God of War and Kratos are coming to PlayStation 4 and they’re set to make a very big impression at this year’s E3 conference.
After being revealed at Sony’s press conference at the show last year, mammoth posters appearing across LA this year suggest not-so-subtly to us that Sony is preparing to give this PS4 exclusive an even bigger push this year.
Not only will the game feature in Sony’s sure-to-be blockbuster-heavy press conference, it’s also getting its own hour long presentation at E3 Coliseum.
Cut to the chase
- What is it? Kratos returns in the fourth game in the PS4-exclusive God of War franchise
- When can I play it? Some time in late 2017 to early 2018 seems most likely
- What can I play it on? PlayStation 4
We only have one trailer so far but it's an impressive 10 minute gameplay reveal from E3 2016.
This was our first look at how the new game will look and play and it revealed some significant changes are coming to the series. You can watch it for yourself below:
No solid release date for God of War has been set just yet, but late 2017 to early 2018 seems like a safe (if slightly optimistic) bet. Initially Amazon US had the game listed as having a release date of December 29 2017 while across the web a German retailer had it listed for January 18 2018 but neither of these dates has been confirmed by Sony.
The fact that there’s being such a big advertising push this year suggests that the release isn’t too far off and we imagine we’ll get a solid date at E3 this year.
What we know so far
Story and setting
At E3 2016, Sony treated its audience to a 10 minute gameplay trailer for God of War. This trailer showed that rather than returning to mythological Greece, this time we’d be whisked off to a mythological Norse setting with lots of snow-covered woodland to explore.
The trailer surprised many by showing an older Kratos teaching his son (now known to be called Atreus) how to fight.
In a post-conference interview Sony Santa Monica creative director Cory Barlog confirmed that the game would take place many years after the events of God of War 3 and that players would see the usually angry and vengeance-driven Kratos take a more stern and controlled approach.
This new mentor Kratos is likely to be much more conducive to storytelling. Though he’ll still get very angry and will still be focused on violently killing things (Spartan Rage is still a feature, for example), this new game will concentrate slightly more on crafting a satisfying narrative.
Sony’s Jim Ryan revealed this is partly a result of the series’ poor sales figures in European territories:
“It’s a franchise that has historically acutely underperformed in Europe […]. Hack and slash games tend to not do so well in Europe, so the narrative this time around will make a big difference. European gamers love narrative games. And Singstar.“
Ryan stopped short of confirming what form the game's karaoke mini-game will take, but we're sure it's in there somewhere.
According to Barlog, the biggest change this time around will be seen in the gameplay which has been completely redone.
”The main thing we're doing is we're reimagining the gameplay, kind of tearing it down, rebuilding it from scratch, and continuing the storyline,“ Barlog said. ”We're carrying the mythology we've created with God of War and bringing it into Norse mythology.“
We got a sense of how gameplay would be different from the E3 gameplay trailer which showed us a much tighter third person camera perspective, which is much different from the fixed, distant angles we’ve grown used to over the course of the series.
Barlog said this new perspective was borne of a desire to create “a much more intimate experience, a much more up close, and a much more player-controlled experience, so the camera really is a mechanic that we’re leaning into heavily for everything in the game.”
He was quick to note that the game’s “pick-up-and-play accessibility” would still be there, but players would have a “new take” on the game.
The more close-up camera will apparently be used to more effectively use the game's environment to tell its story as it’ll be much easier for players to pick up on smaller details.
Berlog also said that though the game’s world wasn't entirely linear, it wasn’t an open-world game.
In this new game, Kratos’ weapon of choice is an axe which can be used to hack and slash or use as a projectile. It's a far cry from the axes and chains that Kratos used across the first three games, but it should provide a much needed change for the series.
Combat moves will be performed using the trigger buttons and Kratos will also be able to make use of some elemental magic.
As you’d hope, Spartan Rage makes a return here and will be particularly useful against larger foes.
Upgradable abilities will still appear, though this time upgrades will be achieved through an XP-based system where exploration and using Kratos’ skills will play a big part.
As far as Kratos’ son Atreus is concerned, he won’t be playable. He will, however, accompany his father through the game and fight alongside him. A button on the Dualshock controller has been dedicated to Atreus which will allow players to direct him, interact with him and advance his skills.
Mythological monsters will indeed return in this new God of War in the form of Draugr, trolls, and maybe, but not definitely, (we saw one flying around at least) dragons. Plus plenty more creatures that are yet to be revealed.
It’s been confirmed that unlike God of War Ascension on PS3, this PS4 God of War won’t feature any kind of multiplayer