It's been a few years since the last non-compilation release for the God of War franchise, so we're due for a new title. Sony has been teasing a Kratos-related reveal for a short while now, and while most expected to see news of God of War IV (possibly for the PlayStation Vita), instead today's announcement is for a new PlayStation 3 entry in the series entitled God of War: Ascension in which we journey with Kratos prior to his deal with Ares and servitude to the gods that fueled the majority of the franchise so far. Here's the announcement trailer that features plenty of narration to set the stage and some stylized animation of Kratos enduring the usual pain and suffering:
The teaser trailer features narration indicating that this is yet another prequel in the series. By my count that makes three prequels and three primary adventures. Whenever I hear that a prequel to anything is in the works, I find myself wondering why if this story is so worth telling, why didn't it kick off the overall plot? I tend to worry when a franchise goes to the prequel well too often, as it usually indicates that the storytellers behind it are running out of ideas. Worse, we already know how the prequel story ends in that the ending of the prequel has to line up with the start of the franchise. Sometimes prequels work better than they have any right. Consider what J.J. Abrams and his team accomplished with 2009's Star Trek movie, for instance. Despite taking the Star Trek universe back to a period before James Kirk was the captain of the Enterprise (and therefore interesting), the story was engaging and kept audiences guessing about what would happen next. Then think about how poorly Star Trek: Enterprise wound up when it attempted to pencil in a revised history of the Federation with boring characters in a galaxy that apparently lacked wonder or interest. Here's hoping that this early chapter of Kratos's story is actually worth telling and not just the result of Santa Monica Studios writing itself into a corner with the scorched earth ending of God of War III. In short, Santa Monica: more J.J. Abrams, less Scott Bakula.
Not to pick on Scott Bakula, of course. He did the best he could with the material he was given in Enterprise and was often the best part of that show.