Sony Interactive Entertainment and Sony Santa Monica have released a new trailer of the next God of War for PS4, plus a new episode of the podcast “The Lost Pages of Norse Myth“.

The trailer shows some really nice concept arts portraying the Draugr, a kind of undead from Norse mythology that lives in cemeteries and possesses superhuman strength and powers.

The podcast explores the topic more deeply and features collaborations with lead character artist Rafael Grassetti and lead animator Bruno Valazquez. Both explain how the nordic setting encouraged them to explore different creatures including trolls, ogres, draugr, and even dragons.

The team has also made an effort to show enemies in the game as creatures that live in the world, rather than appearing out of nowhere only to go into battle with Kratos.

The original idea for each creature comes from some sort of existing myth, though the team has put a twist on them in God of War. They have tried to reach a deep story for each monster, to find ways to differentiate them from other interpretations.

The artists have given the monsters details that make them cohesive with the environment they come from. If they are from snowy areas, then they will have snow on them. If they live in a mud pit, then they will be dirty with mud. They’ve also put some effort into making the creatures look like they come from the game’s universe, and that’s usually done by adding historical references like runes.

We also have an interesting discussion about the character design and the evolution of everyone from the conceptual phase to the final product. We hear how they have changed from a silhouette by adding more and more details (especially the important characters in the story) to the moment where they are all seen together and the developers can experience how they feel together.

It is interesting to know that there will be no camera cuts in the game and therefore all details need to be the same for cutscenes as they are for gameplay moments, so character models need to look good up close, from a distance, and from all angles.

The team overhauled the animation system, and made the 80% motion capture and 20% frame animation; in previous games the ratio was 10% motion capture and 90% frame rate.

With the new performance capture system, the team can extrapolate an actor’s full body performance, including their facial expressions and voice. On top of this, PS4 allows for much more advanced facial animation than was possible before.

The creatures are performed by stunt actors, and the talented animators at Sony Santa Monica have created rigs that can be transformed into in-game animations.

Curiously, how a creature moves is determined by its background. For example, the Draugr moves like a ruthless Terminator and will never move away from the player due to its nature as an undead warrior with armor fused within its body. In addition to this, he shuffles around because he can no longer use his body like when he was alive.

You can find both videos below. And if you missed it, you can check out the trailer shown at TGS 2017, learn more about its new upgrade system, and check out the first, second, and third round of footage shown by Sony.

God of War will be released in early 2018 exclusively for PlayStation 4.

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