Following the announcement of God of War: Ascension multiplayer at the beginning of the week, reactions have been mixed to say the least – with some players enthusiastically embracing the idea of Spartan co-op mayhem and others remaining downright frustrated by the (arguably) unnecessary addition.
By now, the argument that development time and resources would have been better spent adding more single player content should be familiar to anyone who followed the Mass Effect 3 multiplayer controversy; however, as more and more games attempt to add replay value through co-op and competitive online offerings – there is something to be said for unique multiplayer modes (even if they are still, at their core, less essential than the single player experience). A controversial claim for sure but, nonetheless, a claim that is gaining support from a number of fan-favorite developers, including God of War creator, David Jaffe, who is also responsible for developing some unique multiplayer offerings himself (including Twisted Metal and Calling All Cars).
Speaking to IGN about the God of War: Ascension multiplayer reveal, Jaffe said:
“I think it looks cool. It looks like another great, impeccably executed Sony Santa Monica game [...] I think that anger is well deserved for people who have felt that way for certain games, but I think so far — you know what I was Tweeting about was — Sony Santa Monica, and certainly that team, really hasn’t done anything ever to let people down as game developers [...] If it turns out to be the case that the single player is watered down because of it, then I think they have some justification. But I don’t see any evidence of that, and I don’t see evidence of that based on the team they are.”
It’s true that we have seen some singe player titles that suffered as a result of shoe-horned multiplayer add-ons but as Jaffe asserts, while God of War 3 wasn’t a flawless title (read our God of War 3 review), there’s no doubt that Sony Santa Monica has a strong track record of success – even if they haven’t dabbled with multiplayer in the God of War universe before.
Additionally, while we still don’t know everything that God of War: Ascension has to offer multiplayers, the early co-op footage definitely presented the game as a mix of enjoyable God of War style combat (and cinematic events) paired with traditional objective-based gameplay modes. Which, at least out the gate, could prove to be a fun (albeit brainless) combination. That said, as we’ve previously suggested, Sony Santa Monica may have a difficult time keeping the majority of Ascension gamers returning day after day – once the initial appeal wears off.
Interestingly, multiplayer was also on Jaffe’s radar, back when he was still involved with the franchise (through God of War 2) – though his idea was centered on co-op adventuring with Kratos (a concept that had been rumored on more than one occasion):
“There were moments where I was being a total idiot, and it was a Red Sonja version of Kratos [...] It was kind of like a hyper-violent, screwball comedy where they hated each other but they had to work together – which is totally stupid.”
“Stupid” because Jaffe had always considered Kratos to be a one man wrecking ball – with no need (or want) for a partner. The concept does sound pretty thin – especially considering Kratos is mostly an unlikable jerk, despite his popularity, making it hard to imagine the God of War (as a character) tolerating another onscreen character for more than a couple of seconds.
Follow me on Twitter @benkendrick for further updates on God of War: Ascension as well as other movie, TV, and gaming news.