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Q&A: The Art of God of War: Ascension

Aaron Kaufman's Avatar + Posted by Aaron Kaufman on Sep 16, 2013 // Community Strategist, Santa Monica Studio

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In conjunction with our talented friends at Section Studios, we are proud to present The Art of God of War: Ascension. At 400 pages, it will redefine what we come to expect from an “art of” book. This is the art book every God of War fan will remember. Click here to buy on Amazon, or learn more at GodOfWar.com.

I sat down with Senior Concept Artist Eric Ryan to discuss his work on one of the Monsters of Ascension, and a bit left on the cutting room floor. All images featured here and hundreds more can be seen in the The Art of God of War: Ascension book.

God of War Ascension

Click here to see the full gallery


Sony Santa Monica: Tell us a bit about your journey as a concept artist here at Sony Santa Monica and time with God of War.

Eric Ryan: Hey I’m Eric Ryan, Senior Concept Artist at Sony Santa Monica. I came to SCEA with a background in games, TV, and film before beginning on the God of War: Ascension endeavor. I have about 10 years experience in the entertainment industry, primarily in games.

SSM: The process of concept art here at Sony Santa Monica really defines the vision and characters of our games quite literally. Specifically with Tisiphone (the Mental Fury and one of the main protagonists in God of War: Ascension), explain the story how you were approached to design her, and the initial challenges.

ER: Our vision of the franchise has revolved around two words that have been beaten into our minds, “epic” and “brutality”. Applying that to specific characters can be challenging. Tisiphone was designed with the idea that her illusions could become real life threats as well as being the ultimate mind-**** for Kratos. She was difficult because she needed to create environmental illusions as well as act as a mini-boss that could physically harm Kratos in a major way. The bridge we created to marry these two ideas was her Daemon illusion would accomplish both goals. Initially she was going to have bladed wings or possibly use sound to form attacks. There were tons of directions she was going to go, but we chose a route that was much easier to accomplish in the given time frame.

God of War: Ascension on PS3

SSM: Is the shape of her helmet (headdress), guarding over her eyes, in any way related to her hallucination/illusion powers or is there a specific meaning behind this design?

ER: Her headdress was going to be more central to her forming illusions and her creature. Its shape is that of an eye and the center of it was going to light up every time she cast some kind of spell or summoned her creature. Now it’s more of a way to make her stand out among the other Furies.

Did you know Tisiphone is older than the Earth itself?

ER:I did not know that she is older than the earth itself. Who is this voice from the heavens asking me Jeopardy questions? Wait was I supposed to answer that in the form of a question?

God of War: Ascension on PS3

SSM: The Art of God of War: Ascension Book is massive, at over 400 pages, and you are responsible for quite a large chunk of the art behind the game. If not Tisiphone, what are you most proud of?

ER:Tisiphone was fun to work on especially early on when the “sky was the limit” (I love you Todd :P) but I think my favorite character was the Leviathan, the final fury boss creature originally cast as Charybdis. I think it turned out pretty cool especially with the ink whirlpool. Believe it or not that whirlpool was going to be the size of an island and you were going to have to jump from wrecked ship to wrecked ship to descend into it and before all of this you were going to have to dodge the body and tentacles of a surfacing Charybdis to make it to what is now the Statue of Apollo. Pretty bad-ass, and yes, I shed a small tear when it was cut.

SSM: I’m an aspiring artist and want to work in video games. What are Eric’s Ryans killer tips to ascend into a concept artist position?

Getting into concept art is no small feat… and neither is staying there. One hard lesson I learned long ago is that when you begin your path as an artist, you are always an artist. This comes with the great responsibility of always learning, always taking classes, and always busting your ass. I told a student of mine recently that being good at something requires discipline, and your greatest source of discipline is your passion. If you don’t like what you are doing then you will not be as great at it. Concept art is no exception. That being said, it can be hugely gratifying when you know you have contributed to bringing life and creativity to such a great franchise!

//Add Your Own

16 Comments   4 Replies

1

+ TeamGreen615 on September 16th, 2013 at 6:29 am said:

I might have to check this out. Now if only we could get a God of War for the Vita. Keep up the good work SSM!


2

+ cassarcc on September 16th, 2013 at 7:03 am said:

I agree with @1! God of War for Vita could be amazing!


3

+ zombie9 on September 16th, 2013 at 7:43 am said:

Art has been the eye catcher of all the GOW games. I didn’t care to much for the building battle system in the new GOW (cough starhawk) ripoff. and I don’t wan’t GOW on Vita. Because I don’t own a Vita. I would rather see it on PS4 now that’s epic :)


4

+ carlpain on September 16th, 2013 at 8:03 am said:

70 bucks? And not even being sell by Amazon. No, thanks.


    Aaron Kaufman's Avatar

     

    + Aaron Kaufman on September 16th, 2013 at 2:02 pm said:

    Did you miss the entire opening paragraph? ;o)

    In conjunction with our talented friends at Section Studios, we are proud to present The Art of God of War: Ascension. At 400 pages, it will redefine what we come to expect from an “art of” book. This is the art book every God of War fan will remember. Click here to buy on Amazon

    Here on Amazon —> http://bit.ly/Ascension-ArtBook


5

+ TomatoDragon on September 16th, 2013 at 8:37 am said:

My copy arrived last week, signed by the Sony Santa Monica team. Probably the biggest, and highest quality artbook I’m ever bought. Love it.


    Aaron Kaufman's Avatar

     

    + Aaron Kaufman on September 16th, 2013 at 2:02 pm said:

    Awesome Tomato, just awesome, tweet us a photo @SonySantaMonica


6

+ Vinkoniggma on September 16th, 2013 at 11:08 am said:

Neato….But I wonder: has there or will there be an Art Of GOW 1,2, and 3 book?


7

+ Welmosca on September 16th, 2013 at 11:14 am said:

Yes thats some fantastic art…just like every GoW game always top quality…just a shame that Ascension failed to be incredible like past GoW games.Quite a shame to the GoW franchise…anyway I really liked what Eric said in the last question especially this “If you don’t like what you are doing then you will not be as great at it”…this is so true…I’m a drawer and I love what I do and I want to work drawing….and damn I have so much passion for it.Thats why I love concept art.


8

+ tusunami on September 16th, 2013 at 11:37 am said:

This game is amazing, I have to get back inti it at some point.


9

+ GGCAN on September 16th, 2013 at 11:38 am said:

@1and 2 – TeamGreen615, cassarcc.

Until we get a God of War for the Vita…..

Do you know you can remote play PS3 God of War Collection as well as ICO Shadow of the Collosus on the Vita ?

Actually works quite well; I’ve play God of War Collection on my Vita via remote play.


    Aaron Kaufman's Avatar

     

    + Aaron Kaufman on September 16th, 2013 at 2:04 pm said:

    And did you know God of War 1 and 2 are coming to PS Vita, on their own? =)


10

+ D-Squad3 on September 16th, 2013 at 12:20 pm said:

Just waiting for God of War IV on the PS4.


11

+ ArunTahlan on September 16th, 2013 at 3:10 pm said:

Hello APOC! … Whenever I see some post from you it instantly reminds me of C&C3, RA3 and Battlecast Primetime. Those were great times :)


12

+ Axesul on September 16th, 2013 at 6:08 pm said:

Wait, how did @TomatoDragon get a signed copy? I plan on getting one this week, can anyone help? I really, really, really would like get one please! :D


13

+ Gscorpio14 on September 16th, 2013 at 11:20 pm said:

please release a digital version of god of war ascension on the playstation store


14

+ GGCAN on September 17th, 2013 at 4:33 am said:

Thanks for the update Aaron on my post Aaran !

I had heard rumors, but thanks for confirming the upcoming Vita support.

Keep up the great work !


15

+ carlpain on September 17th, 2013 at 5:50 am said:

Amazon isn’t selling it. Other company is doing it. I wrote: “Amazon isn’t selling it.” Like the company, not the website.


16

+ One_wing91 on September 17th, 2013 at 9:55 am said:

I order this art book yesterday =D Can’t wait to have it!!


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