I think we can all agree that 2018’s award-winning God of War was a sparkling gem of a game; a melancholy story about fatherhood, forgiveness, and the heavy toll that a life drenched in blood and violence extracts (with some top-notch gameplay, no less).
While burying a magic axe into the head of Norse demons would have felt satisfying no matter who was doing it, I don’t think the game’s main themes would have worked half as well if Kratos wasn’t the star of the game.
After all, we’d spent the original trilogy and its spinoffs getting to know a version of Kratos who was a brutal, murderous powerhouse who didn’t really think about anything besides revenge (and sometimes sex). That 2018’s God of War presented us with an older, more cautious version of the character – one struggling to raise a son no less – was an inspired choice.
As it turns out, God of War could have been a very different game – one that didn’t feature the Ghost of Sparta at all. God of War director Cory Barlog recently spoke to Eurogamer during Gamelab in Barcelona, where he revealed that early discussions considered ditching Kratos.
Barlog explained that “Early in discussion, people were saying we had to get rid of Kratos. It was like, ‘he’s annoying, he’s done’.” The director said that members of the development team felt that Kratos’ journey was over, and the game should focus on an entirely new protagonist.
Fortunately, Barlog was able to convince his team that there was still potential in Kratos yet. The idea was that the game would be about a shift in personality for the anti-hero, essentially making him a “new” character, but one that was heavily burdened by the horrors the “old” Kratos had committed (namely the horrific murder of like, every single Greek God).
This decision also helped inspire the eventual inclusion of Atreus, Kratos’ son. The rest, as we know, is history. God of War went to on to smash all manner of sales records for Sony, and sweep up a bunch of awards, including Game of the Year 2018.
While we’ve yet to receive official word on a sequel to God of War, it looks like Sony Santa Monica is currently hiring for a follow up. It also seems as if said follow up will be releasing for the PlayStation 5, which is terribly exciting news.
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Ewan Moore is a journalist at UNILAD Gaming who still quite hasn’t gotten out of his mid 00’s emo phase. After graduating from the University of Portsmouth in 2015 with a BA in Journalism & Media Studies (thanks for asking), he went on to do some freelance words for various places, including Kotaku, Den of Geek, and TheSixthAxis, before landing a full time gig at UNILAD in 2016.