The Monsters Of God Of War: Ascension – The Elephantaur

Elephantaur 1

The Elephantaur in God of War: Ascension is a hybrid Minotaur unlike any ferocious enemy you’ve seen in the God of War universe. You could call him an evolution of the Minotaur, or perhaps the beginning? We’ll let our famed concept artist Izzy answer that for you. Let’s roll!

Now that you’ve given us a glimpse into the creative process that spawned the monstrous Polyphemus, let’s plunge our blades into God of War’s newest baddie: The Elephantaur! Tell us a bit about its history and how you managed to turn one of nature’s most noble creatures into such a hulking juggernaut.

Izzy: For God of War III, I had worked on the Berserker class Argus monster, which was later cut. When I originally started doing sketches for that guy, I had done a painting of a pale elephant coated in blood like a gladiator. That image got scrapped, but ever since, I’ve wanted to do another scary elephant monster.

When the Elephantaur came up, it was originally an assignment to re-skin the Minotaur from God of War III for God of War: Ascension. We had planned to do a different kind of Minotaur, and I did several sketches of ideas for the monstrous herbivore. I did my due diligence and tried to make a new version of the classical creature, but I kept running into a lot of the tropes that have been used before. I wasn’t very satisfied with those and kept getting more and more exotic with my influences. I whipped up some anthropomorphic bulls, yaks, bears, lizards, turtles and even a rhinoceros…but in my heart I wanted to bring back that elephant.

It’s also not a commonly known fact that the “peaceful and noble” elephants are, sometimes, total ****. I had a bad run-in with an elephant in Thailand that thought it was really funny dunking me in the river Kwai again and again. The locals thought it was hilarious too. But ever since, I’ve known them for what they really are – the giant grey bullies of the forest! So as an artist I drew from my suffering and humiliation to really make this guy an evil bastard. It fits our God of War universe perfectly.

This franchise is known for producing the most innovative and visually stunning takes on the colossal beasts of ancient Greek mythos to date. How much of a challenge is it to constantly up the ante on the design of these legendary creatures?

Izzy: Character design on a franchise like this is both a blessing and a curse. You have the profound joy of painting monsters and certain scandalous body parts for a living. You get the thrill of being part of a project steeped in bad-ass myth that is vibrant with history and exciting imagery. The cost is rough, however. We are always trying to top ourselves.

Our benchmark for bad-assery is so high that the pressure is nail-bitingly intense. My team’s task is simple. Kick ass. Constantly. It’s very hard, but much like Kratos, we just snarl, leap in, and hack into the meat of these things!

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At first glance, the Elephantaur looks like a towering brute with an anger issue! However, if you pay attention to the intricacies, there is a ton of detail there. He is literally decked out in full battle gear. Everything from his barbed tusks and morning star trunk to his gigantic, man-sized club just screams BOSS! What was the intent of giving him that many tools of destruction?

Izzy: The Minotaur in the last God of War game was a savage beast. We toyed with some versions where the creature was armored up, and a bit more intelligent, but something really primal won out on that one. I feel that the Elephantaur is the perfect marriage of brutality with homicidal intellect. I felt he should have weapons and armor that were deadly but also a little elegant. His tusks have long nasty blades attached to them, and he grips a deadly elephant-style cestus with his trunk.

All of this was meant to give him the appearance of a heavy martial artist that had total command of his tools. Only the Elephantaur can wield such a deadly club. If you pause our E3 gameplay footage you will see that it’s made of the tusks of his fallen enemies. I like to imply some culture and history in these designs, and that small tidbit makes me imagine the culture he comes from.

For much more on the Elephantaur, including additional concept art, head on over to the official God of War site now.

0 Author replies

Can’t wait to play this game in 3D!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Awesome, it’s great to hear about the process of designing enemies like that. It’s cool seeing enemy design like that in a game based on all that Greek mythos, it makes sense in the God of War world, in games like Asura’s Wrath though I felt that they took a pretty lazy route in just making elephants, rhinos and monkeys red and calling them bad guys, lol. I’m also interested in the AI, movesets, speed, frequency of attacks, how telegraphed the attacks are and all that kind of stuff when it comes to an action game like a God of War though, the gameplay we’ve seen so far has been great but I hope we get to see some more soon, maybe at Gamescom / TGS? :)

chrisandsheva 02 August, 2012 @ 14:58

@ Izzy
spot on with your ‘creation’ and a defo plus 1 for your description, cannot wait to go up against this thing, and obviously the game itself, bring it.

Have to ask, i was lucky enough to be sent a early demo access for GoW3, is there anything similar in pipeline for Ascension ?, IF so PLEASE put my id on the computer/list… Well if you don’t ask you don’t get. Thanks.


the elephantour looks kinda stupid, but the grapics are stunning, its so epic, cant wait for 2013, its gonna be BIG

They should inform the character designers that elephants didnt exist in Greece… as wild animals at least, but i doubt that ancient greeks imported elephants…oh well whats the point to be correct in a game like this, its still one of my favourite franchises from Playstation. The elephant though looks stupid and not that dangerous, its actually something that you see and then you laugh xD

So Hindu mythology has crept into this Greek royal rumble.
The Minotaur should still have the upper’horn’ as he is a little lighter on his hooves.

It’s not stupid, just out of place, if God of War was based on Hindu mythology it would be perfectly fine.


Stupid or not, it looks like one angry elephant.


Looks absolutely stupid IMO. Really cheaply done and included.


elephants would have been to the armies of Greece and those that settled in its Egyptian territories. Greece conquered the known world so adding an elephantine beast could easily be incorporated into Greek mythology.

StreetKing555 07 August, 2012 @ 22:35

buying on first day!!!

StreetKing555 07 August, 2012 @ 22:36

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