As of September 13, 2011, the entire God of War series can be played on a single system. Thanks to the release of the God of War ORIGINS Collection, all that a gamer needs to own is a PlayStation 3 and they can experience the entire saga of Kratos to date. It has been a long journey for the God of War, and we recently got a chance to chat with some of the staff at Ready At Dawn Studios about what it took to bring the entire saga full circle and to the PlayStation 3.
Can you introduce yourself and speak a little bit about your role(s) at Ready at Dawn and on the various God of War projects?
Hi. My name is Marc Turndorf. I am the Director of Production at Ready At Dawn Studios. My role on God of War: Origins Collection was guiding the development from the initial idea through the finished product that is available in stores now.
Do you feel a sense of pressure when being tapped to take on an established series such as God of War? Does that pressure fade at all after working with the franchise for so long?
We put a lot of pressure on ourselves at Ready At Dawn to always make the best game possible. While we are honored to have the opportunity to work within such a storied franchise, it is a responsibility we do not take lightly. Most of the pressure we feel is internally amongst the talented artists, designers, and artists here at Ready At Dawn to always bring the consumer the greatest game experience possible.
Both of Ready at Dawn’s entries into the series jumped around in the series’ time line, can explain where they both in the overall timeline of the saga?
God of War: Chains of Olympus is a prequel to the first installment of the franchise, God of War, and God of War: Ghost of Sparta picks up after God of War concludes, telling the story of Kratos' ascension to power as the God of War.
Can you give us a little bit of insight on the process of converting a game, or games, which were built from the ground up for a notably less-powerful system such as the PSP to an HD platform such as the PS3? Does instituting 3D create any special challenges?
Developing God of War: Origins Collection for the PS3 was a labor of love. We wanted to be sure both fans of the PSP versions and players new to the games would be amazed at how well these titles translated to PS3. This meant adding trophy support, DualShock support, Dolby / DTS Surround Sound, and 1080P HD, as well as making sure the game ran at 60 frames per second. We then up-rezed textures, added polys to many characters/enemies in the game and re-rendered all of the cinematics. On top of all this we added stereoscopic 3D support, all of the bonus costumes found in the PSP versions and the God of War Directors Live Video, which is a roundtable discussion with all of the Game Directors from all five God of War games.
What is the biggest hurdle that you have to overcome in translating the game from a portable release to a dedicated console release? Did any of the original design decisions, which may have catered the game to a portable audience, create any issues?
There were many hurdles to overcome, mostly on the programming side, to make sure the game ran at 60 FPS. We also had to include all of the graphical bells and whistles PS3 games expect, along with adding 3D support—not always an easy task. The design decisions that created problems were decisions based on the PSP hardware such as lack of rumble support and a second analog stick. With the addition of a second stick we remapped the controls to match the other console games. For rumble we created a system that everywhere a camera shake was present in the PSP version (which essentially acted as our rumble support) we added rumbles of varying length. While both rumble and camera shakes are quite subtle they really add a lot to the player's immersion into the game.
On the other end of the spectrum, were there things that you cut back from on the original PSP releases that you were tempted to go back and add now that you had some additional power in terms of the PS3?
Very tempted. However, like every developer we only had a limited amount of time to finish God of War: Origins Collection and based on our time frame, going back and making "director's cuts" of the original PSP games was not possible.
Is there any particular reason that new gameplay features utilizing Sixaxis functionality or perhaps the PlayStation Move weren’t implemented?
No God of War game in the franchise has utilized the SIXAXIS or PlayStation Move and we followed suit for the simple reason it would feel tacked on and contrived, thus taking away from what made the gameplay great in the first place.
What do you feel makes the God of War series as influential as it has been over the past few years in the action genre?
There are many elements that make the God of War series as influential as it is. The combat system is one. Another is the enemies and boss battles are multilayered making them fun for novice and hard core players alike. And let's not forget the story is compelling and immersive. Finally, the set pieces are awe-inspiring and the attention to detail and polish makes each game shine with the best and brightest games on the market.
What is your favorite game in the God of War series and why?
While I love them all, I am most fond of God of War: Ghost of Sparta. It has my favorite end boss battle, my favorite weapon augmentation (Thera’s Bane), and I find the pacing and action to be the best in the series.
Any word on what is next on the agenda for Ready at Dawn?
While I cannot say much at the moment I can leave you with the following bullet points:
- We are working on a new IP of our own creation.
- The genre is 3rd person action/adventure.
- The game is for the home console.
We are incredibly excited about this project and hopefully we can reveal more in the not too distant future.
We would like to thank Marc Turndorf for taking the time to answer our questions and to Eric Levine at Sony for setting everything up.