Recently, I took some time to replay God of War (2018) again and it reminded me of the impact the story had on me the first time around. Seeing the game again reignited a fire within me to push forward and try to get into the field of video game development, and it even led me to take a leap and apply directly to Santa Monica Studios. Unfortunately, I was rejected, but I am still looking for new ways to get into the industry through my writing. My purpose for this post is just to express how incredibly powerful storytelling through video games can be. Its a medium unlike any other, and somehow, I keep finding Kratos to be my spirit character. As he progresses and develops over time, I continue seeing myself progress in a similar way. I had originally written this post in October last year when I was going through some mental hardships and I wanted to discuss why the most powerful moment in the game impacted me as intensely as it did.
(Back in 2020…) I recently watched an interview video with Cory Barlog who is the director of the video game masterpiece God Of War (2018). In the interview he discussed how budget constraints and other challenges almost caused them to cut out the most powerful moment in the game. Watching this interview reminded me about how I connected with the game and in particular that powerful moment and what it meant for me being a huge fan of God Of War.
For those of you who do not know Kratos is my favorite character of all time. He resonated with me from my teenage years when I played the original games and my life at the time seemed to run parallel to his story. Playing those games created a connection between myself and video game entertainment in a way that has never happened to me before. It was as if Kratos was a reflection of my internal self and I embraced our similarities playing through his most intense moments. However, the impact of this major growth moment was stronger and it hit me on a deeper level that I simply was not expecting.
Hours into the game, Atreus becomes ill after accidentally igniting his spartan rage, and in order to save Atreus’ life Kratos must return home to prepare to face the cold in Helheim. Kratos makes the journey home and once he collects his weapons you (Kratos) are free to use the Blades of Chaos (his signature weapons) and fight the minions surrounding his home. In this moment the game had come full circle for me.
Seeing Kratos equip the blades while accepting his true self actually brought me to tears. In this exact moment using the blades for the first time reminded me of the very first experience I had playing the original God of War (2005), and then memories rushed to the surface. I remembered him jumping off a cliff at the start of the game to end his pain. I began to remember the very first combat area with Kratos on the ship on the Aegean sea. I remembered my uncle who passed away who actually gifted me that original game. I remembered my struggles in high school during that time and coming home to vent out those frustrations through the game. Finally, I remembered all of the moments that I spent being Kratos and suffering with him through all of his loss and rage from the very beginning, all of which led him to this moment, where he is accepting who is so he can save his son’s life.
This part of the game was so incredibly personal for me and I’m sure many others who played each game in the series. It reminded me of how far I had come from being that teenage kid full of misunderstood rage and anger at the world, to an adult who is more at peace with the world around him. As Kratos accepts who he truly is, it felt as though I was accepting my hardships and my past as well, and finally accepting that my life hasn’t been the easiest, but it all shaped me to become who I am now. As well it brought up memories of my passed uncle who contributed to my love of video games by gifting me God of War as a random gift all those years ago. Truthfully, I saw another parallel with this moment in my life. As Kratos matures and accepts his true self to save his son, I have had to mature to accept my choices, keep the lessons I’ve learned from them, and put the past to rest as I move forward, not just for myself but for my family.
After watching the interview I was blown away by the crazy amount of work that was put into the game overall, and how difficult the process of making video games really is. Cory simply broke down this major section of the game, but altogether this was a daunting challenge for him and his teams to get through. So much effort and talent went into bringing this game to life and it is ultimately one of the best video games ever made. This game is a labor of love and dedication and that is what makes it so special and I am truly grateful I had the chance to experience it.
Present Me: God Of War (2018) was a sort of soft reintroduction into the series and an amazing new direction for artistic growth. Not only did it reveal new levels of character development for Kratos, but it also expanded upon its universe through art and storytelling which opened the floodgates for new possibilities. It tied in all kinds of mythology into the story through the backstory of Tyr (the Norse God Of War) and now the creators have free reign to guide Kratos or other characters into Mayan, Egyptian, and Japanese mythologies. The potential for Santa Monica Studios’ next games in the series is through the roof and if they continue to put this level of quality into their games, I have no doubt that Kratos and Atreus will continue to thrive as gaming icons for many more years to come. For anyone who hasn’t seen it yet, below is the trailer for the sequel to God of War (2018).
As well, God Of War (2018) was announced to be releasing on PC on January 14th 2022 for anyone who may have missed it on console, and I am excited to revisit the game one last time with higher performance. Finally I also want to mention God Of War Ragnarok has been announced a long time ago and was supposed to be released this year, however, due to Kratos’ voice actor Christopher Judge having surgery this year, production has been halted and the game has been delayed until 2022. Regardless, I hope he has a quick recovery and is healthy to return to the role, and I am so excited to see where things end up and which new Norse gods Kratos interacts with in this sequel.
As always thank you so much for reading this post, I hope you enjoyed it, and if you happen to know someone who works in the industry in some way feel free to pass this on. I am looking for work and even internships to try to expand my skills and grow in this field. Separately, I can also do different voices and would love to try voice acting for a game (although I know I need more practice with some accents). Ultimately, my goal is to help create or work on a game that can impact someone the way God Of War as a whole has impacted me. Perhaps one day I can work with an indie dev team and pitch them some ideas for a new project I am working on… one can dream anyway.
For now thanks again for reading, stay positive, and have a great week!