God of War has consumed my life over the past week. When it released last Friday, I took the day off from my day job and proceeded to sink an ungodly amount of hours into the game over the next two days. Come Saturday night, I had seen Kratos and Atreus’ journey through to its conclusion and began searching around for my jaw to pick it up off of the floor. God of War‘s ending was so perfect when considering the game’s character-focused narrative. The only issue is that it left me wanting so much more — which I guess is technically a good thing.
Unfortunately, it’ll likely be years before we ever see what happens next in the God of War franchise. We’ll probably even be playing the next entry in the series on completely new PlayStation hardware by the time it does finally release. Despite this, I haven’t been able to stop myself from theorizing and thinking for the past week about what I want to see from the next God of War.
So let’s do just that, right here. Fair warning though: we will be diving into some incredibly detailed spoilers dealing with the ending of God of War, so this will be something you might not want to read until you finish the game for yourself. And even if you don’t mind spoilers, this is one game I’d highly suggest you try to keep yourself away from until you experience it for yourself. It’s just that good.
***MAJOR SPOILERS AHEAD***
Continuing to Grow and Contextualize Atreus
The biggest twist in all of God of War is that Atreus is indeed Loki. It’s a twist that I surely didn’t see coming and I have a feeling that the same can be said for many. But what exactly does it mean for Atreus to be the trickster god? As we’ve seen in the God of War series in the past, Santa Monica Studio doesn’t necessarily play into your expectations with their depictions of these mythological characters. Is Atreus destined to become “evil” or will he be completely different from the Loki we typically think of?
As we learn from many characters throughout God of War, Thor, Odin, and many of the other Norse gods don’t seem to be all that kind. This isn’t in line with what most people would think of when imagining these gods — especially Marvel fans. In this same line of thinking, Loki is the one god amongst the Norse pantheon that we think of being the worst of the worst. His constant scheming has led to the deaths of many — Loki is responsible for the death of Baldur in Norse mythos — and his characteristics aren’t desirable in the slightest. However, I think that these traits and trickery, if contextualized properly, could be painted in a different light.
Let’s assume that Atreus does grow into the Loki we’re familiar with. He’s deceiving, he stirs up conflict, and he can indeed shapeshift into a wolf. While these attributes would potentially be worrisome, what if he used them to take advantage of the Norse gods that we know to be bad? Yes, what I’m suggesting is that if Odin and Thor are considered the “bad guys” in this next slate of games, maybe the trickery that Loki typically uses wouldn’t be a bad thing if used to undercut and take down these gods.
To me, this would be an interesting and unique spin on Norse mythology to instead see Loki using his powers for a good cause that we the player are aware of, even if it’s not made known to every other character in the game. It’d portray Atreus as a sort of anti-hero, which is similar to what his father Kratos also was.
Regardless of the plans that Santa Monica Studio has with Atreus, I’m excited to see his journey ahead and learn more about how he grows into this role. Knowing that the next game will likely take place a few years into the future excites me and I’m very eager to see if this boy will become the Loki we identify with, or if he will use his mischief for good.
Explaining the Relationship Between Atreus and Jormungand
By the end of God of War, we have learned a lot about the characters and world that Kratos now finds himself in, but there are still so many questions left to be answered.
Of all of these questions, the one I so desperately want to know more of is the relationship between Atreus and the World Serpent, Jormungand. Probably the most intriguing moment of God of War’s entire story for me occurred when Mimir told Atreus that the Jormungand recognized him. This shouldn’t be possible considering the two have never met before the events of this game. Or have they?
Upon reaching the game’s conclusion and learning that Atreus is Loki, this familiarity that Jormungand has for Atreus starts to make more sense. For those who weren’t aware, Loki is the father of Jormungand in Norse myth. Yes, somehow Loki births that gigantic snake at some point. Don’t ask me how.
Mimir hints that when Jormungand and Thor fight during Ragnarok, time will become distorted which could lead to Atreus somehow getting sent somewhere else in time. It’s hard to say with certainty what a potential time jump could do because, well, time travel is messy, but I’m definitely thinking Atreus is somehow going to get sent back in time and then birth the World Serpent — as depicted in the mural at Jotunheim — before the events of this game take place. That’s just one of the literal dozens of theories that I have bouncing around in my head right now — I’ll spare you of the others.
No matter what ends up happening in the next game, there’s clearly more to be developed between Atreus and his snake son, and I’m curious to see how it comes about.
Tyr and the Gods of Other Regions
The tale of the Norse god of war, Tyr, made for an interesting B-plot throughout God of War, though his importance extends far beyond that of just what’s happening in Scandinavia and stretches to the rest of the world. One of the most fascinating moments when learning of Tyr’s backstory came when discovering that he began traveling to other regions in the pursuit of meeting their gods and establishing peace.
Up until this point in the game, we really weren’t made aware of any gods from countries outside of Greece and Scandinavia. Santa Monica Studios did some truly phenomenal world-building, however, when subtly revealing through Tyr’s story that the gods of Egyptian and Mayan cultures are very much present in this world.
I find the existence of these other gods to be quite thought-provoking and in the next game, I would love to learn a bit more about them. Assuming the next God of War title continues to expand on Tyr’s backstory, I think to continue to shed light on these gods through the use of Tyr’s journey would be a good way to reveal more info.
I say this, however, knowing that we likely won’t get much else info about these gods and who they are. Not now, at least. Focusing on these other regions too much would likely take the spotlight off of the Norse gods at hand. Still, I’d love to continue seeing further teases and hints of just what lies in these other locales. It’s fun to feel like there is still so much of this world that we have no knowledge of.
Kratos Continuing to Reveal More of His Dark Past
Some of the most powerful scenes in all of God of War occurred when Kratos finally did the one thing he struggled so much with — telling the truth. The scenes in which Kratos told his son that he was a god — along with the conversation about how he killed his own father — really allowed Kratos to feel human and vulnerable. Two things that he normally isn’t.
I’d love nothing more than to see more of these moments in the next game, especially because Atreus still has no idea about some of the things that have happened to his father. While he might now know the footnotes, he still isn’t privy to the fact that Kratos used to have another wife and daughter. There’s also the sheer magnitude of damage that Kratos caused upon Greece that Atreus still isn’t aware of. Even though Kratos told him that he killed many who didn’t deserve to die, I’d like to see him reveal that he essentially wiped out the entire region because of his actions.
Continuing to see Kratos open up about his past would further deepen the relationship between himself and his son. It would also likely help Kratos to continue to try to atone for his past by speaking aloud what it is that he did. Kratos’ actions in the past God of War games are pretty much unforgivable, but seeing him continuing to open up to someone else about what transpired would show that he’s trying to make amends for what he did, whether he’s conscious of this or not.
Even if Kratos doesn’t open up much more about what happened to him in his past life, I have no doubt that the next God of War will contain just as many emotionally powerful moments that we saw in this game, and that excites me.
The Death of Kratos
I feel like my opinion here will be the most divisive, but I really do believe that it’s important to kill Kratos off at some point in this series.
This moment is hinted at in the game’s conclusion through the wall painting done by Faye, and I think this coming to fruition is vital for this franchise to continue onward after this Norse-focused run of games. We’re playing as a Kratos that seems as if he’s reached his end: his only goal in life at this point is to ensure that he can raise his son properly. Once Atreus can be his own man though, Kratos loses purpose in this series. I think the final way to give his character a sense of purpose would be to have him pass away in a fashion that further tries to redeem his character.
As for when this will happen in the series, I’m still unsure. I think the next entry in the series would make the most sense because it then allows Atreus to step into the player-controlled character role for the third game, in what I’m assuming will be another three-part trilogy. Or maybe it won’t happen at all and it will turn out that this was the one instance in which Faye predicted an incorrect future. It’s hard to know for certain right now.
It’s strange for me to say that I think Kratos needs to die so quickly after now becoming a character that I greatly enjoy, but the writing seems to be on the wall — literally — that his time will soon be coming to an end. Seeing this once-troubled character get one last chance at redemption before finally passing away could make for an even more emotionally-charged sequel, and it’s exactly what I’m hoping to see happen from the series.
These are just some of the very few things I’m dying to see more of in the next God of War. While I’ve lavished this game with enough praise already, I think one of its best aspects is that there’s still so much ground to cover in this world, and with Kratos and Atreus. I feel like we’ve just dipped our toe into the water by the end of this game, and now I’m ready to take a larger plunge into the next entry.
Enough of my babbling though: what are you hoping to see in the next God of War? I’d love to hear from you in the comments so that we can start bouncing crazy theories off of one another.