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God Of War: Ascension

Sony Unveils God Of War: Ascension's Multiplayer

When news of God of War: Ascension’s existence leaked, many wondered what they’d see when Sony officially spilled the beans on the prequel. I attended a recent preview event in Hollywood for the game, and there was no shortage of chatter and predictions amongst journalists before the presentation began. Would the game take place before Kratos’ family died? If so, would he still have his trademark Blades of Chaos? What antagonists can he take down after slaying so many gods? When the presentation came to an end, we still didn’t have answers to these questions. Instead, we were shown a glimpse of the game’s new multiplayer mode.

Game director Todd Papy took to the stage to begin the demonstration, and it was clear that the team planned on teasing the crowd with some misdirection. The familiar image of Kratos’ face graced the menu screen, and the camera pulled out to reveal his body without his trademark ash-covered skin. He carried a large sword in lieu of his traditional blades, and pulled a mask down over his face. Suddenly, a cyclops burst out of a nearby door and began swinging his club wildly at Kratos. A battle ensued that resembled those of past games, with Kratos slashing at the creature’s legs while evading the swings of his club. Another masked human appeared and began fighting the Cyclops, revealing what everyone in attendance assumed to be a co-op mode. The duo teamed up to bring down the beast, with Kratos gutting him from the front while the other slashed his neck from the back.

Once the cyclops was dead, the two humans ziplined down to another battlefield. Numerous combatants swiped at each other with swords and hammers while the massive one-eyed Polyphemus (Poseidon’s son, a cyclops who was featured in Homer’s Odyssey) struggled to free himself from chains in the background of the arena. It didn’t take long to realize that what we were watching was a full-on multiplayer battle, with two teams of four eviscerating each other in this mode known as Execution – essentially a spin-off of Domination modes in other multiplayer games.

Combat was as dramatic as we’ve seen in God of War’s past, with the camera zooming in on brutal kills that split enemies from shoulder to stomach. When the character we were watching had a chance, he ran to a set of blue-tinted gears and rotated them until they turned red. After repeating this process with another set of gears, the glowing Spear of Olympus plummeted from the skies onto the battlefield. The red Spartan soldier grabbed the spear and began throwing it at the blue Trojan warriors, then worked his way towards Polyphemus in the background. On his way there, he was forced to dodge fire and spike traps that were sprung by the opposing team.

Once the Spartan reached Polyphemus (who Papy refers to as “the Megalops”), he began slashing at his giant fingernails until the beast lurched forward in pain. A Spartan soldier then leapt onto the beast’s face and slashed down across his lips, splitting his mouth in two vertically. At this point, the rest of the Spartan soldiers threw chain blades into Polyphemus’ single eye and pulled him closer to the edge of the platform they were standing on. The final image of the demo was of a Spartan soldier leaping towards the cyclops with a spear, ready to plunge it through the beast’s massive eye.

Considering the tease at the beginning of the demo, many questions were presented to Papy. While the demo began with the image of Kratos, the future God of War will not be included in multiplayer. Papy explained that he didn’t want online play to consist of a team of green Kratos’ going up against a team of yellow Kratos’, and he also didn’t want to give a single player the benefit of having control of him. “Nobody wants to be Robin, and we would have had a bunch of Robins,” said Papy.

Players will have a chance to level up their character and align themselves with a god. Your choice of worshipping Zeus, Poseidon, Ares, or Hades will determine which unlocks, perks, and special abilities your character gains. As you progress through the ranks, you gain access to more abilities and items, including customized armor sets. Papy explains that there won’t be any female combatants in the game, as they “do not look pretty” with the traditional combat equipment that multiplayer characters will be adorned with.

Sony Santa Monica is planning on featuring approximately seven multiplayer maps, with five large, unique environments (such as the Polyphemus stage we saw) and two smaller arenas. Split-screen support and drop-in/drop-out play is not included, and the player will be able to slightly alter the mostly fixed camera. The team says they’re more concerned with quality than quantity, so they want to keep the number of modes limited so as not to segregate the player base.

This first look at Ascension was intriguing, but there was a sense of disappointment in the crowd after they realized that we wouldn’t be learning anything about the single-player portion of the game (although Papy did confirm that the game will include one). Bringing multiplayer modes into a third-person action game presents different challenges than FPS titles, which was made more than apparent in the awful online play of Ninja Gaiden 3. On the other hand, Sony has always ensured that this franchise meets a high bar of quality, and we have to imagine it expects the same from multiplayer. Gauging the depth and fun factor of Execution after one brief demo is difficult, but it left us eager to learn more about God of War’s multiplayer debut.

  • This sounds f-in' awesome. I don't really like SP previews since I want to experience the SP unspoiled.

  • MP is God of War is a stupid idea; Look at MP in Mass Effect 3: pointless.
  • Graphics are gorgeous beyond belief
  • I am usually skeptical of multiplayer in games like this. They seem to be putting a lot of energy into it so we'll see how it turns out I guess.


  • No. Also I do not appreciate the lack of girl characters because "they don't look pretty"
  • It would be cool to see a campaign that is co-op. Quality over quantity, I agree, so 7 maps is ok. I would like more details on the story of Kratos. I like the new concept, but think it's risky. It is going to be weird not having Kratos in multiplayer, too.

  • Great!!! multiplayer means less focus on the story
  • That is one angry looking Cyclops.

    The customization sounds really cool.

  • I really like the idea of getting to level up our own characters and ally ourselves with different gods in order to get different perks and abilities. I just hope there's also gonna be a cooperative option as well, I was a bit hopeful after reading the part about Kratos and another person teaming up to take down the first cyclops but the quick transition into a competitive environment quickly revealed my hopes were for naught. The part about limiting the number of modes so as not to "segregate the community" is a toss-up for me. It could either mean they'll include only one or two co-op and competitive modes, or that they're just gonna say "screw it" to co-op and opt instead for 3-4 different competitive modes. I'll be extremely saddened if it ends up being the latter.
  • i cannot wait.

  • I love the God of War series. The second i saw "multiplayer in Gow" i thought to myself,"REALLY?!" Then i thought, if its like mass effect 3's multiplayer, with wave after wave after wave of men,then this could possibly work!  

  • As a hardcore fan of the "Percy Jackson and the Olympians" book series, I will be aligning myself with Poseidon!  

  • Maybe they can pull this off? Hope this game rocks.

  • Papy explains that there won’t be any female combatants in the game, as they “do not look pretty” with the traditional combat equipment that multiplayer characters will be adorned with.


  • A few years ago, I thought multiplayer would be horrible in games like Assassins creed, GoW, Uncharted... but now I think every game can have some form of multiplayer, as long as it is specifically made for that game in mind.

    I definitely would hate if every game just tacked on deathmatch to the series, but unique multiplayer experiences for every series can be awesome if they actually develop it. Knowing Santa Monica studios, I think this multiplayer will be a ton of fun.

  • Any reason why they are announcing multiplayer first?
  • This sounds like a bad idea,as if God of Wars combat isn't already button mashy enough? What's the point of making a multiplayer feature if the game barely takes any skill?

    You know what,they are probably doing this because you could beat God of War 3 in like 4 hours.......tack on some silly multiplayer so people will keep coming back! Horrible idea.
  • 2nd paragraph 1st sentence, "misdirection" dont forget we still havent seen the final product, and although this game seems different from the previous ones i bet we will still get the same GoW experience while also getting some new gameplay.
  • An intriguing turn for the series. Being a devoted follower of PSM3 mag, who have called for a new GOW with multiplayer due to unnamed but reliable souces, this is not quite a shock, but it seems they have some interesting ideas like the huge set piece battles and aligning with a God. I wonder if your character's look will change depending on your allegiance.

    But I have to argue with their ridiculous views on needing 'pretty' female characters. There is nothing wrong with spiky, rough looking armour on women, I think enough of us can say that we actually like seeing a wicked set of equipment on a cool girl. Why does a woman have to look 'pretty' in a rough and supposedly mature game world? Why can't we have some warrior women with Victoria's Secret style athletic bodies cleaving cyclopses and conquering giant deities? The argument of wanting period authentic warfare is quite obsolete in multiplayer, as your multiplayer avatar is supposed to be a form of personal expression with both cosmetic and functional customization, and there is no story or even dialogue to get wrapped up in to support this historical authenticity. Oh well, I suppose we shouldn't expect much from the series with the sex minigame.
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