It is through the game’s official website that we have the chance to learn new information about the next God of War today. A new video from the Lost Pages of Norse Myth series is presented to us and allows us to see some of the weapons that will be available to us during the adventure.
We get a glimpse of Kratos’ axe, the Leviathan, forged by dwarven brothers Brok and Sindri to restore balance to the kingdom. The shield of our bloodthirsty killer is also in the game, the latter promises us ultra-fast maneuverability while resisting the most violent blows. Finally, we have the right to a quick overview of the arc of Atreus.
Moreover, jason mcdonaldlead gameplay designer, and Jeet Shroff, lead gameplay engineer, gives us some information about game mechanics and what we can expect for the fights of this Nordic episode. They confirm that the hero’s Spartan genes are still present and that he will still be as brutal and effective in the fight scenes. But now that he has a son, he must succeed in passing on his knowledge to him without falling into extreme violence as has been the case in the past.
Kratos is no longer driven by his thirst for revenge, but by the desire to succeed in protecting his son. For this reason, he will not hesitate for a moment to unleash his violence against all those who wish to attack Atreus. To vary the gameplay, we learn that Kratos is still a robust fighter, but that his son is more related to Nordic traditions and in particular his mystical aspect. Kratos having a bad past with the gods, he does not want to get involved in magic while his son is more open on the subject and will not hesitate to use it.
The goal is to still have the brutality and ferocity of God of War combat, but give it more nuance. While in the past he would have ripped off an opponent’s arm to stab him with, in this episode he will only rip off his opponent’s limb.. Kratos will try to contain his rage instead of letting it run wild.
He uses this rage only when necessary for survival or protection, and in other cases he tries to gain control of it, creating a dynamic between narrative and combat. Understanding this balance was interesting for the development team. Bulk, our hero has a rage mode that allows him to behave like in the past, rather than being in this state of mind throughout the adventure. Even if the game will keep a good part of the mechanics of the previous opuses, it will opt for a more RPG aspect in terms of the management of our hero’s equipment.
The game being longer than its predecessors, there are more elements to find in the adventure and this is an important component of the equation thought out by the developers. For them, the key to the combat experience is giving players the choice of point of view (due to the close-up camera) and being tactical, being able to switch between bare-knuckle combat, or to use Atreus’ abilities.
With the arrival of the ax and the shield in the adventure, Cory Barlog wanted to provide an immediate Viking feel to players. But so that our character is not handicapped by carrying a large shield, he had the idea of being able to make it appear and disappear when needed. While this idea was not to everyone’s taste at first, it ended up gaining unanimous support over the course of development and is now part of the fighting style adopted by Kratos in this new episode.
From the early hours of game development, barlog wanted Atreus to have a bow to vary the gameplay vis-à-vis Kratos, who even if he can throw his axe, is above all adept at melee combat. On the other hand, Atreus has more “crazy” abilities in terms of long distance hits, and it’s a balance that works well for the game.
Atreus can freely use his abilities throughout the adventure, but it is his father who will ask him to use his most powerful blows through the player. It is an important part of the player’s decision making in terms of extending combos or taking down enemies. He is primarily an extension of Kratos’ arsenal in battle, and out of battle as well. Kratos needs Atreus just as much as his son needs him.
QTE phases are still there, but have been redesigned to provide more logic. From now on, each action present during cutscenes will ask you to press the button actually associated with the blow that will be made on the screen. It will therefore no longer be necessary to press buttons randomly, but to take into account the action that takes place before our eyes..
We also learn that having a camera angle closer to the character in this installment was a real challenge for the development team. From a combat point of view, the most challenging aspect was allowing players to track enemies and properly assess the battlefield. It prompted developers to rethink how they present the most devastating opponent encounters, and how they support players in terms of tracking and information. But this new view makes it possible to immerse the player even more in the action, in order to make him feel that he is at the heart of the combat which takes place.
This new camera will also encourage us to opt for a strategic positioning during the combat phases, since it does not allow us to see what is happening behind our backs.. This new element to take into account allows us to give more depth to the various fights that we will have to fight. In the same spirit, the game now gives us the possibility to target different parts of the body of our opponents and therefore we can target the head, the legs or certain parts when they light up.
Finally, we learn that camera cuts should no longer be part of the game and that the combat, QTE and exploration phases will be linked together perfectly in order to give a more cinematic experience to the adventure that takes place on our screens.