God of War: Series Creators Explain Kratos’ Evolution

The creators of God of War discuss themes that drive the iconic protagonist, including brutality, fatherhood and redemption.

(Illustration from The Washington Post; Sony Interactive Entertainment).


This story contains spoilers about God of War games throughout the series with the exception of “God of War Ragnarok”.

Kratos is a member of the video game heroes group, right alongside Mario and Master Chef. In 2005, the original “God of War” introduced players to a Spartan warrior with brutality and haunted memories. The 2000s and early 2000s saw Kratos take on a treacherous path through Greek mythology. In these games, the narrative often got lost in the spectacle of boss fights and brutal combat. These games show a man in deep trouble dealing with the monster he is becoming. At their worst, Kratos was made into a cartoon of barbarism.

2018’s God of War was the reboot of the series. It marked the beginning of a more serious battle against the brutal hero. He was met with near universal acclaim for portraying themes of fatherhood, redemption.

“I think a lot of people are entering [to the reboot]Matt Sophos (head of narrative in the newest entry in “God of War Ragnarok”) stated that “I felt Kratos had a somewhat irreparable personality.” “Go to the last one and then [‘Ragnarok’]We’ve made that possible, you know.

Old fans were quick at describing the franchise’s colour shift as “daddification” Kratos. The change is due to the birth of Atreus, his son, who travels with his father through the realms Norse mythology.

The series’ creators at Sony’s Santa Monica studio don’t consider it a personality transformation. Cory Barlog is the Ragnarok producer. Director Eric Williams, one of the pioneers behind God of War from day one. In an interview with Washington Post, he stated that the reboot was less a new trend than Kratos coming full circle. Sophos also echoed this sentiment, noting how Kratos’ character was always defined by his relationship with fatherhood.

“This was an opportunity for us to examine parts of fatherhood that we hadn’t done before because in the last series, being a father and a husband is what led to the journey of revenge,” Sophos said.

In the flashback from the original “God of War”, Kratos’s wife and daughter are the first victims of a series of betrayals. Kratos is promoted to general and orders an army to attack the enemies of Sparta. Kratos pledges to Ares, a god of war, his life when his army is defeated in battle. Kratos is tricked by Ares to cut off his last connection with humanity, his family. Kratos then plunders the name of the god while blindly ravaging his family.

Kratos realizes what he has done and is overcome by grief. Kratos is dazed and retaliated. He serves the other gods Olympus, who promise him an escape. He realized that this was a trick after he had followed their orders for years and even killed Ares. He forms alliances with Titans and the underworld gods in his quest to vengeance. It all ends in the same way: in a path full of destruction and slain foes Kratos is far from finding peace.

While Kratos moved forward unabatedly through all of this, he wasn’t as detached from atrocities than he appeared in these first games.

Sophos stated that “he is well aware of how he wasn’t the good man in his story.”

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After being betrayed while serving the gods of his homeland, Kratos is clearly in shock at the end of “God of War III”. He reveals the shocking truth about his lineage: Zeus is his father and the one who ordered his brother Deimos’ kidnapping as a child to stop the fall of Olympus. Kratos’ quest to kill Zeus leads him to Pandora, who reminds Kratos of his daughter. Through that bond, he begins to feel hope that he might be able forgive himself. However, he watches his daughter die and Zeus mocks him for not saving her. Everybody who approaches him.

Barlog said that Kratos reached his lowest point after defeating Zeus. After Kratos has built a family with his wife and fellow warrior Faye, the “God of War,” reboot takes place indefinitely years later. Barlog stated that Faye’s relationship, which is not shown onscreen, was what shaped the man players were introduced to in the 2018 reboot.

After the conclusion of ‘God of War III,’ Kratos found himself in a very deep well within him. This well was miles and kilometres deep. Then he spent an incredible amount of time alone, digging deeper and deeper into this well. Fai was the first to throw a rope down. I began to crawl in concert with him, together, to get out of that well.”

This is a process Kratos finds he must navigate alone in the 2018 movie God of War. The film begins after Faye’s funeral and leaves Kratos to deal with parenting and unanswered question. Even though he didn’t get the situation he wanted, Kratos is able to rediscover his self and confront the emotions that he fled from in previous games.

Sophos stated, “We were really focusing upon who he actually is, not in a grand scheme of myths or all that sort of stuff. But just who the man, Kratos, and what he has to deal with and what his fears are and all those trappings.”

Williams said that God of War games have offered glimpses into the more complex world of Kratos. Notable is “God of War Ghost of Sparta,” which shows Kratos, a young Kratos, as the protective and patronizing brother of Deimos despite the brutality and ruthlessness of their Spartan upbringing.

Williams stated that those parts were always there in him to do good and do the right thing. However, Williams said that he could not handle his guilt when he was broken by people.

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All three developers agreed that Kratos believed that his terrible past had stained him forever, even though he fled to the Land of the Norse Gods. His family’s ashes were cursed to stain Kratos’ skin, but he didn’t want to leave that mark on his son. Sophos stated that the 2018 reboot is about “learning to be a better human being in general” and that it evolves from taking on the role of a father rather than someone who provides the necessities for his family.

The stakes are high in 2018’s movie “God of War”. His sadness is not exempt from this moment. Barlog stated that ignoring his failures would be risky as they could reflect on his son. He had kept his past secret and disfigured Atreus up until Fei’s passing. Atreus realizes that Atreus is gaining powers that he doesn’t understand and that he must reveal his past. This is the basis of the main conflict in the reboot.

“It’s an idea of ​​how much we show ourselves to our kids, especially the parts we’re not proud of, especially if those things can help them in some way to guide them off the paths I’ve taken,” Sophos said. But you are still ashamed of them and don’t want to do it. And that was something that feels so perfect for Kratos as someone who already has a lot of things to not be proud of.”

This part of Kratos’ evolution was made possible by a real-world element: Sophos, Barlog and Richard Gaubert, Sophos long-time writing partner, and narrative designer for the series, had all had young sons at the time the reboot was created. They shared similar experiences in their lives that influenced how Kratos transitioned from Greek mythology into Norse and, more importantly, from vengeful father to father again.

Sophos said, “I believe that’s the greatest thing we’ve done”

Atreus and Kratos travel together to fulfill the wife’s dying wish to scatter her ashes on the highest peak of the Nine Realms. The two are believing in something Kratos never had in his previous games: an entourage. Kratos initially resists the idea of a father-and-son dynamic, but they soon find themselves in a family with their dwarve siblings Brock and Cendre, and the Norse god wisdom Mimir. He refuses to refer to them by any other names than Mimir’s Ras, because he’s a talking chief. Even his son was “born”, in place of Atreus. Their camaraderie is shattered by these walls. This is because “Ragnarok,” their prickly behavior is greatly reduced – Atreus, Mimir and the rest have been called by the names of their crew throughout the match.

Barlog, reminiscing on the good analogy, said that “He depends, as much he doesn’t want, upon others.” “And those others, the muscles, are the hands on that rope, that pulls him out… They pull him out of the well that he’s dug so long.

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This development can be traced back to the end of “God of War”, when Kratos, Atreus and Faye unearthed Faye’s ashes and revealed another hidden bloodline. Fei was enormous, which made Atreus a half-giant and a half-god. A prophecy states that Kratos will not be around long and that Atreus (known as Loki among giants) will be involved in Kratos’ death. Atreus is naturally curious about his family history. Kratos is as shocked as Atreus at the revelations about Faye’s past. He must accept that he doesn’t have any answers. This is a problem that he can’t solve.

“And that’s where a parent gets stuck when they can’t give it to them. [your child]Williams said.

He knows that Atreus will be without him soon, and this knowledge is a sign of weakness. He confronts his mistakes and tries to accept the fact that he must now rely upon his new connections to fill in the gaps in Atreus’ development. Sophos stated that this is especially true when it comes to dealing with anger and channeling his emotions. In the past, “when he releases these feelings, they usually go into a bad place.”

Kratos is on the verge of Ragnarok, and the looming fear of his death is at his forefront. Atreus needed to confront the shame he had suffered since Greece to be able to help him understand how to prevent making the same mistakes. Kratos does NOT want Atreus not to be like himself. He wants him better, which means committing to his own personal growth.

“Kratos does his best to sort of guide him into what he sees as the safest path, the path to where his son will survive, even if he doesn’t,” Sophos said. Even if you don’t have children, you can identify with wanting to do the right thing for someone and hoping for the best.


An earlier version of the article misspelled the nickname of one of God of War’s narrative designers. It’s Richard Joubert and not Richard Gilbert. This has been corrected.

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