God of War: Ascension dev on gore and sexual content: We’ll ‘push the envelope as far as we can’

God of War: Ascension will attempt to explore a different side of Spartan anti-hero Kratos; a side less jaded by betrayal, but freshly bruised by the death of his family. We’ll find out whether Ascension succeeds in plumbing the depths of Kratos’ character when it launches on March 12, but many fans are wondering whether the prequel – which features the series’ first multiplayer mode – will live up to the God of War legacy in other respects. Lead Combat Designer Jason McDonald believes that it will.

Always eager to serve the PSU forum community, I seized my chance at a press event in Hollywood last week to ask McDonald how Sony Santa Monica will be treating the issue of graphic content – sexual or otherwise – in God of War: Ascension. "We always try to push the envelope as far as we can. Sometimes we get pushed back and we have to censor our stuff a little bit," McDonald lamented. "We’re always trying to find new ways that we can rip guys open and just do things that we want. Multiplayer gives us a little venue where we can do that as well, where now we’re killing other people."

"That kind of allowed us to go there with kills that we haven’t even shown yet."

Of course, I also asked McDonald about the motivation behind telling an earlier story in the God of War universe. "We knew that as Kratos went on from God of War 1, 2, and 3, he also became a little less likable, because he started becoming more of a bastard," McDonald explained. "So I think a lot of the drive from [Todd Papy, Game Director] was to tell a story with a Kratos that was slightly different – he’s not as angry. He’s still a warrior, still powerful, still a Spartan guy, but he’s not as just blatantly angry." I was glad to hear that Kratos may demonstrate a larger emotional range in Ascension, as the one-dimensionality of his character has alienated me in the past. McDonald echoed my sentiment: "We recognize that it might appeal to some more people – people that didn’t like Kratos, may like this version of Kratos."

For more on God of War: Ascension, check out our hands-on impressions and watch the first 30 minutes of the game. Stay tuned to for our review.