How God of War: Ascension adapts single player combat into multiplayer gaming

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Release Date: 05/12/2012

God of War: Ascension, the next entry in SONY's blood-soaked mythological saga, introduces multiplayer to the series for the first time, and this has presented quite a challenge for the Santa Monica studio developing the game.

Balancing the need to keep multiple players on screen at once, while ensuring all players can see what they're doing, has required some pretty big changes to the level design. "The main drive of it is the thrill of the competition over the glory of the kill," explains Senior Combat Designer Alex Sulman in the developer's latest video diary. "It's a custom arena designed to really accentuate the combat," he says while showing off a level in which players battle each other while Polyphemus, a giant cyclops, rages in the background. "We've been working really hard on what spaces work well for combat. Wide open spaces don't work. Small compact spaces work, but only if you have a limited number of people. All of that has taken a lot of work."

Balancing the spectacle that God of War fans will expect with the needs of multiple players has also required a rethink where cameras are concerned. "Evolving the camera systems so they could handle multiplayer gameplay was a very large challenge," says Stephen Peterson, Senior Camera Designer. "It was a fun challenge too. We knew right off the bat what we needed the camera system to do. We need to make the cameras more unified, more procedural, so everyone has the same fair view." He shows a wireframe build of just one corner of the Polyphemus stage, with dozens of camera points that the game automatically chooses between based on what's happening on-screen.

God of War: Ascension will be released exclusively for PlayStation 3 next March.

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