Today Sony Interactive Entertainmemt and SCE Santa Monica Studios released a new trailer of the upcoming God of War game for PS4, alongside a new episode of the companion podcasd “The Lost Pages of Norse Myth.”
The trailer showcases some really beautiful concept artwork portraying the Draugr, a kind of undead from norse mythology dwelling in burial grounds and possessing superhuman strength and powers.
The podcast explores the topic deeper, starring Principal Character Artist Rafael Grassetti and Principal Animator Bruno Valazquez.
The two explain how the Norse setting allows them to explore a different set of creatures including trolls, ogres, draugr and even dragons.
The team has also made a concerted effort to display the enemies of the game as creatures that live in the world, instead of popping up from nowhere just to fight Kratos.
The original idea for every creature comes from sort of existing myth, even if the team is giving them a bit of a God of War twist. They try to come up with a backstory for each monster, to find ways to differentiate them from other interpretations.
Aartists also give monsters details to make them feel cohesive with the environment they come from. If they’re from a snowy areas, they will have snow on them. If they live in a mud pit, they will be dirty with mud. Efforts are also made to make the creatures feel like they come from the game’s universe, and that’s normally done by adding historical references like runes.
We also get a very interesting discussion on character design and on the evolution of the cast from the concept phase to the finished product. We hear how they change from a silhouette through the addition of more and more details (especially for characters critical to the story), to the moment in which they are seen all together and developers can experience how they feel together.
Interestingly, since there are no camera cuts in the game, all the details need to be the same for cutscenes and gameplay, so the same character models need to look good from up close, from afar, and from every angle.
The team overhauled the animation system, and they do 80% motion capture and 20% keyframe animation, while in previous games of the series, it was 10% motion capture and 90% keyframe.
With the new performance capture system, the team can extrapolate the full body performance of an actor, including facial expressions and voice. On top of that, the PS4 allows for facial animation that is much more advanced compared to what was possible before.
Creatures are acted by stunt actors, and the talented animators at Sony Santa Monica create rigs so that their stunts can be transformed into animation for the game.
Interestingly, the way a creature moves is determined by its background. For example the Draugr move like a relentless Terminator and will never back away from the player due to their nature as undead warriors with armor fused into their bodies. In addition to that, they shamble because they can’t use their bodies like they could when they were alive.
You can check out both videos below. If you want to see more about the game , you can enjoy some recent new artwork, a second batch, a third one, and a fourth one. You can also listen to another really interesting talk between Creative Director Cory Barlog and Story Lead Matt Sophos.
God of War will launch in early 2018 exclusively for PS4.