There’s a new God of War in the works over at Santa Monica Studios. I’ll let you watch the E3 2016 gameplay demo first, since it’s pretty darn amazing. It’s so good to see Kratos’ disapproving frown again in true current-gen graphics, am I right?

Now, I know what you’re thinking – “what is the heck Kratos is doing in the snow, hunting deer and fighting frost giants?”. While this isn’t a complete surprise, it’s still a little bit weird to see Kratos in a Norse mythology settings; and with a beard and a son no less.┬áBefore you cry “reboot”, the folks over at Santa Monica assure us that this is not the case. the new God of War is a actually a sequel to God of War 3. Kratos has learned to control his Spartan rage, and has decided to start a new life for himself in the north, where he even raised a son.

When the demo starts, the older and bearded Kratos takes his son on a hunting trip. This being God of War, it doesn’t take too long before someone decides it’s a good idea to attack the Ghost of Sparta and his offspring. When combat starts, we see that Kratos has exchanged his iconic blades of chaos with a new axe. He┬ácan swing his axe with deadly force, and even throw it at enemies and use his fists to finish the job. The axe’s blade is decorated with runes, so Kratos can summon it back to him once thrown, or unleash its ice powers to freeze enemies in place to just deal extra damage.

Apart from the new weapon, God of War does feel quite different from previous games in the franchise. The camera now sits closer behind Kratos, and the fighting seems somewhat slower. It would be interesting to see how the new combat system will deal with multiple enemies. There also appear to be less quick-time events, and a deeper narrative than the ones we’re used to from the series.

It’s also interesting to note that the player only gets experience points for the actions Kratos’s son performs, and not the enemies Kratos himself defeats. For example, there’s no indication of any XP gained by when Kratos takes down an angry giant, but when his kids finally hunts down a deer, the player receives +50 to its archery knowledge. Makes you wonder.

God of War is, naturally, a PlayStation 4 exclusive set to be released no early than 2017.

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