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Joystiq interview: God of War 3 director Stig Asmussen

Kevin Kelly

After working on games like Dr. Muto and Gauntlet: Dark Legacy, Stig Asmussen worked as lead environmental artist on God of War before moving on to God of War II, where he was promoted to art director. He's now game director for God of War III, which means he's reached the pinnacle of Mount Olympus, so to speak. Despite shouldering an Altas-like workload, including organizing a team of more than 100 employees, Asmussen was in high spirits when we sat down with him this week at the God of War III preview event.

Continue on to learn more about PlayStation Home and DLC plans, the handling of motion controls, and how the team's bringing newcomers up to speed on the story -- plus many more previously unknown details!

Gallery: God of War 3 | 21 Photos

First question: Would you tell us all about the story and everything else that you consider to be secret?


So, seriously now, were David Jaffe and Cory Barlog involved at all on this title?

Absolutely, in the sense that Dave started the series and he paved the road. Dave has been around a couple of times and given us a little bit of insight and feedback on it. I am sure he has seemed, like on his blog ...

... A little enthusiastic about it?

Yeah, he has said some stuff. And then Cory, absolutely. He had a lot to do with this game. He left a little over a year ago, so there was a lot of stuff that he paved. Things that we are doing right now are a direct result of his involvement.

When he was talking about his own plans for God of War III, Cory mentioned motion controls a lot. Is that still the case?

"Everything had to be essentially overhauled to get it on PS3."

We are definitely looking to incorporate it, but it has got to be something that really feels like it is part of the game. If it doesn't feel good -- if it feels like a gimmick, we are not going to put it in there, but we have some ideas.

To be honest with you, we haven't really started tinkering with them beyond the stage of just talking about this stuff, but we have been busy just getting the core gameplay stuff going, because everything had to be essentially overhauled to get it on the PlayStation 3.

But we have got some really good ideas. And if you think about it, you could take it wherever you want, but there are some things that the Sixaxis ... I mean, look at a game like Folklore, which I think did a pretty good job.

There are some movements that are happening in there that I think could really translate well to God of War. The real vicious, kind of brutal combat; I can see that with ...

... Like those grapple moments where you would yank the controller towards you to pull them in?

Right, exactly. My opinion is that the Sixaxis kind of breaks down a little bit when you do more the sort of balancing stuff, like in Uncharted. But flOw just came out and they did a fantastic job with it, so it is something we are exploring.

Are you looking to incorporate with the PlayStation Network in any way, whether that be online mutliplayer or designing a Home space where people can bring their character into and go, "Oh look. We're in ancient Greece."

"There are definitely things we are looking at in terms of DLC."

As far as online goes, God of War is a solo game, but there are definitely things we could do that we are looking at, in terms of downloadable content or possibly like skins or levels. I can't really say whether we would do that or not. There is no commitment to that, but there are things that we are looking at. But yeah, things like Home themes and things like that could definitely work into that equation.

Since you guys are a Sony studio, in your regular meetings with SCEA, do they kind of prod you guys on stuff like that, or are they just wanting you guys to focus on the game?

Sony is really good at kind of leaving this team to do what we do best. We don't put on crazy dog and pony shows and things like that. We have milestones, like today was a milestone. But there is a lot of trust there.
If there is something that they think is relevant to our game and is going to help our game and help another game possibly, something like Home, then it is definitely brought to our attention. But at the end of the day, since I have been game director, they haven't ramrodded one thing.

I always have the right to say, "Hey, I don't think that is good and I don't want to do that." I haven't got in a situation where they say, "Well you have to do that." Hopefully that doesn't happen.

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