Yes, we’re starting this God of War piece off with a big ol’ spoiler warning. Now, I’m not going to sit here and lay out all the plot beats in bullet point form, but I’m going to get into some stuff here that I couldn’t with my review. I figure it’s fine now that the game has been out for a bit, as the piranhas have already fed at this point. Like I didn’t even know there was an extra ending until I saw “how to see the extra ending” pop up in my news feed. I’ll try to be as indirect or vague as possible, but I want to look forward a bit.
This is just for funsies, but one of the notable things about the new God of War is all the things that don’t happen. Yeah, that’s a weird way to look at a game, but that’s because the story deliberately introduces stuff about its world and then doesn’t follow up on them. So, let’s talk about the gameplay, let’s talk about the story, let’s talk about what a theoretical God of War: Probably a Subtitle Instead of a Number might be about.
God of War makes a big deal about Atreus, Kratos’ son, but the game is mostly still about Kratos. Atreus is a moral center for Kratos, one that helps the big guy work through his dadgame manpain. Sorry, but that’s the truth. I liked the game too; calm down. Anyway, there’s some pretty blatant teasing towards the end that makes me think Atreus will gradually take over the lead role or central focus of this new series, assuming Santa Monica is able or intends to stay on this path for multiple entries.
Perhaps Atreus could even end up taking over as the central playable character, maybe after a time skip or other story device that sees that specific tease I’m talking about through to the end. Or, marketing folks force Santa Monica to keep Kratos on the box forever. Both are just as likely.
Now, let’s talk about Odin. God of War has a laser-focused story, where it is all about Kratos and Atreus spreading Kratos' wife's/Atreus' mother’s ashes. Lots of other stuff happens and there’s a ton of world-building in the background. Most of it is listening to a disembodied head vomiting lore at you during boat rides, but AAA gotta AAA. One major character introduced in dialogue only is Odin. We constantly feel the presence of Odin through the consequences of his crappy behavior and his ravens, but we never meet him.
The same holds true for Thor. We fight his sons, we see statues of him all over the place, and we know he’s a big jerk too, but he never makes an appearance. It’s probably a big Captain Obvious moment on my part to suggest we’ll run into one or both of them in the next game. While this time around was all about a personal journey for the characters, Kratos and Atreus will likely have to spend the majority of the next story facing consequences for how much destruction they caused on their way.
Finally, while there was plenty of exploration in some of the wildly different Nordic locales, there was also a lot of unexplored ground in the main story path. Sure, you could venture to other realms as part of the side content, but there is still plenty of ground that could be covered as part of the actual story. Each realm also really only had one major setpiece, and we could easily revisit locations with new twists as well. It almost felt like the first game was more about teasing the setting, while the next game could be a full dive.
Hopefully this wasn’t as spoiler-heavy as it seemed, as I was able to hit my key points without going too much into the nitty-gritty. There are a few other points of contention that are major spoilers and also likely to already have plans in place, such as many revelations about Atreus’ past. But other than that, I think the above thoughts are the likeliest to manifest should God of War turn into a new series. And the way the game’s been received so far, it feels like a foregone conclusion. For those of you that have also finished God of War, hit me up with your thoughts on what could come to follow.