Finally! On April 20th one of Sony PlayStation’s flagship franchises finally hits the current generation.
Spartan warrior Kratos returns to dole out his own form of punishment to the gods of Norse mythology in God of War, changing things up from the Greek Pantheon which he eviscerated in the original trilogy on the PlayStation 2 and 3.
Gameplay and a show reel from E3 2017 aside, little info has been released on the new game which showed Kratos is his new wintry environment and battling troll like beings. Said sequence ends with Kratos going up against a gigantic sea serpent rumored to be one of Loki’s sons, Jormungandr. The most interesting part of this reveal was that Kratos was not alone: he will be accompanied in his adventures by his son Atreus.
In preparation for God of War’s entrance in to the next generation of gaming, lets look back at the previous games in the franchise and examine how a very angry Spartan became Sony’s poster boy.
Spartans, Gods And Extreme Violence
God of War on PlayStation 2 (2005)
The hack and slasher premiered on the PlayStation 2. Developed by Sony’s Santa Monica Studio under Game Director David Jaffe (Twisted Metal). With a mix of button bashing battles and puzzles to solve. The player was transported in to the world of Greek myth of Clash of the Titans and Jason and the Argonauts but with the adult twist of violence and sex mini games which would become the calling card of the game series.
Legendary Spartan warrior Kratos is recruited by Athena to destroy the God of War Ares who is threatening the Greek Gods. Kratos must find the legendary Pandora’s Box to attain the power needed to take down a God. Through his quest he meets Zeus, Poseidon, Artemis, Hades and Aphrodite. Through the story Kratos learns that he was once a plaything of Ares and was tricked in to murdering his family, further motivating Kratos to take down Ares and become the new God of War.
Hades was voiced by video game legend Nolan North and Oscar winner Linda Hunt voiced the game’s narrator.
God of War II on PlayStation 2 (2007)
For the sequel David Jaffe became Creative Director and it was the original game’s lead animator Cory Barlog would now become Game Director.
Kratos has become angered by the Gods and following an opening battle against an animated Colossus of Rhodes is tricked by Zeus and is killed. But being Greek myth he is not dead for long. The Titan Gaia saves Kratos and gives him the quest to bring down Zeus with the help of the Sisters of Fate. In this adventure Kratos comes across the mythical legends, Typhon, Prometheus, Cronos, Perseus and Icarus. Kratos also gets to ride Pegasus and use Icarus’ wings. With siding with the Titans, Zeus and the Gods try and end Kratos and ‘unleashes the Kraken’ against him. Kratos must defeat monsters likeGorgons, Harpies, Minotaurs, Cyclops, Griffins and Sirens to get to the final battle with Zeus.
Linda Hunt narrator now becomes the voice of Gaia and the acting talent is complimented with Michael Clark Duncan as Atlas and Clash of the Titans Harry Hamlin reprising the role of Perseus.
God of War: Chains of Olympus on PlayStation Portable (2008)
With the game franchise being a Sony exclusive it was an obvious avenue to take to use the brand to sell their portable gaming system.
This game is set within the 10 years of service to the Greek Gods and involves Kato’s attempting to foil the plans of Morpheus and Persephone. One of the memorable battles is against the Basilisk. The game was one of the highest rated PlayStation Portable games on Metacritic at 91/100.
God of War III on PlayStation 3 (2010)
With new PlayStation 3 released Sony wanted a new God of War to help sell it. Previous Game Director, Cory Barlog left after 8 months of development of the third instalment to be replaced by Art Director, Stig Asmussen.
Having fought with the Titans in their attempt to overthrow Zeus and Co, Kratos is soon abandoned again. This time he wishes to destroy not only the Greek Gods but the Titans as well. With the help of Athena, Kratos must travel through the Underworld and seek the Flame of Olympus the only weapon capable of defeating Zeus. Kratos must again seek out Pandora and her box to find the God ending weapon. Again Kratos must fight his way through Gorgons, Cyclops, and Satyrs to get to the Gods, Zeus, Poseidon, Hades and co.
Again the developers have managed to up the acting talent on show. God of War III included Clancy Brown as Hades, Rip Torn as Hephaestus, Malcolm McDowell as Daedalus and Kevin Sorbet as Hercules.
God of War: Ghost of Sparta on PlayStation Portable (2010)
Again Sony bring Kratos to its portable device. Set between God of War I and II. Kratos is haunted by his mortal past so seeks to find his mother. Then discovering he has a brother Deimos who has been imprisoned by the Gods. Kratos must again take the fight to the Gods and free his brother. This story helps to build the motivation and anger of Kratos when he returns in part 2 and is resentful of the Gods.
God of War Ascension on PlayStation 3 (2013)
Set 10 years before the first installment. This game sees Kratos imprisoned by the three Furies for breaking a blood oath to Ares following the killing of Kratos’ wife and daughter. The player must escape the prison and confront the Furies so that he can be freed of the bond to Ares.
A major development in this game was the addition of a Multiplayer element with both competitive and cooperative modes. The multiplayer mode also included downloadable content for the first time in the franchise.
God of War on PlayStation 4 (2018)
It has been 5 years and a release of a new generation of console since Ascension. At 2016’s E3 Sony announced the new launch of God of War. The video reel showed a whole new gameplay mechanic for the series. Gone was the button bashing, multi weapon selection to be replaced by a more RPG the Last of Us style hybrid. This was reiterated with the reveal that Kratos will not be alone in the instalment and will be assisted/hindered by his son Atreus, like Joel and Ellie. It appears that Kratos’ weapons of choice is an axe and bow with a shield. Success in game leads to gaining XP and improving skills.
The new game marks the return of Cory Barlog as Games Director and a move from Greece to Norse environments which opens the door to a new set of monsters and Gods for the Spartan. The game does not appear to have a multiplayer element at the moment but there are pre-order DLC bonuses available to upgrade weapons and shields to improve your chances in the game. The new game also seems to have learned from the problems of EA’s Star Wars: Battlefront II and refrained from using the Pay 2 Win Loot Crate system. Santa Monica Studios has also not confirmed if there will be any DLC for the game that will add extra story content.
The only casting information on the game is that a new voice actor will be playing Kratos, Christopher Judge and that the music for the game was composed by The Walking Dead’s Bear McCreary.
The game is scheduled to be released on 20 April 2018 and should be one of the biggest gaming releases of the year. On 12 April 2018 the review embargo was lifted and it looks like the game is going to be a hit with amazing scored with usual negative IGN giving the game 10/10 and calling it a “Masterpiece”.