Kratos and Atreus will return in the next God of War in 2022; here's what we know about Sony Santa Monica Studios' next game.
2018's God of War was a fantastic reboot of the over-the-top and grandiose action-adventure series starring the fallen demi-god Kratos, and developer Sony Santa Monica Studios plans to release the follow-up, God of War: Ragnarok, sometime in 2022. Revealed during Sony's 2020 PS5 reveal event, the next game will see the return of Kratos and Atreus as they explore more of the ancient Norse realms and encounter more powerful gods looking for retribution. Even more information about God of War: Ragnarok--and a new trailer--was released during the September PlayStation Showcase event, but there's been precious few new details since then. Here's everything we know about the upcoming God of War sequel so far.
Release date: When is God of War Ragnarok coming out?
The next God of War game is poised to be one of the PS5's biggest upcoming games. However, with the shifting changes resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic and the need for more development time, the sequel has been delayed to 2022. Sony Santa Monica Studios explained the delay via Twitter, asserting its need to "remain focused on delivering a top-quality game while maintaining the safety and wellbeing of our team, creative partners, and families." During the PlayStation Showcase in September, Sony announced that Ragnarok will be released at some point in 2022 for PlayStation 5 and PS4 (more on that next).
We got a little more context on why Ragnarok was delayed. Kratos voice actor Christopher Judge took to Twitter in September to admit that he was at least partially responsible for the game being pushed out of 2021. "To the beloved fandom, Ragnarok was delayed because of me. August 2019, I couldn't walk," Judge wrote. "Had to have back surgery, both hips replaced, and knee surgery. They waited for me to rehab."
Judge also said on Twitter that Sony Santa Monica fully supported him through his recovery and the game's delay. "No threats, no, 'Who do you think you are?' Nothing but love and support. And [Sony Santa Monica] has never said a word about the delay, and what caused it. Studios are assholes, but this company from top to bottom, should give us hope," he wrote.
Will God Of War Ragnarok Be On PS4?
The God of War sequel is planned for PS5, but it's also coming to PS4. The news of a previous generation version was quietly shared via a Q&A with Hermen Hulst, the head of PlayStation Studios, on the company's blog. At the September PlayStation Showcase, Sony confirmed that Raganrok will be released across PS5 and PS4, though there is no word yet on any differences between the editions that might exist. Sony's God of War Ragnarok website also says that you'll be able to upgrade the PS4 digital or disc version to a PS5 digital version at an additional cost, but doesn't yet say what that will be.
Will there be a PC version?
Given Sony's recent track record of slowly bringing some of its biggest PlayStation games to PC, and since 2018's God of War is now available on PC, it makes sense to suspect the possibility of a PC version of God of War: Ragnarok. Sony has acquired the PC port specialist Nixxes Software, providing traction to the idea that Sony is planning to bring more of its first-party games to PC to help expand their audience. While a PC edition of Ragnarok hasn't been confirmed yet, Hulst mentioned in an interview on the PlayStation Blog that the company continues to further invest in the PC space. But if it's anything like previous Sony releases on PC, it's unlikely to come to the platform for some time, if it ever does. It took God of War 2018 nearly three years to release on PC. Regardless, we'll update this feature with more details as we learn them.
The story so far
The new trailer for Ragnarok released in September confirms that the game takes place "a few years" after the events of 2018's God of War. "The freezing winds of Fimbulwinter have come to Midgard, making survival for Kratos, Atreus, and Mimir in the Norse wilds even more challenging than before," Sony said in a blog post.
"While the last game built an enormous amount of trust and understanding between father and son, there is still a great deal of complexity in their interactions--especially after the revelation of Atreus' Giant heritage and the hidden prophecy only Kratos saw."
In Ragnarok, Atreus is "desperately curious," according to Sony. "Like most young people, he wants to understand who he is more than anything. In this case, he wants to understand who he could be. The mystery of Loki's role in the upcoming conflict is something that Atreus cannot let go of. He wants to keep his family safe, but Atreus also doesn't want to stand by and do nothing while conflict consumes the Nine Realms."
As for Kratos, Sony says he is intent on helping to spare Atreus from the "bloody lessons he learned from his conflict with gods."
"He wants to keep his son safe, above all, and their confrontation with Baldur has vindicated the belief that only tragedy will come from further entanglements with the Aesir," reads a line from the game's description. "Together, Kratos and Atreus will have to make a choice about which path they will take. Whatever they choose will define the fate of all those living in the Nine Realms as Ragnarök approaches."
Two of the main enemies that you'll face in Ragnarok are Freya and Thor. Freya was once Kratos' friend, but after Kratos killed her son, Baldur, Freya seeks vengeance.
"We wanted to remind players that Freya isn't just a terrifyingly powerful user of Vanir magic, but also that she's a formidable warrior in her own right. Enraged by Kratos' evasion of justice by her hand, Freya will turn every weapon at her disposal towards her son's killer," Sony said.
Thor is mad at Kratos because his sons and half-brother are dead. "Thor's legendary bloodlust and wrath will be aimed at Kratos and Atreus," Sony said. "Referred to disparagingly by Mimir as the 'Biggest Butchering Bastard in the Nine Realms,' Thor earned his title as one of the most powerful Aesir gods by wiping out nearly all the Giants at Odin's command."
2018's God of War was praised for its combat mechanics and systems, and Ragnarok appears to carry forward that spirit and tradition.
"As a team we've worked hard to take our learnings from God of War (2018) and improve upon combat to feel fresh, yet familiar. With God of War Ragnarok, one of our main goals was to push player choice in combat. Whether it's through hard hitting combos, a mastery of elements, or clever defensive tactics--you will find plenty of opportunity to fight alongside our duo in a way that feels uniquely expressive," Sony said.
The enemies in Ragnarok will be "harsher" and more varied, with Kratos and Atreus set to take on a "host of new creatures" from across Norse mythology. Some of the new enemies revealed so far include the Stalker and the Dreki.
"With an expanded cast of adversaries, we aim to keep each combat encounter memorable from the smallest brawls to the big show-stopper bosses!" Sony said.
Whereas 2018's God of War allowed players to visit six of the Nine Realms, Ragnarok goes further and takes you to all nine. This includes Vanaheim, Svartalfheim, and Asgard, which were not in the first game. New areas from previous locations have been added to Ragnarok as well. "Exploring the realms will take you everywhere from verdant, otherworldly jungles to intricate subterranean mining networks," Sony said. "This next installment in the series will bring you a more diverse, beautiful, and mysterious variety of locations than in any other God of War game."
The end of the Saga
While we don't know much about what the story of Ragnarok will cover or what Sony Santa Monica's post-release plans might be, we do know that this will be Kratos's last outing in the world of Norse mythology. That's according to Cory Barlog, the director of God of War 2018. Barlog said in an interview that Sony Santa Monica decided to cap the story at two games in order to keep it from getting too unwieldy. There are elements of Kratos's relationship with Atreus that can be explored in a second game, but stretching things out too much from there would weaken the tale the studio wants to tell.
"The complexity radiates out, like ripples in a pond. We could make it an ocean, and have those ripples just go for thousands of miles. But is that necessary and is that beneficial, or are we feeling like you know what, it's just spreading it too far apart?" Barlog said. "The ripples get too far apart and you sort of lose the plot a little bit."
So don't expect a third game of Kratos walloping various Norse gods. That's not to say this is necessarily the end of his journey, or the final time we'll follow the adventures of Kratos and Boy, but it does suggest some serious finality at the end of Ragnarok.
The announcement trailer for Ragnarok did not give much away, but the September video from the PlayStation Showcase was packed with lots more interesting details, gameplay, and insight into what to expect from the sequel. You can watch both trailers below.
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Christopher Judge and Sunny Suljic return to voice Kratos and Atreus, respectively, while Ryan Hurst--who played Opie in Sons of Anarchy--has joined the cast as Thor. Laya DeLeon Hayes plays Angrboða, while Ben Prendergast portrays Tyr. Richard Schiff, meanwhile, plays Odin.
For entrusting me with the character of Tyr in God of War Ragnarök, I shout my love from his lofty heights to my new friends @corybarlog @mattsophos Eric Williams @iamchrisjudge @realalastaird @DanielleBisutti @adamjharrington and everyone at @SonySantaMonica. #GOWRagnarok ⬆️❤️ pic.twitter.com/a4MIIzdM9f— Ben Prendergast (@benjipea) September 10, 2021
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Returning from the 2018 game is Bear McCreary to once again compose the music. The new trailer from the PlayStation Showcase includes a tease of the new music, including a "significant new character theme," McCreary said on Twitter. Outside of games, McCreary composed the music for the movie Godzilla: King of the Monsters.
Thrilled to officially announce my return to the franchise as composer for #GodOfWarRagnarok . This trailer features a taste of my next score, including a significant new character theme!https://t.co/aujBvlstyQ— Bear McCreary 🐻🎶 (@bearmccreary) September 9, 2021
A new director
Cory Barlog directed 2018's God of War, but he's not returning for the sequel. Stepping in is Eric Williams, a veteran of the series, to direct Ragnarok. "It's always been a tradition here at Santa Monica to change the directors across the games. We've had really good success with that. Cory is the only repeat director and rightfully so: he's damn good at what he does," Williams said (via VGC).
Barlog added, "The important thing for us is to be able to get a fresh perspective each time, but also a fresh pair of legs in the sense that you’re really exhausted at the end of finishing one of these things. So you’ve got to con somebody else into doing it."
As of right now, DLC plans haven't been revealed for the game. Looking back at the God of War reboot, it received a set of updates that added in additional content, including new armor, game rebalances, and the option to roll into a new game while keeping your gear and skills. It did not have any paid expansions. It remains to be seen if the next God of War will have any post-launch plans, but we'll be sure to keep you updated on what's to come.
How to pre-order
God of War: Ragnarok has not gone on sale just yet. Once it does, we will update this post with links on how you can secure physical or digital versions of the game.