While you assume complete control of Kratos, you also passively control his son throughout the entire game, and both characters grow and evolve. Theres a single button dedicated to your son, and its use depends on the context. He becomes an active participant in combat, traversal, exploration, and puzzle-solving. In this, the game is about passing knowledge onto your child. At the beginning of your journey, you teach a reluctant child how to fire a bow and hunt. As you progress through the game, that becomes second-nature to the boy, and its clear that your knowledge has been passed on.
This bond isnt the only new, surprising element of God of War. The entire game is presented as a single, uninterrupted shot. Once youre in, youre in. No load screens, no cinematics, no fades to black. Kratos and his sons journey across the world of Norse mythology -- which takes place an undisclosed amount of time past God of War III -- will be told in a wholly singular, and honestly unique manner.
Right from the get-go, it was apparent that this was a very different God of War game. We now view the world from behind Kratos shoulders, with the previously-static camera now being controlled using the right stick. This part is important, because the world is rife with hidden paths, secret nooks, and collectables hidden all over the place. During my extended demo, we wandered off the beaten path and discovered a number of crafting resources, pieces of armor, and idols. God of War will feature larger, much more in-depth RPG systems, something Sony will discuss further down the road.
While the E3 demo was a quieter, more character-driven look at the game, Barlog assured me that the series isnt shrugging off its bombastic, cinematic roots. The reason they didnt focus the E3 demo on a huge, spectacle-filled set piece is that it's a given that the game will have those. Barlog and Sony Santa Monica have mastered those moments, so with this demo, they wanted to surprise fans and non-fans of the series with the unexpected.