Q: So what are they missing out on?
RW: The thing is, what they're missing often times is they see the surface of what the game is, which is what you play. But you have to really understand that everything, from how good the timing of combat is, the timing of animation, the transitions between animations, how literally every single thing has to be so fine tuned to make it right. Sometimes you miss out on that because some people just see the end result and say "Oh! That move was so cool!". Well, that move built up from all that stuff that we built up. A lot of games have a tendency to just see the surface of everything and feel like they can emulate it really fast.
Q: What do you think makes this game suitable for handheld then?
RW: That's a good one. It's never been a worry of ours to make games that are suitable for handheld. I think that maybe that's the reason we make the games we do. For all three games we've made games that are good games. Our first and only thought is why it should be a good God of War game.
Q: So what happened with the plan to move away from PSP?
RW: The plan? The plan! The plan fell apart! We wanted to move away purely because we had other ideas at the time and more than anything we didn't feel like there was more we could do for the platform. I don't think we want to use the platform if we don't feel like we can challenge ourselves and challenge it. After Chains of Olympus we didn't feel like we could challenge ourselves on it. But after a few months we thought otherwise because the mad rush of finishing the game made us forget that we had overlooked some of the things we could have done.
Everything. We had to. Our biggest goal was to tackle gameplay mechanics and maybe some of the graphics stuff, but in the end it ended up with us starting with one system and week after week and month after month really re-vamping every single part of the game. And we didn't want to do that by the way, at the beginning, it wasn't the goal.
Q: Do you see PSP having more of a future as a platform?
RW: It can. It can if you make it more attainable, on the software side, on the ease of use, on the PSN side. Yes you can get there but I think PSP as a platform, as purely a hardware, technologically: it's an awesome platform. It does things that not many people know it can do.
Q: Like what?
RW: Just power-wise, it is something that can rival a lot of games if not the majority of games on PS2 and even some on PS3. It can do some pretty amazing stuff but at the same time, let's say, it's had a bad life. It's had a bad growth. And although it's sold very well in people's minds it doesn't have the feel that it should. They view it and they view it as a DS. And the PSP is not. The DS is for casual experiences and more for short burst gameplay. If the PSP had been sold as ‘you know what, this is your home console in your hand' it would have had a great future.
Q: Do you see yourself continuing on with PSP then?
RW: This is it. Although we've said it before, this is definitely it for us. We needed to prove and we needed to feel we could do something else for the platform. And at this time we don't feel that anymore. We don't feel there's more that the platform needs from us. Maybe somebody else can do that but at this point we feel like we've maximised the platform.
Q: What about the God of War franchise?
RW: The God of War franchise? There's always room in a franchise to do more stuff, I just don't know what direction to take with it.
Q: Yeah, the end of God of War 3 Kratos' fate is left pretty ambiguous. Do you think the franchise could survive without him?
RW: I think the franchise is definitely capable of surviving without Kratos. There's enough stuff that happened before and potentially after that Kratos doesn't necessarily have to survive. As much as Kratos makes the franchise today, I think that what's important about it is that it's not Kratos: The Game. It's God of War. It's a bigger IP than just the story of Kratos, although he's the most important character right now. So I don't know, maybe in the future it could be taken somewhere else. It needs him right now, for the short term at least, but maybe not in the future.
Q: Where would you see it going?
RW: We've all thrown out ideas. We could bring Kratos to the modern age, use different myths. Norse mythologies, Eastern mythologies, Persian. There's plenty of room to do stuff but it doesn't mean that's why you should do it. You should only do something if it makes sense in the grand scheme of things and right now I think there is room. But I wouldn't want to see spin offs going off all over the place where it's like "Hey, here's a game about Athena!".
Q: Do you think that tends to happen?
RW: In IPs? Sometimes. You always feel like "Why did they do that? Give it a rest for a few years and then bring it back". I would rather developers and publishers do that, let it be for a few years, give it a rest and you can bring it back bigger and better.
Q: What are you imagining for your own IP? I'm guessing that's what you're interested in now?
RW: Yeah, for sure. I think that's where we're heading as a team. The question is always we have to keep in mind what's important to us and what the team is passionate about. And if the next game is our own IP then you know what, we should go back to Defender of the Kraut. Commodore 64! You know what I mean? You pick something that you love and if you love it then you'll do it well.
Q: Stylistically what would you say you guys would lean toward, if you were imagining your next IP?
RW: I'm still not sure because I know we've even tested internally different styles. We've gone from fantasy to cartoony stuff, we've tried more realistic things. Stylistically we're open to all kinds of things, but gameplay-wise we're definitely leaning toward action-adventure. Story-driven action-adventure.
God of War: Ghost of Sparta is released exclusively on the PSP on November 5.