God of War: Ragnarok needs to steal a controversial Last of Us 2 twist
A bold narrative pivot could be exactly what the sequel needs.
Many recent exclusive PlayStation games have a lot in common.
Dark, gritty single-player adventures have been Sony’s bread and butter for the past several years, as evidenced by the likes of Days Gone, The Last of Us Part II, Ghost of Tsushima, and God of War to name a few.
God of War and The Last of Us both depict a parent-child relationship, and although the settings and context of each couldn’t be more different, you can’t deny the thematic resonance — or the similarities in terms of overall gameplay and plot structure. Is it possible the God of War sequel will continue this trend and borrow from The Last of Us Part II?
The sequel to God of War, which we’ll refer to as Ragnarok here (thanks to an ongoing but unconfirmed rumor), is in development and may be shown off during the September 9 PlayStation Showcase. With that in mind, what better time to speculate about a possible Ragnarok feature that could be influenced by The Last of Us Part II?
Spoilers for both God of War and The Last of Us Part II ahead.
In God of War, you play as Kratos, a father on a journey to spread his wife’s ashes atop a mountain with his son Atreus. The bond between the two grows over time as they work together to reach the highest peak of the nine realms.
Though you never actually play as Atreus in God of War, he is very much a leading character who feels just as important as Kratos. You can issue commands to him in battle, and he even has his own skill trees. At the end of the game, it’s revealed that Atreus is actually Loki, the God of Mischief (at least, according to Norse mythology).
Because of this, it’s easy to assume we might get to play as Atreus in God of War: Ragnarok. This hasn’t been confirmed, but it would certainly make sense and would offer an exciting change of pace from the 2018 game. As you might recall, a similar twist was implemented in The Last of Us Part II, forcing you to play as Abby for half the game instead of Ellie. While this was controversial in The Last of Us Part II, it generated a discussion and assuredly wasn’t expected.
God of War subverted expectations by featuring more refined combat, an engaging story, and a grounded, relatable version of Kratos who was much more likable than previous games. Gone was the screaming meathead in favor of a lovable, complex father figure.
The thing is, developer Santa Monica Studio can’t simply recreate what was done in the original and expect it to meet expectations. Being able to play as Atreus/Loki is the next logical step that would be enough of a change of pace to make the sequel special.
This would also introduce some variety in gameplay since Atreus is best known for using a bow and limited magic rather than Kratos’ brute force. There could be a number of ways to tackle certain objectives, possibly with stealth at the forefront. There’s no shortage of things that could be done with the gameplay if Atreus is added to the mix.
A familiar, yet unexpected antagonist
Seeing as how Santa Monica Studio set the bar so high with God of War, simply allowing us to play as Atreus might not be enough.
In keeping with the theme of borrowing from The Last of Us Part II, what if God of War Ragnarok actually pits Kratos and Atreus against one another? This would certainly come as a surprise, and if done properly could be just as compelling — if not more — than the 2018 game.
There are many ways this could be done thanks to the freedoms introduced with Norse mythology. Atreus or Kratos could be under a magic spell that turns them evil, leading to a brutal fight between father and son.
Perhaps Atreus will end up killing Kratos, but will be tasked with descending into the depths of Hel to bring his soul back to revive him. There are just so many interesting possibilities with this idea that could blow the predecessor out of the water.
Can you imagine the tension of forcing Kratos and Atreus to battle it out? Pushing boundaries like this is what Sony’s first-party studios are known for, and this would be an incredible way to execute a tense, yet memorable experience that doesn’t simply retread the waters of 2018’s God of War.
It’s not enough to simply match the quality of the original. Based on the passion and drive of Santa Monica Studio, creating an even more memorable experience is likely the main goal for the sequel.
We’ve got our fingers crossed God of War: Ragnarok will make an appearance during the upcoming PlayStation Showcase on September 9.