God of War III Features

Digital FoundryHow Sony Santa Monica mastered PlayStation 3

From the archive: the inside story on God of War tech - updated with a PS3 vs PS4 GOW3 performance test.

We're currently working on our analysis for Sony Santa Monica's remastered edition of God of War 3 for PlayStation 4, but in the meantime we thought we'd republish our original tech interview with the team, produced in the wake of God of War: Ascension's release and covering the development of both of Kratos' PS3 outings. Originally, this piece was published with a frame-rate analysis video of the spectacular opening level of God of War 3 on PlayStation 3. We've swapped that out with a new performance test, featuring both PS3 and PS4 versions of the game, compared head-to-head. That 1080p60 remaster we discussed with SMM at the end of this article, almost two years ago? Well - there it is.

Have you ever looked at a game and seen something so technically advanced, so different and so far ahead of almost everything else you've seen, that you just can't quite believe that it's running on your trusty console? Over the years, only a few choice titles spring to mind, but Sony Santa Monica's magnificent God of War III is undoubtedly the latest example. It looks and feels like a next-gen game that in some way, somehow, miraculously, manages to run on current-gen hardware.

Post-GDC and in the wake of last week's gargantuan Uncharted 2 post-mortem, Digital Foundry's "downtime" this week was spent playing the UK's - and most likely the world's - number one videogame, God of War III.

God of War III

You had me at Helios.

We've all pulled the heads off things before, of course. Pretty much all videogames include pulling the heads off things (with the possible exception of Imagine Babies). But no other example springs to mind just now, because the only one worth remembering is Kratos' angry, barehanded decapitation of poor old chariot-riding Helios in God of War III. Helios is a fiery, antagonistic little pretty-boy, but once you've watched his skin stretched taught into tendrils and torn, like so much plasticine flesh in a George Romero movie, you can't help feel sorry for him.

Is it confidence, or arrogance? Sony has every reason to be confident in the charms of the next game in its series of blockbuster mythological action games - they sell, they're slick as all hell and Santa Monica Studio clearly knows what it's doing. But this is taking things a bit far.

FeatureGod of War III

The men behind the myth.

To get a sense of just how big a leap Sony's Santa Monica Studio reckons it's made from God of War II on PlayStation 2 to the upcoming PlayStation 3 God of War III, simply recall the leap Kratos took off Mount Olympus in the first one.

FeatureGod of War III

Zeus alors.

Sony has a lot riding on the fourth instalment in the God of War series. The first two PlayStation 2 releases were enormously popular, selling millions around the world, but by the time they came out PS2 had already vanquished Xbox, and indeed everyone else. By the time God of War III comes out, which may not even be this year, the story will be very different. Still, in the ongoing console battle between PS3 and Xbox 360, who better to fight Sony's corner than the, er, God of War?