at a no cost? Now that you mention Killzone and Halo...you miss the point! Besides the great MP they also have an outstanding SP...so stop judging games only over MP when they also have great SP... Take BF3 for example...it has the biggest BS campaign ever and it has -100%...i said minus not even 0...-100% replay value. This is a true fact and that is MP isn't a thing that lasts... If I'm looking for a more SP oriented game it's my choice and as far as I'm concerned I expect my games to be 100% playable in offline mode if I don't feel like ruining my games because of some noob kids that rage because you've beaten them at score.

NOscope42
NOscope42

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

UrMajestysBlade
UrMajestysBlade

I am a little disappointed that the developers are deciding to go the way of the multi-player. I think the true spirit and heart of the franchise is Kratos blindly rampaging through his journey to his ultimate demise because of his single-minded quest for revenge. But from what I did see and hear there seems to be something developing that might do justice to the series. I have a good feeling this might be better than I am expecting because of the limitless possibilities that can be explored in the realm of mythology. But as always I will hold back and wait to express a real opinion after the game is in my hands. P.S. I will miss Kratos (and the Gods) when Sony/Santa Monica puts this franchise to rest. But until then..... I AM SPILLING BLOOD!

BlackLense
BlackLense

OK - for mini game. NO - for single player.

Shengy89
Shengy89

@PumpkinBoogie "I just hope they keep it as a secondary focus that doesn't screw with the single player experience." This is exactly why I don't approve of multiplayer in games focused on single player. We can only hope now...

supertom221
supertom221

@Darnasian Allright, You want to talk about exclusive games, well then talk exclusive. The God of War franchise is a SP hack 'n' slash. Co-Op will never be it's main sellpoint, and if it has local play then it doesn't matter. Killzone 3 is F2P now, and HALO 3 still has an active community, as well as Killzone 2. Both are shooters with a focus on MP, and both are still alive. The games are over 3 years old, they more than replayed their value. These are not games to be kept for anything other than collection. So yeah, You jack those in 10 years from now, it's likely Online is dead. You bought them when they weren't, so you got your money's worth. Basically, your claim is that a game isn't worth it if you can't load it up 10 years from now and still get that exact great experience you had before. That is a ridiculous idea and you'll find it lacknig for SP games too, regardless of how playable they are. Also PS3 now has dedicated servers for BF3 at a cost. You were saying?

PayneKiller
PayneKiller

A lot of the love behind God of War tho is that you're this one man Spartan army just on a mission to brutally murder all gods and their minions that dare stand against you.. I may have pondered the mechanics behind how GoW could work in multiplayer, and that was the reason I decided in my mind against it, Kratos needs no help! But I suppose the team effort can add an extra dimension to the series. Just the hope as usual that the story mode remains intact.

PayneKiller
PayneKiller

You know.. I'm not even going to fight it. God of War always gives me an exciting adventure, and multiplayer would only give me that much more out of the game even witht he slim possibility I don't like it. I didn't really welcome it with Assassin's Creed, but I wont object to this. I look forward to seeing how it works.

Darnasian
Darnasian

@supertom221 If you want additional info when I'm playing on PC I don't give a sh*t about achievements and trophies :D But while I'm playing on my PS3 I'm expecting the game to be 100% playable in offline and the online just to add value to the game not o take over... Again I don't care on PC I'm playing just for fun but I'm expecting something else on my PS3.

Darnasian
Darnasian

@supertom221 I don't think you'll be able to play GoW Ascension on your PC... This is one thing...the second is that Demon Souls is 100% platinisable offline without any MP and I've seen enough players completing it 100% in offline mode to know this is the way MP should be included... Dude we are talking about console games here just console games not PC and if you want to put it like that exclusive console games...you can't build servers for that...

supertom221
supertom221

@Darnasian "that's why Atlus are one hell of a great developer " AHAHAH, OH, OOH THAT'S RICH! So I guess you didn't hear Atlus is shutting down Demon Souls' online servers? A game that NEEDS it online. It's community was very well alive too. Where's your awesomeness Atlus?? The platform doesn't matter, the BF2 servers are hosted by EA. And even if it did, then what's the problem? Get it for PC. Everyone has a PC? If your PC can't take the heat, play it on lower settings. One of these days you ought to change a PC, right? By then you will be able to maximize this game's power, and if you don't because you stopped caring about this game, then what difference will it make if the servers are shut down or not? No, trophies were never a good reason, they were only a plus, an achievement to add replay value to a game. They are never the real goal and should not be a factor. It's fun when you get them but it's not an excuse.

p00njuby
p00njuby

you guys are all so stupid, how could you not want this!!!!!! as iv played through every single one of them a Billion times iv wanted to see how they would handle co-op or even multiplayer! mainly because i would love to be able to kill huge monsters like that with a friend beside me to enjoy the beautiful brutality of God of War!!! To add more to this who is honestly crazy enough to say that you do not want to beat someone else up online the way my main man Kratos does!! Your All Crazy!!! By the Way God Of War is the greatest game series ever and Dont hate that they are trying to get more people to enjoy it as much as all of us Do!!!!