There have been a lot of
whispers around the internet over the last few weeks about the possibility of
another game in the God of War series for the PS3. Sony Santa Monica has said that
the third installment in the franchise, which came out March of last year, would
not be the last in the series. However, are the rumors that we could be playing God of
War IV by next September more hopeful than accurate? Well to help you try and
work it out for yourself we have compiled some of the rumors and speculation
that have been flying around recently to give you a better idea of what the
chances of more Kratos really are.
Who has been saying what?
Speaking to Industry Gamer in March last year Santa Monica Producer Steve Catterson
basically said a GoW sequel is on the cards at some stage, but there are also other
things the studio wants to explore: “God of War III is the end of the
trilogy. We didn't leave you on a cliffhanger but I think it's not the end of
the franchise. I'm looking forward to do something different if we can. It also
might be nice to return to the franchise if we can and bring all that knowledge
back from wherever we go. Anything's possible.” This statement was made over
a year ago and a lot might have changed in that time, but it does not really
tell us anything conclusive either way.
The most recent issue of the
print UK PlayStation magazine PSM3 has reported, via an unnamed source, that
God of War IV is indeed now in development. And more specifically that the game
is scheduled for a September 2012 release window. The article doesn’t seem to
say much more than that. No plot detail, no information about possible gamplay
tweeks. Just the fact that the game exists and that it should arrive by the end
of next year.
A keen eye at the UK based
game site Eurogamer last month spotted an ad posted on Gamasutra, that suggested Sony and Santa Monica were
searching for a senior online programmer for "designing and implementing
systems and tools to support networking needs (such as in-game communication,
client-server, match-making, leaderboards)". Eurogamer understood this to
mean that the studio were essentially looking to employ new staff to help with
online multiplayer on what was likely a new GoW game. Again mostly speculation
but it would seem likely, given current trends, that GoW IV would have some
kind of online multiplayer.
The gaming website CVG noticed that a résumé apparently appeared online referencing a "God of War
4 cinematic test". But, when questioned the animator later claimed this
has nothing to do with GoW. It’s hard to know how relevant this is. Maybe he
had just made a fan video, or maybe he really was working on GoW IV and was subsequently
made to talk his way out of leaking the games existence.
When will we know more? It is very likely that if we
are going to get a GoW IV in the near future, if true, then this year's E3 (the biggest
annual gaming expo) in June is probably where it will be offcially announced. All of
the big three console makers like to have a surprise up their sleeve to get the
gaming press excited about during their respective press conferences at the
start of the show, and a new GoW game would be worth a lot to Sony. If GoW IV is
not shown or confirmed at E3 however, then it would seem unlikely that the game
will arrive as soon as next year.
Without trying to discuss
the ending of GoW III (to avoid spoilers for anyone who still hasn’t completed
it) Santa Monica did not leave the third game on any major cliff hangers and
the majority of loose ends from the trilogies larger story about Kratos getting
revenge on the gods were tied up. But, in a scene that plays after the games
ending credits a trail of blood and the abandoned Blade of Olympus are briefly
shown. Which almost plays as a teaser to let fans know that the final fate of Kratos
is still unknown. As Greece is in complete disarray at the end of the third game it is possible Kratos will
try and bring back some order to the world in the fourth game. There is also speculation
that Kratos has a second brother. We already know from GoW III that Hercules is
Kratos’ half brother, but could there be a second sibling who is more similar
to Kratos? Maybe even a twin? Could a brother be the main focus of the next
game, or would this create too much of a risk of upsetting the fan base?
Or, could the fourth game be
a prequel? The two PSP games have managed to work well as stand alone titles
while also giving a little more history and depth to Kratos, so maybe this
could be done on the next full PS3 game.
There has also been
speculation that Santa Monica
have wanted to explore Norse mythology. This may mean they are considering a
whole new IP, or that they might feature it to some degree in GoW IV.
Also, there was an interesting
unlock-able video included in the first God of War game entitled “The Fate of
the Titan” which was accessible when you completed the original PS2 game on the
hardest level. The video (you can watch it here) suggests Cronos’ temple is
discovered in modern times and that it “still holds many dangers”. So the video
essentially hints at a GoW game set in modern times. But, anyone who has played
through GoW III will know that Santa Monica made some plot changes since this
video was made in 2005, and that it probably just represented an alternative
plot idea they were toying with before GoW II and III were made. Still, the
idea of a GoW game set in modern times would make for an interesting, if
slightly out of place, experience.
So what are the chances of God of War IV next year,
It’s hard to say. All the
information we have seen so far is almost all just speculation based on what unnamed
sources have suggested, absolutely nothing has been made official. That said GoW
is without doubt one of Sony’s highest profile exclusives and it would seem
like a strange choice for them to let the series die when it is still so
popular. So we will leave it up to
you to decide how likely it really is. But, the chances are that if God of War
IV is imminent then we will know a lot more after E3.