The headline is no joke. God of War: Ascension, announced in full today after a teaser reveal a little over a week ago, will introduce competitive multiplayer to the traditional God of War single-player campaign.
Ascension multiplayer will be playable online and offline, supporting up to eight players in brutal melee battles between customizable Kratos wannabes. The first unveiled multiplayer mode features two teams fighting to slay a giant cyclops — or ‘megalops’ — chained to the map. Teams battle for control over command points which, when both are captured by one team, tug the cyclops to that team’s side. The Gods then send down the Spear of Olympus for the controlling team to use against the cyclops while the opposing team attempts to shift control of the battle in their favor.
Santa Monica Studio is definitely brave for taking this on. God of War is known as a single-player focused franchise and the core gameplay isn’t exactly what I would consider well suited to multiplayer adaptation. But the idea of building competition around the series’ epic boss encounters is a smart way to introduce multiplayer. As someone who prefers a good solo storyline in my gaming, I’m not 100% sold on the concept and have worries about yet another story-based game shoehorning in a multiplayer component where it simply isn’t needed. But, after seeing the direction it’s going, the idea doesn’t sound as out of place as I imagined it would. And as long as it doesn’t take away from the campaign, which Sony promises it won’t, it’ll be hard to complain about having it as an extra. At least they’re trying something new instead of rehashing the same old thing.
Hit up the PlayStation blog to watch the recorded multiplayer live stream from this morning.
Oh, and one other thing, back on the subject of the single-player. Some new background info has been released to set up the game’s prequel storyline, which doesn’t seem to be going very far outside of the box as I was thinking it might. Here’s the early synopsis:
Set in the realm of Greek mythology, God of War: Ascension is an epic adventure that allows players to take on the climactic role of the ex-Spartan warrior Kratos as he finds a way to break the blood oath that binds him to the god, Ares. Six months after being tricked into killing his wife and child, a younger Kratos is sentenced to a life of madness with the Furies, caged in a titan sized prison for the living damned. Fighting insanity, his will is tested to the limit as he seeks to break his bond and gain the clarity to seek revenge on Ares for his part in the death of his family. Armed with double-chained blades, Kratos must take on mythology’s darkest creatures while solving intricate puzzles throughout his merciless quest for redemption.
Last but not least, first-look screens and concepts of God of War: Ascension multiplayer (plus teaser trailer stills).