During the September 2020 PlayStation 5 games showcase, a sequel to the 2018 God of War was announced through a quick teaser as the "here's one more thing" moment to close the show. I was so excited I could barely comprehend anything that happened afterward, as my coworkers can attest.
Initially known only as the next God of War, the official title was revealed during the September 2021 PlayStation Showcase as God of War Ragnarok.
There's a lot we know now; from what platforms the game is on, to what the story covers and when it's coming out. If it's anything like the first, this will be one of the best PS5 games available for some time. Here's everything you need to know about God of War Ragnarok.
What is God of War Ragnarok?
God of War Ragnarok is a sequel to the 2018 entry in the God of War franchise, being developed for PS5 and PS4 by Sony Santa Monica, one of the most revered developers at PlayStation Studios. The game was first revealed back in September 2020.
Sony Santa Monica was also supported in developing God of War 2018 by Valkyrie Entertainment, a studio that joined the PlayStation first-party group in 2021.
That title served as a kind of spiritual reboot, with Kratos forced to suffer silently for the sins of his past, while attempting to raise his son Atreus/Loki in the harsh north and seeking to scatter the ashes of his wife. It also swapped the gameplay from a fixed-POV, hack-and-slash to a free-camera action game with light RPG elements.
The sequel will presumably follow suit, given God of War's incredible critical and commercial success, selling over 19 million copies as of December 2021. You can see the initial announcement teaser in the tweet below from the developers at Sony Santa Monica studio below, or at the end of the PS5 showcase.
After going without a name for almost a year following this teaser reveal, the official title was confirmed to be God of War Ragnarok, as the Elder Futhark Norse runes in the teaser image spell out "R A G N A R O K," making it all too clear the end of all life is near. The image also takes the iconic God of War franchise logo and gives it an icy makeover that almost looks like Jormungandr, the World Serpent.
God of War Ragnarok is being directed by Eric Williams, one of the developers at Sony Santa Monica who has been involved with every God of War game, to at least some extent. The prior game was directed by Cory Barlog.
According to Williams, God of War Ragnarok will "cap off" the Norse Saga. The reason for this was explained in an interview with YouTuber Kaptain Kuba, as the team at Sony Santa Monica realized that if the first game took five years to develop and then God of War Ragnarok also took five years, fans would be waiting 15 years to see the full story in the form of a trilogy
Valkyrie Entertainment is also continuing the relationship between the two studios by aiding in the development of God of War Ragnarok.
God of War: Ragnarok trailers
Sony Santa Monica unveiled the full cinematic and gameplay reveal trailer for God of War Ragnarok at the September 2021 PlayStation Showcase. You can check out the trailer below:
Later, a story trailer was shown off during a September 2022 State of Play presentation:
God of War Ragnarok What's the story?
If you need a refresher, we have the full God of War timeline and history plotted out. God of War ended with the death of Baldur and the beginning of Fimbulwinter, the harsh winter in Norse mythology that happens just before Ragnarok. A dream or vision that Kratos had upon returning home with his son Atreus (or Loki) indicates that Thor, the God of Thunder, is seeking vengeance for the death of his brother Baldur and sons Magni and Modi.
Meanwhile, the clever and scheming Aesir Allfather Odin has yet to reveal himself, but the wise Mimir has warned Kratos and Atreus that Odin is in fact capable of seeing the future and is working frantically to acquire knowledge and magic in order to prevent Ragnarok. As an example, Mimir notes that it's not important how Odin knew several events in the game would take place, it's just important that Odin was right.
The teaser tells us that "Ragnarok is coming," indicating that this game will, at the very least, kickstart the Norse cycle of death and rebirth, as the gods and all things die while new life springs forth. Barlog first teased this in a clever Twitter thread (note how the first letter in each of the tweets spells out a message).
There are heavy hints that Faye, the late wife of Kratos, foresaw everything that would happen before her death, though to what end this will lead remains to be seen.
In the reveal trailer for God of War Ragnarok, we learned that the game is set a few years later, with Atreus continuing to grow. Tension is brewing between father and son, as Atreus wants to understand the meaning of his heritage as Loki and possibly seek war against Asgard. The two of them (and Mimir) find the Norse God of War, Tyr, and Kratos hopes to work with Tyr to avoid Ragnarok. Meanwhile, father and son are hounded by Freya and Thor.
The story trailer shared glimpses of different realms, as well as the voice of Odin, who asks if Kratos truly wants war.
"What do you even know of godhood? In your lifetime, has anyone ever worshipped you? Ever prayed to you? Can you even imagine that kind of love? No, you don't care about anything beyond yourself, about the monster who kills without cause," the All-father tells our protagonists.
We've got some predictions for God of War Ragnarok. Just because the story is the conclusion to the Norse Saga, that doesn't mean events and deaths are a foregone conclusion.
God of War Ragnarok cast of characters
God of War Ragnarok's characters span both new and returning gods and mortals from the 2018 game. Returning for God of War Ragnarok are — Kratos, performed by Christopher Judge. Atreus, performed by Sunny Suljic. Sindri and Brok, performed by Adam Harrington and Robert Craighead, respectively. Freya, performed by Danielle Bisutti.
New for God of War Ragnarok are — Durlin, performed by Usman Ally. Thor, performed by Ryan Hurst. Tyr, performed by Ben Prendergast. Odin, performed by Richard Schiff. Angrboda, performed by Laya De Leon Hayes.
God of War Ragnarok gameplay changes
While the 2018 God of War only allowed players to access six of the Nine Realms, God of War Ragnarok is confirmed to feature all Nine Realms for Kratos and Atreus to visit: Asgard, Alfheim, Svartalfaheim, Midgard, Jotunheim, Vanaheim, Niflheim, Muspelheim and Hel.
Sony Santa Monica is also vastly expanding the accessibility options in God of War Ragnarok, building on the options found in past PlayStation Studios titles. Some of these new features include a high contrast mode, which can be adjusted for characters, enemies, and items.
The UI can be adjusted alongside other customization features, allowing players to change the colors of a speaker's name or alter the size of the text. Finally, there's also a new audio cue feature that makes it clear when something can be interacted with, which you can see in action above.
Is God of War Ragnarok a PS5 exclusive?
We now know that the next God of War is coming to PS4 as well as PS5. After touting major games like Marvel's Spider-Man: Miles Morales and Horizon Forbidden West as PS5 exclusives, Sony revealed after the September 2020 showcase that some of its upcoming games are releasing on PS4.
In a similar vein, this upcoming God of War game was initially announced just for the PS5 before Sony Worldwide Studios head Hermen Hulst confirmed in 2021 that it was also coming to the PS4. Naturally, the PS5 version will in some capacity take advantage of the DualSense haptic feedback and adaptive triggers, and faster loading thanks to the ultra-fast SSD.
This does mean the game is more accessible to more players, especially since PS5 restocks remain sporadic, so if it had been PS5-only, nowhere near as many players will be able to try it out at first.
At the same time, making the game exclusive to the PS5 would have enabled the team to create gameplay mechanics and an overall experience not possible otherwise.
Is God of War Ragnarok coming to PC?
It's worth noting that Sony has shown more openness to bringing its games to PC in recent years, with ports of Horizon Zero Dawn, Days Gone, and the Uncharted: Legacy of Thieves collection.
Most notably, God of War 2018 is available on PC as of Jan. 14, 2022, meaning it's not impossible God of War Ragnarok comes to PC sometime down the line. With that in mind, if this game ever does get a PC version, it will be long after the PS4 and PS5 versions launch.
God of War Ragnarok: DualSense controller
There's a special God of War Ragnarok limited edition PS5 DualSense controller on the way, which is themed in blue and white, with wolf and bear designs to represent Atreus and Kratos. This controller is slated to be available on Nov. 9, 2022.
God of War Ragnarok: Pre-orders
God of War Ragnarok preorders are now live, with different versions of the game available to order. There's the regular launch edition, the digital deluxe edition, the collector's edition, and the Jotnar edition.
You can consult our God of War Ragnarok preorder guide for more details. If you see the collector's edition or Jotnar edition in stock, you'll want to act fast and grab them, as supply will be extremely limited.
When is God of War Ragnarok's release date?
God of War Ragnarok now has an exact release date of Nov. 9, 2022. Prior to this, it was for a long time simply slated to arrive in 2022, after being delayed out of 2021.
When Sony Interactive Entertainment CEO Jim Ryan spoke in February 2021 about upcoming PlayStation games for the rest of 2021, he mentioned Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart and Horizon Forbidden West, but not the next God of War. Later, when Hulst spoke on numerous upcoming PlayStation Studios titles, he confirmed that the next God of War has been delayed to 2022.
This delay was primarily due to performance capture restrictions during the ongoing global pandemic, with Hulst explaining that "... when you're doing performance capture for a lot of cinematics, with multiple actors — that's not so simple to solve. So you've got a choice. You could do it later in the schedule, which could cause you problems. Or you could risk the final quality by doing it in a different way."
"With these things, something's gotta give. It cannot be the quality of our titles, and it surely won't be the health or the wellbeing of our amazing team," Hulst added.
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