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God of War: Ascension Will Humanize Kratos

| 9 Oct 2012 16:12
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A lead designer feels that Kratos has gotten a bit monstrous and overpowered of late.

If you've played the God of War series, you've been able to see the progression - not necessarily evolution - of its lead character. Kratos, the Spartan general demigod, spent three games transitioning from a brutal, vengeful man with a haunting past to an almost caricatured unending fountain of rage. While Mark Simon, lead designer for the next God of War installment, Ascension, doesn't necessarily agree with this assessment, he's heard the fan outcry, and believes that it's time to bring some balance back to the character.

Simon explains that while Kratos has always been a merciless, selfish individual, he's had a bit of a valiant side as well. "[In the original God of War, Kratos] was running towards the town square when all the creatures were chasing all the people away ... I think that gives you a different impression of Kratos ... It might be to his own ends, but he's doing something heroic." Over the next two games Simon admits that Kratos had become a bit more one-dimensional, even becoming something of a "monster." In Ascension, though, players should expect a Kratos more in-line with the character's original incarnation. "[In] this game, we don't want him to feel like a monster. We want him to feel like he's more heroic, and what he's doing is more heroic, and something you can relate to."

While Simon stands by the idea that God of War's combat should be accessible and fun, he also believes that keeping Kratos's relative power in check will serve the narrative of the new game well. "In order to have conflict, you need to have another end, so you need to have the ebb and flow where you have to play defense a bit in order to feel like you need to overcome something that's more powerful." Simon hopes that the player's triumphs will ultimately be more satisfying if Kratos has to work for them a bit.

Kratos has never been the most down-to-earth character, and it's unlikely that he will suddenly become relatable and compassionate when Ascension comes around. Still, Kratos's characterization was one of the strongest points in the first God of War, so any attempt to recapture it should serve the story well.

Source: Gamasutra

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