Updated: God of War now has an official release date: April 20. The game will come in three versions – Collector's Edition, Limited Edition and Digital Deluxe Edition – and it's possible to pre-order now.
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God of War and Kratos are coming to PlayStation 4 in what looks set to be a reboot for the series. This time around, Kratos is moving away from Greek mythology to delve into the Norse world and he's bringing along his son for the ride.
When it comes out in early 2018, we're expecting this to be a God of War that has more of a focus on narrative but still boasting a healthy amount of hack and slash Deicide.
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? April 20 2018
- What can I play it on? PlayStation 4
Sony used its keynote during E3 2017 to show off a second trailer for the upcoming game which shows off more of its axe-based combat as well as portions of a mission involving travel in a small rowing boat. You can check it out below.
Before E3 this year we only had one, 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:
Sony has confirmed that God of War will be released on April 20 2018.
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.
The system has essentially been overhauled as the team aimed to "leave behind" the classic system and "contextualize” it in order to make something that's a little more fun.
This time around, then, the game will feature a dwarven duo called Brokk and Syndri. This pair, responsible for the creation of Thor's hammer, will be responsible for upgrading Kratos through the game. Barlog said they will be there to help you upgrade "as well as develop your combat perspective for the two main characters."
Interestingly, Brokk and Syndri will have their own story that revolves around their being locked in a family feud and not having spoken for 50 years. As the game progresses, players will learn more about them and could potentially impact their story arc which is a sign of just how seriously the developers are taking their commitment to creating a more involving narrative.
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.
According to Shroff, Atreus will "aid his father in many ways" throughout their journey. Rather than limiting their relationship to the game's narrative Kratos' son will become another thing the player can use when in combat.
"In gameplay, Atreus plays a key role in autonomously aiding and complementing Kratos while navigating through this foreign land as well as being an extension to his arsenal in combat."
He won't only be useful as a physical combat aid, though, as players will also be able to "use a face button to have Atreus translate runes, solve puzzles" as well as "use his full depth in battle from dividing the field to tag teaming and following up on enemies.” According to Shroff it'll be up to the player whether they use Kratos' son more for strategy or more directly to enhance combat combos.
Tapping into Atreus' magic does seem, however, like it will be key to solving puzzles, unlocking missions and finding out more about his back story.
Gods will, of course, return but the Norse versions will be somewhat different to the Greek ones we've seen previously. While Greek gods were happy to play as politicians and manipulate humanity from afar, Norse gods like to get a little more directly involved. How that will play out we're not sure but we're excited to find out.
Mythological monsters will also 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.
It’s been confirmed that unlike God of War Ascension on PS3, this PS4 God of War won’t feature any kind of multiplayer
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