Even if God of War: Ascension may be lacking a ’4,’ this return to Kratos is one to be anticipated by fans. With a new trailer set to be unveiled on February 1st, the developers at Sony Santa Monica have provided yet another look behind the scenes at the development that goes into designing each element of a God of War adventure.
This particular developer video – titled “The Manticore Takes Flight” – follows the titular mythological beast from concept to fully-functioning digital character. The amount of time and attention that goes into creating the man-eating scorpion-lion-bat-man may surprise you, but either way, promises big things for Ascension where character design is concerned.
Previously seen in the Ascension story trailer, there’s no question that the Manticore makes an impression. With the body of a lion, the tail of a scorpion, the arms of a man, jaws of a shark and wings of a bat, the developers have designed an incarnation of the ancient mythological creature that is perfectly at home in the God of War universe. In case that was in doubt, the Manticore also shoots fireballs.
At this point in the series, the average gamer might assume that the development team has the science of enemy design down to a relatively simple formula (a batch of eight-limbed Furies? No problem!), but that’s clearly not the case. Efficiency is crucial, but with each new enemy comes new challenges and fight mechanics – if you’re doing it right. According to Lead Character Artist Patrick Murphy, it’s only now that the team has gotten confident enough to start experimenting, meaning the creatures players will encounter in Ascension may be the most impressive and memorable to date.
From the painstaking detail put into every single scale of scorpion shell (which most players will overlook) to the hinging of each tail section, the Manticore is obviously being built to draw attention when it appears in Delphi. The concept artwork shown so far promises environments and battle arenas that are just as lovingly crafted, so those worrying that the core experience would suffer due to a shift in creative leadership need not fret once the Manticore fight begins.
Doing away with on-screen button prompts to increase immersion when fighting the winged beast, the developers are clearly not going to be jogging to the finish line now that the brand is so well-established. With Senior Animator Michael Carr calling the Manticore the most complex animation rig aside from God of War 3‘s Poseidon fight, the bar is being set fairly high. And if that’s the amount of complexity being utilized for a mini-boss, then our hopes are high for the larger boss stages.
What do you think of the changes coming to the standard boss-fight formula hinted at in the developer video? Is the development team right to keep changing things up, or is enemy design secondary to gameplay mechanics for you? Share your thoughts in the comments.
God of War: Ascension releases March 12, 2013 for the PS3.
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