Spoilers for God of War follow.
Near the end of 2018’s God of War, the ominous Ragnarok snow started to fall, an obvious hint at the subject matter of a potential sequel. Certain plot revelations and an electrifying character reveal also went a long way to help nourish fan anticipation. Suffice to say a follow-up to the triumphant God of War was obvious, but it would not be explicitly announced until last year’s PS5 Showcase.
We saw sporadic flurries of snow fall across a black surface as a Greek omega symbol materialized on screen, composed of eight runes spelling out Ragnarok. The God of War sequel was at last made official and coming sooner than expected – sometime in 2021.
Of course, Ragnarok refers to the series of apocalyptic events in Norse mythology that led to the demise of several Norse gods. With Kratos thrown into the myth, fans are expecting a wild and violent ride. Sony’s Santa Monica Studio is tight-lipped as ever about their anticipated game, but we hope it can answer long-standing story threads and further amplify the exceptional gameplay.
10. Varied Weapons and New Powers
The Leviathan Axe could slice straight through Draugar, serve as a conduit for elemental powers, and return to the user’s hand with astonishing speed. Thanks to the Axe, fans were mostly satisfied with the drastic combat evolution. That said, the Leviathan Axe was Kratos’ primary weapon and there wasn’t much room for deviation.
Contrast this with God of War 3, where Kratos acquired various new abilities and weapons after slaying his enemies. He could bash heads in with Hercules’ gauntlets, dash with the boots of Hermes, and summon souls through the power of Hades.
Though the Leviathan Axe was one of the latest game’s few weapons, it had dozens of attacks and powers. The original trilogy, on the other hand, gave Kratos a glimpse of different god abilities. The Leviathan Axe could still serve as a primary weapon, but additional god-inspired abilities such as shapeshifting and foresight would freshen up the combat.
9. Original Gameplay Callbacks
In Super Mario Odyssey, our favorite plumber could encounter 2D side scroller segments for a nostalgic throwback to the original Mario games. The God of War sequel could borrow that same basic concept and have a similar throwback to its own predecessors. After all, it’s arguable the best part of 2018’s God of War was when Kratos reacquired the Blades of Chaos, gaining the power to destroy enemies with a flurry of fiery attacks.
Many God of War players have a deep connection to the original games, so another throwback could be a nice nod to long-time fans. Perhaps the camera could slowly back away from Kratos and emulate the arcade-style combat from the first six games. As Kratos is throwing his blades across the screen, the frantic orchestral music from the original game would kick in. Of course the sequel needs to stand on its own merits, but a few references to the franchise’s history will always be appreciated.
8. Expound the Greek Connection
At the end of God of War 3, Kratos had plunged his own sword through his torso and seemingly met his fate. After the credits, it was revealed that Kratos’ body was missing, hinting at his survival. The next time we see Kratos, he is cutting down a massive tree with his son Atreus. Here’s the twist: Kratos is in Norse mythology, leaving Greek mythology behind.
In one emotional scene, Kratos spoke to Athena, later being confronted by his father Zeus in Helheim. Based on these occurrences, it would seem the two pantheons are not as separate as one would expect. However, 2018’s God of War never fully clarified the connection.
Some fans have speculated that each pantheon of gods rule over a certain region. For instance, Kratos sent Greece into chaos then traveled to Scandinavia, an area unaffected by his previous exploits. This may be true but then the burden falls on the sequel to provide an explanation of the broader God of War mythos.
In practical terms, this could look like a flashback to the mysterious time between the original games and the latest God of War. Another possibility is a gameplay segment where Kratos must travel back to Greece, serving as a possible catalyst for reflection on previous actions.
7. A graphical powerhouse
After the surprising news that Horizon Forbidden West is a cross-generation game, all eyes shifted to God of War. With a 2021 release date, it’s likely the next God of War will come out for both current PlayStation consoles, since only a few games are full PS5 exclusives.
Among those PS5-only titles is the upcoming Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart, whose rift tearing mechanic is only functional with the PS5’s solid-state drive. Given the possibilities that such a game element raises, we hope something similar can be said for God of War’s sequel.
Specifically, we would want fast travel to be instant, furthering the continuous camera shot from the previous game. Additionally, a high framerate would help combat feel more flexible and responsive. 2018’s God of War was a graphical masterpiece for its generation; hopefully the same can be said for what’s to come.
6. Odin Appearance
Throughout God of War, Odin was a looming and terrifying presence that incited many of the game’s events. Mimir, the head accompanying Kratos, spoke of Odin’s undertaking to hunt down and murder all of the giants. As a matter of fact, Mimir himself was subjected to Odin’s torture day after day.
The Allfather also watched Kratos’ every move through green, ghost-like ravens. It’s clear to many that Odin is the omniscient mastermind behind all of Kratos’ hindrances and impediments over the course of the game.
God of War only ever characterized Odin through stories and the sight of his devastating impact on the world, though in fairness this lent him a presence that was at once intimidating and mystifying. A direct appearance by Odin, then, would be a momentous occasion and we’d love to see Kratos interact with the god.
In addition, such an appearance would shine a light on Odin’s plans and give players a better understanding of the overarching conflict. On top of that, the apocalyptic events of Ragnorak will accompany Odin. It’s the perfect opportunity for a cinematic encounter that could rupture the very essence of Norse mythology.
5. Atreus Gameplay
Most of the time, companions have a habit of not being very helpful in single-player games. In fact, they might even block the player’s view and stand in the corner, screaming orders the entire time. Atreus, on the other hand, jumps on enemy backs and stabs them to death. He also shoots a variety of arrows to either stun or kill them.
Atreus was as important to the story as Kratos, so important that his presence never felt like a hindrance. The majority of the God of War sequel should be played as Kratos, but it would make sense for Atreus to take the reins during a few segments, possibly to save Kratos or to go on a mission of his own.
In gameplay terms, it would be most reminiscent of the Ellie segments from 2013’s The Last of Us. Atreus can move faster than Kratos and weave around enemies with ease, in much the same way that Ellie was more agile than the older yet sturdier Joel Miller. The sequel could also add more powers for Atreus such as shapeshifting, which could culminate in a more strategic approach to combat.
4. Atreus/Loki Development
The end of God of War dropped a narrative bombshell in revealing that Atreus was actually a version of Loki, who in legend was the mischievous god known to cause all sorts of trouble for his brother Thor and father Odin. Since Santa Monica Studio took certain liberties with Norse myth, however, there is no telling what it’ll do with Atreus’ character.
God of War‘s ending also teased a haunting future where Atreus kills Kratos. After such teases, the sequel is sure to deliver some jaw-dropping revelations. We want the storyline to take risks and surprise players, with Atreus being the driving force behind these shocking story moments.
3. New Realms
It would be a grave disappointment if God of War reused all the same assets and environments from the first game. Santa Monica could easily plant the player in the same realms but add some snow to make it feel slightly different. In essence, this next God of War would be lacking in ambition and therefore fail to live up to the built-up hype.
We would much rather see Kratos explore Vanaheim, Svartalfheim, and even Asgard. Those realms were inaccessible in the previous game, perhaps intended to indicate that they were being saved for the sequel. The sequel should also add more realms wildly different from those that came before, with more intriguing side quests and wider areas to explore.
2. Varied and Bigger Boss Fights
If there was one thing to complain about in the last God of War, it was the shallow and repetitive boss fights. Most of these battles were against Trolls wielding long slabs of rock. When Kratos entered Helheim, players were expecting a divergent boss fight for the Bridge Keeper. Alas, the horned beast was just a glorified troll with some ice attacks thrown in.
This is odd when looking at past God of War boss fights. They were often massive in scale, at times a major selling point for the game. Some of the highlights include Poseidon riding on a multi-headed water dragon and Chronos, the largest enemy in God of War history.
We hope that 2018’s God of War chose to hold back on boss fights so that the series can bombard the audience with famous Norse gods in the sequel. For a game driven by the prospect of killing gods, there was a stark lack of gods in the previous game.
The next God of War needs to address that issue. There is enormous opportunity with beings like Freya, the wolf Fenrir, and the bird-like creature that loomed above Helheim.
1. Epic Thor opening.
Much like the last game started with an earth-splitting fight against the god Balder, God of War 2 should open with another, more intense boss fight. The last we saw Kratos, he was standing at his cottage’s doorway eyeing the God of Thunder. This inevitable fight could be the biggest of the franchise and has potential to be an excellent note on which to start the sequel.
The fight should take place in multiple locations as these two powerhouse combatants punch each other across large masses of land. This clash should alter the weather and the earth itself, to emphasize the danger and the force of the ongoing battle. It’s one of the most anticipated moments in God of War’s history and could set a strong precedent for the rest of the game.