When God of War: Ascension finally makes it retail debut on March 13, 2013, the game will mark a seismic shift in the series’ traditionally action-focused solo gameplay. Whereas prior God of War entries have all focused heavily on their respective singleplayer campaigns, Ascension’s big addition to the franchise is that it’s the first God of War entry to feature online multiplayer gameplay options. That image you see at top comes from one of the game’s online battles, and as you can see not only must players contend with one another, they also have to be wary of giant set pieces like that angry cyclops in the background. With such a complex, novel take on third-person multiplayer action, it should come as little surprise that Sony plans to test Ascension’s multiplayer modes extensively prior to the game’s release. We’ve known that a beta would take place for a few months now, but as of this morning, Sony opted to pull back the curtain and reveal a host of new, concrete facts likely to excite long-time God of War fans.
From now until noon on Friday, December 7, Sony will be accepting applications from God of War devotees who would like to both assist the company in its efforts to test Ascension’s multiplayer functionality, as well as get an early shot at playing the game. If your interest is piqued, pay a visit to Sony’s newly-launched beta sign-up site to drop in all your relevant information. You’ll need PlayStation Network login credentials, but any of you suitably interested in this test likely already have a PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Network account set up. Assuming you’re fortunate enough for Sony to pull your name from its metaphorical hat, the company will contact you via email to fill in the rest of the necessary details. Further, you’ll also be granted access to a special section of the PlayStation Network specifically dedicated to disseminating information about the God of War: Ascension beta test.
Unfortunately lacking from this wealth of new information is any word on when exactly Sony plans to hold this test. Given the game’s near-term release date and the level of polish already seen in pre-release previews of the title, we’d expect the beta test to start no later than mid-December, but that’s subject to all manner of variables, any of which could push it forward or delay the test by days, weeks or even months. For all we know, the test could be a massive success in uncovering bugs in the game’s code, only to force the Ascension development team to delay the title’s official release while they patch up the new list of flaws. Hopefully that won’t happen, and we’ll be sure to let you know if it does, but in the mean time there’s little for you God of War fiends to do other than sign up for the beta and hope you luck upon a spot. Then, at the very least, you’ll be able to tell your friends all about how cool Ascension’s online battles are, months before any of them have a chance to enjoy the game — and let’s face it: Bragging rights are at least half the reason anyone ever signs up to beta test an unreleased game.