If there’s one God of War character that deserves his own spin-off game, it’s Baldur.
Kratos’ unmitigated quest to obliterate every divine pantheon in the history of mankind goes on alive and well with his new foray into the cold Nordic lands (after killing all the Greek gods). The God of War’s battle against the deities of Asgard has seen the inclusion of some of the most nuanced characters in the franchise’s history so far, with each new Asgardian having some fascinating backstory that’s worth looking into.
When it comes to tragic characters featured in this epic franchise, one that stands out even more than Kratos himself is Baldur, from 2018’s God of War (developed by Santa Monica Studio and published by Sony Interactive Entertainment). A woeful Aesir with a complicated past, Baldur (son of Odin) serves as the main antagonist in Kratos’ latest Asgardian escapade.
The story of a god destined to die and the overbearing protection of love that deprived him of everything in his immortal life is truly the stuff of legends. A character with the level of emotional development and narrative potential that Baldur has would indeed be wasted appearing in just one video game — even if that game is one of the most narratively shocking games of the last generation.
Woes of an Immortal
The concept of immortality is nothing new for the God of War series — after all, these are games that deal with killing individuals that people always conceived as unkillable. While most gods use their immortality for morally questionable deeds, their actions usually have to do with satiating their base impulses. However, Baldur’s immortality leads him to an eternity of numbness.
Baldur’s mother Freya (the witch of the woods and Queen of the Valkyries in the God of War games) knew that the Aesir would die a “needless death,” so she cast a spell on him that made him invulnerable to any threats. A side effect of the spell was that Baldur also couldn’t experience any pain or satisfaction — he wasn’t even able to tell that the snow was cold.
In Norse mythology, Baldur (who boasts a large collection of tattoos in the video game) is also a very tragic character, mostly due to his interactions with his half-brother Thor and Loki, the god of mischief. A game that focuses solely on Baldur could draw some inspiration from Norse legends, and could also serve as a great expansion to the new God of War mythos.
Characters like Thor and Odin will have an expanded role in the upcoming God of War: Ragnarök and Baldur’s story could serve as a proper bridge to better understand the relationship between the Aesir and the Vanir — not to mention that it would be the first game in the series that doesn’t have Kratos as the main character.
Side Note: A God of War camera hack reveals a hilarious Easter Egg, wherein Baldur flips Kratos off during their first big battle. There’s no doubt that the final fight and the opening battle will go down in gaming and boss fights history.
Why We Need Spin-Offs
Not counting any compilations or cellphone games, Kratos has starred in seven God of War games. While that might be understandable from a marketing point of view, some could argue that there was no need for the Spartan to even set foot on the gelid lands of Norse mythology in the first place.
Baldur (the Norse Aesir god of light) would have been a great character to start the new era of God of War in the Asgardian saga. While it might be a bit late to do so now — especially since he’s now deceased (Kratos broke Baldur’s neck using Spartan Rage) — that doesn’t mean that Baldur couldn’t be the protagonist of his own spin-off series of God of War games. In fact, the game could lead up to the death of Baldur.
Spin-offs like this keep the interest in the series alive, and it’s not like there are not so many stories involving Baldur in the Norse pantheon either. A complex character like Baldur, with a sympathetic and tragic story like his — not to mention his awesome powers — would definitely garner some fans.
Perhaps Ragnarök could signal the end of an era for the franchise (give Kratos and his son Atreus a break), allowing more characters like Baldur to earn their time under the spotlight from time to time. If it worked well for Devil May Cry and Vergil, it will work for God of War and Baldur. The Norse god of light will be a really fun character to play with.