Interview: God of War Ascension Lead Game Designer Mark Simon Talks Multiplayer, Killing Gods And More

Interview: God of War Ascension Lead Game Designer Mark Simon Talks Multiplayer, Killing Gods And More
Can you speak on some of the co-op tag-team fighting? Even in the demo, we saw things we'd never seen before from GoW.
I'll tip my cap to the combat guys. Vincent and J (Jason McDonald, Lead Combat and Weapons Designer) are hardcore Street Fighter players and competitive fighters. It's one thing to take our single player campaign and recycle it, but does anyone really want to play that? We're already been there. What’s' cool about playing the single-player game through with Kratos is that every turn you go around there is something new. If you weren't doing that in co-op then why would we do it?

One of the things that we as a group got excited about is, when we're playing together and you launch a guy up into the air and I grab that guy out of the air and we take him down together, it felt good. When we're fighting against a creature and I hold that creature down and we can rip him in half together, that felt good. We want to do a lot of that. We're not going to do just the couple things you saw today, we're going to do a lot more of that. In the next couple months you are going to see more of that come out.

Is the engine that’s used for the multi-player modded out from the single-player or is it completely new?
We took the GoW engine and we made it work across the network. When we first started this deal we were prototyping stuff out and the designers were hacking shit like crazy. We scripted things and the programmers were like, "what the hell are you guys doing?" We were doing all kinds of shit that was not network safe.

What we've realized now is we gotta take a lot of things we were hacking and set it up now so that it works properly across the network. We've been spending a long time taking things that we take for granted in single-player and making it work for multi-player. The programmers are doing a great job of making that happen.

You guys spoke on a tutorial that will be available before gameplay. Is there a serious learning curve or will a person who has played GoW before, be able to jump in and play?
Here is what I hope. In the next couple months when we're able to meet up again, I can hand you a controller and me and you will fight each other and I guarantee you will kick my ass. And I've played this game a lot. Not because the learning curve is really steep--actually the move system is very shallow--It’s just the amount of complexity it goes to is very deep. In terms of how to do it, it’s not hard. Just in terms of how to mix things together and read my attacks versus your attacks, that’s complex.

Also, the tutorial at the beginning of multi-player is the story. When you create your guy, you're gonna learn about the relationship between these guys and the gods and what their tie-ins are. We're going to give back stories to each character about who they are and why they're doing what they're doing. 

And this is fully integrated into a player signing on with their god and everything?
Yeah and that’s the difference between multi-player and single-player. In single, we lead you by the nose down our breadcrumb story. In Multi-player we can’t tell the story the same way but we're still going to tell a story.

Tags: god-of-war, kratos, ascension, mark-simon, lead-game-designer, interview, developers
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