God of War 4 was probably one of the coolest surprises at E3 2016. Sony showed off a gorgeous nine minute video of Kratos hunting in the woods with a kid.
This created more questions than it answered. Despite having a great first look at the game, God of War 4 was still kind of mysterious.
Thankfully God of War Creative Director Cory Barlog and Kratos voice actor Christopher Judge were on hand during E3 to explain a little bit more about the project.
First up, as suspected, the kid in the trailer is actually Kratos’ son. Kratos is an older gentleman now, and is learning what it is to be a dad and take care of this little life – something he definitely isn’t used to doing. We don’t know the kid’s name yet, as it’s being held back deliberately.
The development team kicked around a few different potential eras before finally settling on Norse mythology. This is an era when according to the vikings, the gods used to walk the Earth among men.
Unfortunately, this world is also extremely hostile. Kratos’ son is the only one of the two of them who understands the local language, which creates an entirely new and interesting dynamic.
We’ve been told not to expect the same old Kratos either. Obviously, now he’s a dad, he’s looking at the world through a different lens. He’s no longer the super angry Kratos we knew from before, but he often struggles to keep himself in check in front of his son.
If all of this sounds pretty ambitious story wise, then you’d be right – According to Judge, the script of the game is not simply a script for a videogame, but is a “fully fleshed out story with fleshed out characters” that have full emotional ranges.
In terms of gameplay, Barlog said that the game has been done from the ground up:
The main thing we’re doing is we’re reimagining the gameplay, kind of tearing it down, rebuilding it from scratch, and continuing the storyline. We’re carrying the mythology we’ve created with God of War and bringing it into Norse mythology.
While the game looks absolutely massive, it still won’t be open world, so you can expect a fairly linear story driven experience. There are gonna be some RPG elements, but these have yet to be specified.
If you’ve watched the trailer, then you’ll know Kratos has a cool new axe weapon. Going with a new weapon was a very deliberate design choice, because it leads to new ways to play.
We’ve been promised a new set of controls and ways of using the controller that we’ve never seen in a God of War game before.
All in all, it seems the main theme of God of War 4 is based around the idea of teaching, which is a drastic departure from the norm.
You’ll play as Kratos for the entire game, and will be able to constantly interact with his son via a single button dedicated to promting your offspring into certain actions.
These actions range anywhere from puzzle solving and combat situations, to light hearted banter and (I assume) the odd telling off.
It seems like God of War 4 is all set to be a very different beast to anything we’ve seen Kratos do before, and I’m very much in favour of that.
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.