Last year Lee took a trip to the US to talk to Stig Asmussen, producer of God of War III.
Let's start out with a bit of an introduction, and perhaps an explanation of your rather Danish name?
Stig Asmussen: My grandparents are from Denmark. My grandfather moved to the US just before the Great Depression in the 30's. He was an engineer in the mid-20's, and started a new life over here, but he kept in touch with the Danish part of the family and his friends. My brothers name is Jes, while my sister is called Kirsten. So we have tried to keep that part of our heritage alive, by keeping with Danish names. I've also been to Denmark three times, since I have relatives there. It's actually pretty cool to talk to someone like you and be asked that question.
But back to God of War III. What do you think is the most important story element in the triology?
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I'd like to think that it's Kratos and his inner struggle. Is he really that self-centered, or is there more to him that that? In the end I would say that he only thinks about himself and about getting revenge. He has this strange feeling in the back of his head, his conscience, that tells him to stop but at the same time that's what keeps him going.
How much information have you taken from modern times?
Man of Fire with Denzel Washington is a good example, they managed to really tell a believable story about this poor guy that did all these horrible things.
If we stay with the movies theme, how would you describe the different God of War-games?
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There is no doubt that God of War would be the small indie-movie, while God of War II was the big blockbuster. The first on was very inspired by Clash of the Titant and Gladiator...and Indiana Jones, of course. You can also take a look at films like Robocop and see similarities with how Kratos was created. Film is a constant source of inspiration. Look at the end of National Treasure 2 for example, that was a pure video game, he was more or less in a puzzle game. District B13 is almost a pure game as well, almost more than a movie.
At the end of God of War II, Kratos is quite a powerful being. How do build on that in the third part?
It would have been cool if he could have had all those powers from the starts, but it took the player a whole game to learn those, and we introduce a whole bunch of new ones in this game. So the question would be, how many are too many powers? We believe we've found a good middle ground.
Is this really the end of the God of War-trilogy?
Yes, this is the end of Kratos' story, and there won't be any loose ends when the player reaches the end of this game. How it ends, well...of course I won't spoil that. Perhaps Kratos flies to the moon in a spaceship?
Looking at pictures from the game, they don't always show the big revolution? What would you say to that?
Again, it's a question of balance. When does God of War start looking like Ghost Recon? How much is too much? What I feel the most pride about, is that we never re-use any material. No matter where you go, or what parts of the game you explore, it's always a fresh experience. And the enemies these times are really varied and then I haven't even mentioned this big, "movable" levels.
How was the transition over to Playstation 3?
I would rather say it like this: it was a new brush that we had to learn how to use. And as with every new tool we found obstacles and possibilities to take advantage of. It's the same struggle as always; textures and polygon counts. But while we used to worry about if you could see his tattoo or not, we know worry if you can see his iris clear enough. There's a whole new level of detail, but with the same old problems.