Sony has offered a glimpse at an enormous Atlantis stage that was cut out of God of War II.
In 2005 senior level designer Jonathan Hawkins was given the task of creating a stage set in the mythical submerged city for the PlayStation 2 sequel but the content ended up being cut due to "some high-level changes".
The platform holder posted design concepts for the level and a clip of Hawkins talking through his work, which you can see below, on its PlayStation blog.
When I was little, before girls and hair, me and my family used to march to a house full of old people and sing songs at them on Christmas Eve. Interesting creatures, full of stories and sticky toffee sweets, and if you played your cards right you might land your very first kiss. Funny smelling places though, like someone kept forgetting to flush the toilet, but then they are old so maybe it is forgiveable. Soap: another withered person smell. The moral is that old things are not useless and ready to be thrown away; my Grandma used to give me stacks of 20 pence pieces when I saw her. Back of the net.
How do you top one of the best games ever made? Do you churn out more of the same as quickly as possible and cash in while the demand's there, or do you go through a drawn-out process of reinvention that keeps the series fresh? As a selfish, selfish sonofabitch gamer, you always want a bit of both. Always. You want a quickfire sequel to sate your appetite, but you certainly don't want the creativity to evaporate as sweatshop development cycles turn the 'brand' into a depressingly formulaic cash cow. (Hello, Tomb Raider Chronicles.)
Given that the original God of War was near-as-dammit the best-looking game ever made on the PS2, you could have forgiven Sony's uber-talented Santa Monica team for hopping straight on to the PS3 for the sequel. That is, after all, what most teams would have done (and have done) in a similar situation.
A lot of game development is one giant pissing contest, where stretching a mature platform to its technical limits sees teams racing to get an early advantage as soon as new hardware becomes available. But the God of War team had other ideas, perhaps mindful of the nightmare learning curve that comes with working with unfinished hardware and tools. Refreshingly, they've spotted yet more unfulfilled potential inside the perennially underestimated PlayStation 2 and, incredibly, bettered everything that made the 2005 original such a monumentally compelling prospect.
Pop your head round Eurogamer TV's door this morning and you'll find none other than a new God of War II trailer to air-punch along to.
In it we see Kratos kick all kinds of stool from his gargantuan enemies in an effort to change his slightly barbaric fate, by using a whole new set of moves and powers.
Cory Barlog, director for GoW II, has recently been splashing words about the game on his blog, which sounds a lot like our job. BACK OFF, CORY. He reckons all of the primary work is now done, and expects a demo to be pressed in February.
Developer David Jaffe admits he'll probably end up working on more God of War games after the first one proved so popular, but right now he's falling in love with Sony's "e-Distribution Initiative" (EDI) - PlayStation 3's answer to Xbox Live Arcade and Nintendo's Virtual Console.
While everyone at E3 was busy Wiiing themselves with excitement on the most crowded stand in the history of the show, or pooh-poohing the PS3 line up along side it, most people seemed to neglect the presence of all the exciting "last gen" (can we say that yet?) stuff. It always works like this, of course, but God of War II was easily Sony's most impressive title; arguably it was one of the games of the show, yet few people seemed to care. It's tough work being an all powerful, head chopping deity with blades attached to your wrists when everyone else is running around in high def.