God of War: What can we expect?
God of War: Ascension is real, but what can we deduce from the series and expect from the new game?
There are a lot of rumors and guesses that Ascension will be a prequel, and rightly so given the information currently available, but where could Kratos’ new adventure take him? What’s he after? And does he do crunches or sit-ups?
Back to the beginning
In order to understand the future, one often needs to look at the past. Kratos’ story is fairly convoluted with all its mythological intricacies, but I’ll try break it down to what you need to know heading into the series.
(Spoiler warning, durrr).
In a nutshell, the God of War series follows the story of Kratos, a Spartan warrior who goes from mortal to demi-god in a quest for vengeance.
What kicks this all off is Kratos’ deal with the Gods. A great, but blood-thirsty general, Kratos asked Ares, the God of War, for help in battle in exchange for servitude. Kratos obviously wins the war after Ares gives him the Blades of Chaos, and goes on a conquering rampage through Greece; where Ares then tricks Kratos into killing his own wife and child in order to make him the perfect warrior. The white ashes of Kratos’ family are burned onto his skin, hence the ‘Ghost of Sparta’, call-sign throughout the series.
Kratos chooses to serve the Gods for ten years to be rid of his sins, but grows tired and gets the chance to kill Ares, which Kratos does, in his gory fashion, then becoming the God of War himself.
Cue the sequel treatment – God of War II starts with Kratos’ as the new God of War, but he is plagued by nightmares of his family, which were promised to be cleansed by the Gods; and once again, is tricked by Zeus and killed.
Don’t worry, this is Greek mythology, resurrection is totally normal.
Now in the Underworld, Kratos is told that finding the Sisters of Fate can change the course of history, and through a journey of countless decapitations and disembowelments, finds and kills the sisters, sending Kratos back to the moment before his death.
Kratos learns he is the son of Zeus, which only makes him more angry and he accidentally kills Athena (Kratos is incredibly clumsy). Kratos, now enraged beyond belief, goes back in time and resurrects the Titans, who are powerful skyscraper-sized deities who also want revenge from a previous betrayal from those untrustworthy Gods (you may start seeing a pattern here) and band together to help Kratos take down Olympus and the Gods.
The story then hits its full-flight from the very beginning of God of War III and doesn’t slow down. Kratos confronts Zeus and the other Gods at the peak of Mt. Olympus, but Kratos is knocked back down to the Underworld, again. Taking out Hades and heading back up the mountain, Kratos kills all the Gods, leaving Zeus for last.
Kratos inevitably gets his hands on the King of the Gods and beats Zeus’ face into nothing, seriously… nothing. Kratos then attempts to take his own life by impaling himself with the Blade of Olympus, and is bleeding out while reminiscing over his wife and child; but Kratos must’ve had a change of heart, because the after-credit scene shows he did not die and his fate is unknown.
A perfect mix of closure and cliff-hanger; leaving fans to expect a follow-up in the years to come.
Rewind to the future
We now know that instead of a new sequel, we’re getting a prequel. An interesting decision from Sony Santa Monica, but they must have something interesting up their sleeves ahead for Kratos.
So what could God of War: Ascension entail?
We already know that it’s the “most ambitious” God of War to date as Kratos seeks “freedom, redemption and clarity”.
If we’re to pull anything from the teaser trailer released, the game will take place in a time before Kratos “was bound by blood” and before he was known as the “Ghost of Sparta”, assuming that the game will take place before Chains of Olympus, which chronicles events in the 10 years of service Kratos did for the Gods.
Ascension will also undoubtedly focus more on Kratos’ family, as the teaser even shows silhouettes of a woman, young girl and a Spartan soldier – presumably Kratos. The game may revolve around Kratos’ days as a Spartan captain, leading up to the point of asking for Ares’ help in battle and killing his own family.
Although family is at the heart of Kratos’ rage, it’s never been a heavy focus in the series. However, Ghost of Sparta did put Kratos’ brother, Deimos, in the limelight for a significant portion of the game. Maybe Ascension will address the relationship between Kratos and Deimos as they fought together in their younger years.
One concern is that the scale and fantastical elements of the game spiked throughout the series, making God of War III jaw-dropping in terms of scale and the creatures you fight; so while Ascension may tell a much more human and relatable story, it may feel a bit thin if we’re just fighting soldiers in the Spartan wars. Given the timeline, Kratos won’t have his iconic Blades of Athena or Blades of Chaos at this point, so the question of what weapons he would use also emerges.
Either way, we’re excited that God of War: Ascension exists; and while we may not find out what happens to Kratos after the events of God of War III, a closer and more retrospective story into Kratos’ origins may be a refreshing approach for the blood-coated series.