It’s official: the God of War sequel has been pushed back from its 2021 release window to some time in 2022. And it won’t be a PS5 console exclusive.
Sony Santa Monica broke the news on its Twitter account, citing the safety and wellbeing of its “team, creative partners, and families” as a reason for the delay.
This isn’t a huge surprise given that the pandemic has had a knock-on effect in almost every industry. But the biggest bombshell is the confirmation that God of War 2 will be a cross-gen title.
Sid Shuman, Head of PlayStation Studios, delved into the delay a bit further in the PlayStation blog and noted, “So we have, currently, two very big, very narrative-driven games in development: Horizon Forbidden West and the next God of War. And for both of those, they’re frankly affected by access to performance capture and talent.”
When it comes to Horizon Forbidden West, Shuman said the game is “on track to release this holiday season,” but added that it’s not a sure thing.
“For Horizon, we think we are on track to release this holiday season. But that isn’t quite certain yet, and we’re working as hard as we can to confirm that to you as soon as we can,” explained Shuman.
Development on God of War kicked off after Horizon Forbidden West, and Shuman explained that the Sony “made the decision to push that game out to next year, to ensure that Santa Monica Studio can deliver the amazing God of War game that we all want to play.”
But fans who were looking forward to a next-gen experience are in for some bad news, as Shuman confirmed that Horizon Forbidden West, God of War 2, and Gran Turismo 7 will all be cross-gen titles, coming to both PS4 and PS5.
“You can’t build a community of over 110 million PS4 owners and then just walk away from it, right? I think that’d be bad news for fans of PS4, and frankly not very good business,” said Shuman.
“Where it makes sense to develop a title for both PS4 and PS5 — for Horizon Forbidden West, the next God of War, GT7 — we’ll continue looking at that. And if PS4 owners want to play that game, then they can. If they want to go on and play the PS5 version, that game will be there for them.
“That being said, it’s also very important to have showpieces for PS5, hence the development of Returnal and Ratchet that are exclusive to PS5.”
God of War really pushed the PS4 in terms of graphics, so we’d hope the sequel does the same for the PS5. However, making God of War 2 a cross-platform game could see some compromises in visual fidelity to ensure it runs on older hardware. Depending on how well Santa Monica Studio can scale the game’s graphics, its cross-platform nature could prevent it from fully embracing the PS5’s power.
That might be disappointing for people who’ve played the PS5 restock game to get hold of the console with the promise of getting high-end PS5 exclusives.
The flipside to that is it’s currently very hard to find the PS5, or indeed the Xbox Series X, in stock, due to a global chip shortage affecting game console and graphics card supply.
However, Returnal is a great example of a next-gen title harnessing the power of the PS5, meaning that people who’ve managed to find Sony’s new console have a game to justify the $499 outlay. Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart should manage the same trick — so stay tuned for our review, which drops next week. And if you don’t want to go in completely blind, you can get up to speed on the series with our Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart primer.