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God of War: Ascension is a third person action-adventure video game being developed by SCE Santa Monica Studio and to be published by Sony Computer Entertainment (SCE). The game is scheduled to be released on March 12, 2013 for the PlayStation 3 (PS3) video game console and will be the seventh installment in the God of War series and a prequel to the entire series. It will be the first installment in the series to feature multiplayer, be developed with Stereoscopic 3D, feature a revamped combat and weapon system, and new gameplay mechanics. A multiplayer beta began on December 12, 2012.
Loosely based on Greek mythology, the game will be set in Ancient Greece with the player controlling the protagonist Kratos. Kratos attempts to sever ties with the God of War Ares—who tricked Kratos into murdering his wife and child—by defeating the three Furies. God of War: Ascension will chronologically be the first chapter in the series, which focuses on vengeance as its central theme.
The game will offer a multiplayer feature for up to eight players, with a small story element. Players will be either on two teams of four, or alone, and will try to take control of a map in order to earn rewards from the gods, although the players must first sell their champion's soul to one of four deities: Ares, Hades, Zeus, or Poseidon. Each god offers a unique combat play-style and abilities in battle. Players will unlock special magic abilities, new and upgraded armors and weapons, relics, and other treasures as players earn XP to level up their Warrior. The attack-style of the god players align with is critical to their warriors path.
The signature multiplayer mode is Team Favor of the Gods. In this mode, two teams of four try to accumulate a target amount of points in order to claim victory. Points, known as Favor, are earned by kills and other methods, such as collecting treasures. When players are not on the offensive, they may help their team earn points by capturing altars, collecting red orbs from chests, and setting traps for opposing players. Every multiplayer level map features several special power-ups, such as the Boots of Hermes for accelerated speed, providing players with a brief advantage. There is also a regular Favor of the Gods mode, which is a four player match where players are not on teams. Additionally, there is a Capture the Flag mode on the larger maps. A fourth mode is to be revealed.
The first demonstration featured the Team Favor of the Gods mode on the Desert of Lost Souls map. Players serve either Sparta or Troy and battle in teams for control of territory, with the Titan cyclops Polyphemus also in play and attacking the warring armies. Contested zones contain mechanical gears that control the chains binding the one-eyed giant, and after capturing multiple gears and earning a certain number of Favor points, the gods will award the winning army with the Spear of Olympus, which in turn provides the power needed to dispatch Polyphemus. The mode fluctuates from attack and defend, forcing the offensive team to hold the territory gained as they attempt to destroy Polyphemus. If the defensive team regains control of territory, Polyphemus resets to original position and the Spear is lost.
The single-player will feature a "revamped" combat and weapon system, "promptless" mini-games and new puzzles. Sony stated the game will offer "fluid, life-like characters, dynamic lighting effects, and world-changing scenarios", although the story is "a little bit shorter" than previous games.
At E3 2012, a single-player demo showcased new gameplay mechanics and combat systems. The demo revealed a revamped quick time event mini-game, which replaces some button prompts with a new prompt-less free-form system (players needing to time attacks or evasion based on enemy's actions, as opposed to an indicated button prompt). Kratos was also shown to be capable of picking up (and stealing) weapons for use against opponents (also allowing Kratos to switch weapons mid-combo), and swing opponents through the air whilst simultaneously attacking. Other new features include the ability to create shockwaves and the "Life Cycle" mechanic: allowing Kratos to freeze enemies and manipulate time for puzzle solving. Several new enemies were also featured, such as the Elephantaur and the sea beast Charybdis.