God Of War Ragnarok Nearly Gave Kratos A Very Different Fate
The God of War games are no stranger to death, and back in its Greek mythology days, we had whole segments in the Underworld. Kratos even killed Hades as the God of Death in the third game. There was plenty of death and destruction in 2022's God of War Ragnarok, but apparently, there was nearly more.
As soon as Sony Santa Monica announced that Ragnarok would be the end of our time in Norse mythology - nixing hopes of a "reboot" trilogy - the writing was on the wall for Kratos. Would Game Director Eric Williams really do the unthinkable and kill off Kratos? Well, he nearly did.
Why Did God Of War Ragnarok Nearly Kill Kratos?
Speaking to the MinnMax podcast, Narrative Director Matt Sophos and Story Lead Richard Gaubert explained their original plan was to kill Kratos early in the game - during THAT big fight with Thor.
Giving us a moment unlike anything we've seen before, Ragnarok pulled the rug from beneath us when it played Kratos' death animation and seemingly went back to the title screen. The big twist came when Thor (Ryan Hurst) broke the fourth wall and brought Kratos back to life.
Sophos explained, "The earliest, earliest draft of an outline that we had come up with that we took to Eric [Williams, director]... Kratos died in the Thor fight at the very beginning of the game."
"He was going to die and it wasn't a permanent death... [but] he would get pulled out of Hel essentially by Atreus but now 20 years have passed. There was going to be a big time jump."
Sophos concluded that sending Kratos unto the Norse Underworld "didn't ultimately feel right," which we imagine is to do with the fact it's similar to his Greek Underworld escape in God of War II.
What Happened To Kratos In God Of War Ragnarok?
Given that 2018's God of War prophecised Kratos' death, you'd have been wrong to place your bets on that bearded brute leaving Ragnarok in a coffin. Still, Sophos admits that saving Kratos was a deliberate choice.
"As we were developing the story, we knew that we wanted the story to be one about letting go and changing. Knowing that Norse mythology is all about fate and prophecy, we wanted to say 'that's bullsh*t.'"
The team settled on the idea that "nothing is written that can't be unwritten," which also leads to what happens with Atreus' arc. More than just giving the wink to a potential third game with father and son (come on, you know it's coming), it was an important story choice.
Sophos concluded, "When we landed on that and we knew that that was the story we wanted to tell, we knew that Kratos couldn't die because then it would be like 'are we just going to say that Kratos couldn't change?' and then that would suck."
Even though it might've been cool to see Kratos claw his way out of the Norse Underworld and give Hel a gnarly death like he did for Hades, we're glad that the big lug lives to fight another day.