Sony opened its E3 2016 conference in spectacular fashion, complete with a full-sized orchestra conducted by Bear McCreary playing an incredibly cinematic song. It was unfamiliar though, but it certainly felt God of War-y. When the orchestra finished, the curtains opened to reveal a boy dressed in furs walking into a cabin. And then – Kratos’ familiar voice echos out of the shadows, and he steps forward. Kratos is back in what is simply , in an all new setting and sporting a full beard.
Kratos’ chained Blades of Chaos are gone – and so is the fixed camera. This new God of War seems to drop the over-the-top combo-based gameplay for a shoulder camera and more deliberate combat. The young boy is Kratos’ son, and he follows him through a snowy forest, teaching him how to track and hunt a deer. The tone feels much more somber and regretful, as Kratos’ rage is replaced with a stern, fatherly touch.
As the two trek through the forest, they’re beset by smaller monsters, and eventually a large horned beast. Kratos uses a glowing axe to cut through his enemies as well as a magic power which can freeze them in a block of ice. Attacking seems less frenetic, but it is now doubt just as brutal – and that’s compounded by the fact that your son is right there, watching you, wanting to help but feeling unable to do so.
After felling the mighty beasts, Kratos helps his son take out a deer with a bow and arrow (a brief Archery +50 appearing on screen – perhaps a leveling system of some kind?), and Kratos leads his son toward the deer to finish it off. His son isn’t able to, so Kratos takes his hand and pushes the knife in with him. It’s a surprisingly touching moment – one that shows that this new God of War is going for a much more mature tone than its blood-and-boobs predecessors.
And then the camera pulls back to show a land filled with dragons hovering overhead. I have no idea what’s in store for this upcoming God of War game, but consider me excited.