The Gods are dead, and Kratos has moved on.
The new God of War, unveiled at Sony’s theatrical press conference, is a continuation of Kratos’ story, but a continuation that will have us accompany him after he’s started a new life. Kratos will be far more self aware than he’s ever been in, a self awareness that’s reflected by Santa Monica Studios. Creative Director Corey Barlog recognizes that the franchise has painted Kratos as a one note “Hulk” without the Bruce Banner. However in the E3 demo, you can see how conscious Kratos is about keeping his anger in check, as he takes a deep breath before demanding that his son not shoot the deer without his command. This new chapter in the God of War franchise is a way that the studio will course correct Kratos’ personality through a natural arc into fatherhood.
Some time has passed, and the former god of war has left the wasteland that is Greece and made his way to Scandinavia, the regional birthplace of Norse Mythology. How Kratos came into fatherhood is unknown at this time, with details on his son’s mother kept at a mum, however the relationship between him and his son is both a core story element, and core mechanic in God of War.
What we saw in the battle between Kratos, his son, and the troll in the E3 demo was just a glimpse at the interaction that players will see between the two. For a moment, you’ll notice that when Kratos orders his son to shoot the troll for the first time, he commanded a lightening arrow as he hit it. Kratos’ son is a demigod just like him, and will prove to be capable of holding his own s you’ll issue orders to him throughout the story. God of War is looking suspiciously like The Last of Us, where both Kratos and Joel have lost their children, and are looking to find new paternal identity in their newly adopted young.
If you paid close attention to the E3 demo, you’ll notice hints of additional systems at play with “Tracking +25” and “Dauthamunni Discovered” text appearing across the screen. God of War will be a very different game than its pure character action predecessors. Crafting resources and other collectibles can be gathered in this new mythological setting, and as for the discovery of new areas, God of War will be structured similarly to the most recent Tomb Raider games where areas can be revisited.
Santa Monica is taking God of War in such a new radical direction that many didn’t even think that this was the same Kratos that murdered gods and shacked up with women for red orbs. Everything about this new installment is unrecognizable, from the presentation, to the story, to the combat, to the game’s very structure itself. Let’s hope that God of War wasn’t shown too early, because it’s easily become one of the most anticipated titles on Playstation 4.