BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. – The gods must be crazy. Why else would they continue tormenting Kratos, a bald warrior who is as brutal as he is well-armed?
Sony has unveiled the third and final chapter in its blockbuster "God of War" game franchise, a PlayStation 3 exclusive that finds its anti-hero battling chimera and cyclops on top of massive Titans.
Kratos enlists the Titans in his quest for revenge against the gods, particularly his father Zeus, who masterminded the family tragedy that drives his rage.
He's got a new set of switch-on-the-fly weapons, game director Stig Asmussen said at a preview this week. They include the Sestus, a set of lion-headed gauntlets that allow for more powerful brawling than the traditional chain blades.
Asmussen said Kratos also gains the ability to ride and control certain enemies, and to mount new attack combinations in larger-scale battles.
Sony expects to announce the game's release date at this summer's E3 video game expo in Los Angeles.
Designers are still deep in the development process, but showcased gameplay that demonstrated the sense of scale they're aiming for. Kratos interacted with Titans the size of the Sears Tower, and Asmussen promised that players would be controlling the character as he climbed the bodies of the massive creatures.
"It truly is a moving level. These guys are about the size of mountains," Asmussen said. "We're kind of moving mountains right now."
Violent gameplay — a hallmark of the series — is even gorier this time around. In the demo, Kratos killed a chimera by ripping off its horn and using that to stab the creature in the eye.
He tore the guts out of a centaur, a visual created using, as Asmussen described, "what we call zipper tech."
Finally, Kratos ripped the head off Greek god of the sun Helios and held it up. It became a flashlight of sorts, needed as the character enters a pitch-black cave.
Yes, "God of War III" will earn its 'Mature' rating, but Asmussen notes that he doesn't want the violence to veer into comedy, as Sega appears to be attempting in its upcoming black-and-white, blood-soaked Wii game "MadWorld."
"Kratos isn't going to take out a lawnmower and start carving guys up," Asmussen said. "He's all about doing things quick and it's to the point. He's ripping the guy's head off, but you know what? He needs it!"