The news that a new God of War game would be released was met with a cheer that could crumble the foundations of Olympus. However, Kratos basically did this already. While there was quite a few surprises hidden in the announcement trailer, one thing left fans both excited and confused. Kratos, the game’s normally gruff, angry, and violent protagonist, was now also a dad (although, judging from his past, I’m guessing he’s not getting a 1# Dad mug for Father’s Day). This revelation came as a surprise and has the potential to help the developers create a more personal narrative that not only focuses on beating mythological beasts and gods to a pulp but also on the relationship between Kratos and his son. As the excitement for the game’s release grows, we decided to put together a list of things we’d love to see in the final game.
1. What, Where, When?
When the first trailer for God of War was released many, including myself, were left perplexed. Not only was Kratos, the man who could tear a god’s head clean from his body now a father but the game takes place in a new realm based on Norse mythology. Gone is the azure seas and sunshine of Greece. Instead, it’s replaced by the cold and snowy mountains of what we assume is Europe. So, one big question remains unanswered, how on earth did Kratos end up in this place? Sure, it’s great to see Kratos sporting a magnificent new beard (one of which I am truly jealous) and wielding what can only be referred to as kick-ass axe, however, this doesn’t mean that we should be content with not knowing how Kratos arrived in this strange snow-covered realm in the first place.
Now, we are not saying the game should give us an in-depth analysis of how Kratos found himself wandering the frozen wastes along with his son Atreus. What we are hoping is that we get filled in about what exactly happened after Kratos basically killed everyone in Greece, even if it is revealed bit by bit as the story unfolds. Judging by some of the more recent trailers, the narrative seems to focus on how Kratos copes with this new-found responsibility as a father.
In the trailers, we get a glimpse of Kratos revealing elements of his past to his son. This would be a perfect way to learn more about the fate of Greece and its pantheon of Gods through the eyes of Atreus. Basically, the game shouldn’t leave us completely in the dark but should instead reveal elements of Kratos’ fascinating past.
2. Fear the wrath of an angry God
Did Kratos truly kill everyone in Greece? Surely some of the more nefarious/sneaky gods of ancient Greece could have survived?
Well, that’s what we are hoping to see revealed in the new God of War game. We are well aware that Kratos killed most of the Greek gods in God of War III but what if some of the lesser deities survived? What if one of these survivors made it to Europe just like Kratos? It has been revealed by the developer that Kratos’ previous escapades will still play a role in the new game and won’t be wiped from existence.
While this seems highly unlikely, the appearance of one of the Greek gods could help tie the new game to the previous entries in the franchise and help fill in some of the game’s missing narrative beats. Obviously, Kratos would not take kindly to one of his previous tormentors making an appearance and would make sure that they quickly join their fellow Greek gods in Hades.
We’ve recently seen Kratos having to deal with his wife’s death, but what if her death was the cause of a vengeful Greek god? What if Kratos is hiding from those that are hunting him? What if they finally found him? This could make for an interesting twist and one that could neatly tie the franchise up in one blood-soaked package.
3. Like father, like son
The one video game character everyone would agree would be their absolute last choice for a dad now has a son. While we all know Kratos is anything but dad material, this “fish out of water” situation could be just what the franchise needs to help reinvigorate it. We’ve already seen Kratos teaching Atreus how to survive their brutal surroundings by tracking and hunting prey but, more importantly, we’ve recently seen Kratos revealing to his son that they are more than just mortals.
This seems to be an important part of the game’s narrative as Kratos must deal with the fact that his son has begun to realise that both he and his father are not just mere human beings, even if Kratos tried to initially hide this from his him. Having Kratos trying to explain to Atreus how to manage his anger and basically do what Kratos himself couldn’t in the past makes for a fascinating study of what it means to learn from your past mistakes.
This more personal narrative focused approach, if done correctly, could make the new God of War game stand shoulder to shoulder with its narrative-driven counterparts (like The Last of Us and Uncharted). Sure, we all still want to see Kratos beat stuff to a pulp but having the story focus on more than just screaming and fighting, by having it include more tender moments as we get to see the relationship between Kratos and his son evolve, could make for an inspiring game.
4. Asgardian heroes and villains
The second we heard that the new God of War game would take place in the realm of Norse mythology, every single comic and gaming fan had the same question rushing through their minds: will we see the god of thunder fighting Kratos? With Thor becoming such an important part of pop culture, thanks in part to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, it would seem implausible that the god of thunder wouldn’t at least make an appearance. I mean, in a game filled with burly, shirtless, screaming, weapon-wielding men, Thor would fit right in. While seeing Kratos inevitably beating Thor into little crispy pieces with his own hammer would be awesome, there are so many ways in which the developers could make a Kratos vs Thor boss battle one to rival those from previous titles in the franchise.
I can already hear everybody asking, “What about Loki and Odin?”
I would think that an appearance from the almighty god of gods, Odin, would be a given, considering that he basically is Zeus’ one-eyed counterpart in the Norse realm. There is already speculation that we will be seeing both Odin and Loki making an appearance. Could Loki be pulling the strings behind the scenes and manipulating Odin in confronting Kratos? This would make sense as Loki has always been orchestrating all sorts of schemes from the shadows throughout film and comic book history. One thing is certain, those who stand in Kratos’ way end up taking a short trip to the land of the dead.
5. I have an axe to grind
With Kratos’ losing the infamous Blades of Chaos, he has instead decided to wield a more traditional axe as his weapon of choice. The new axe helps combat feel more visceral, forcing Kratos to get up close and personal with his foes, unlike the Blades of Chaos which gave Kratos the option of keeping his distance.
While the change might have some concerned, it’s important to note that this is no ordinary axe. Kratos’ new toy, while looking like your run of the mill lets-chop-some-firewood axe, actually has a few tricks up its sleeve (hilt?). For one, the axe channels some sort of magical ice power, as seen in a previous trailer, which allows it to freeze enemies in place or obliterate them with an ice wave (get ready for a slew of ice-based puns). Secondly, and probably the coolest (I warned you) part of this new weapon, is that, similar to Thor’s hammer, Kratos’ axe can be summoned to return to his hand. This means that if Kratos throws his axe and misses his intended target, he is able to recall his weapon to his hand. Should the axe hit any enemies on its way back to Kratos it will cause damage to them. Basically, the axe functions as an air-conditioned boomerang made for dispatching the various nasties that roam the wilds.
If you played any of the previous games in the franchise, you’ll also know that Kratos loves to mix things up and isn’t content with using just one weapon. This leaves the door wide open for some unique new weapons to experiment with. We’ve already seen Kratos using a shield but, what other weapons would Kratos be able to wield? As mentioned, there is a chance that Thor might make an appearance, and with Kratos being in the habit of killing gods and then “borrowing” their weapons, could we see Kratos beating down ice giants using the powerful Mjolnir? Of course, Odin himself wields a powerful weapon just begging to be placed in Kratos’ hands. The spear Gungnir, while having a silly name, is probably one of the most powerful Norse weapons out there, thanks to the spear’s ability to never miss it’s intended target. Even if the weapon is thrown by someone with absolutely no skill it will still hit whatever the wielder aimed for. Imagine how destructive this weapon could be with Kratos wielding it.
There is no shortage of magical weapons available in Norse mythology, thanks to the gods’ love for combat and all manner of shiny sharp and deadly objects. Let’s hope Kratos will be able to get his hands on some of these.
6. Places to go, people to see
The original God of War trilogy is well known for keeping the player focused on one path and one objective (killing everything in sight). With it’s fixed camera angles, there was very little opportunity for exploration. Hopefully this changes in the new game. While we are certainly not expecting an open-world filled to the brim with all kinds of activities and quests, it would be a missed opportunity if the new game wasn’t less linear.
With the franchise being known for their beautifully crafted and creative environments, we truly hope that we get to explore a bit more of our surroundings. Recent reports suggest that the Zelda franchise were an inspiration for the new game as far as exploration is concerned. This doesn’t mean that Kratos and Atreus will be exploring vast and open environments but rather that there will be room for a little more exploration than fans are used to.
As an example of how this more open non-linear structure can be implemented in a narrative-driven game one has to look no further than Uncharted 4, which, while still retaining a focused story and actions set-pieces, did give players a sense of freedom at certain points in the game. Another aspect which could elevate the new game from previous iterations would be the inclusion of side-quests.
Now, before you scream “but this isn’t an RPG!”, let us just explain. When referring to side-quests we are merely referring to side-activities or small optional quests, not the drawn-out affairs that one finds in more RPG focused games. At its core, the new God of War game should still be an action adventure game with a focused narrative but giving the player the option to delve a little deeper in the mythology of the world.