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God of War Ragnarok Looks to Top 2018’s Game of the Year

God of War Ragnarok release date everything you need to know gameplay story history biggest, most anticipated games of 2022 Sony Santa Monica Studio PlayStation 4 5 PS4 PS5

To kick off the new year, we’re shining a spotlight on some of the biggest and most anticipated games of 2022 across all platforms and genres, today looking at God of War Ragnarok. We’ll be looking at its journey so far, why we’re so excited for it, and what we expect out of it in the new year. Here’s everything you need to know about God of War Ragnarok, including its history, story, known gameplay, and release date info.

It’s funny to compare the road to God of War Ragnarok with the lead-up to its 2018 predecessor. Before we had a chance to experience Kratos and Atreus’ journey through Norse mythology, there was so much understandable skepticism on whether the hyper-violent action franchise could actually evolve to tell an emotional story about fathers, sons, and the burdens we pass onto the next generation.

But four years and a whole mess of Game of the Year awards later, its sequel God of War Ragnarok is pretty much the closest thing we have to a surefire hit. It’s a PlayStation tentpole in the same rarefied atmosphere as few other games aside from Naughty Dog projects. While we’ve only seen one brief teaser and one longer trailer for the sequel, it was enough to know that Santa Monica Studio is taking the beloved formula of the original and continuing its story across both generations of PlayStation consoles.

The sequel was revealed at Sony’s PlayStation 5 showcase in September 2020, capping off the event with a brief teaser. Over Bear McCreary’s music from the original game, we can hear Kratos tell someone, “The time draws near. You must prepare yourself.” The God of War logo begins freezing over, before giving way to the words, “Ragnarok is coming.” At the time, the PlayStation 5-exclusive game was set for a 2021 release, but both of those facts eventually changed down the road.

God of War Ragnarok release date everything you need to know gameplay story history biggest, most anticipated games of 2022 Sony Santa Monica Studio PlayStation 4 5 PS4 PS5

In a June 2021 interview on the official PlayStation.Blog, Herman Hulst, the head of PlayStation Studios, spoke more about the then-untitled sequel. He confirmed then that the game would be delayed into 2022, but also that it would follow in Horizon Forbidden West’s footsteps by being available cross-generationally on both PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5. While the pandemic obviously played a part in the delay, Kratos actor Christopher Judge later took to Twitter and explained that part of the delay was because of his own personal health problems, which required multiple surgeries in 2019. He applauded the way PlayStation and Santa Monica Studio were supportive of him during this process and throughout his recovery.

While Sony sat out E3 2021, the game would return a few months later on September 9, 2021 at another PlayStation Showcase. This new look confirmed the title as God of War Ragnarok and showed off our first look at the game proper. The sequel follows the post-credits scene of the 2018 original, with Thor arriving to avenge the death of his sons Modi and Magni at the hands of Kratos and Atreus. This, alongside the revelation of Atreus’ true identity, ushers in Ragnarok, the apocalyptic event that serves as a culmination of so many of the Norse myths and legends.

This time around, Kratos and Atreus are attempting to prevent Ragnarok with the help of Tyr, the Norse god of war. Atreus looks a few years older in the trailer, pointing to a jump of time between the games. Returning characters include a pair of antagonists in Freya and the aforementioned Thor, both wanting revenge on the father and son. We also got glimpses of our old pals Mimir, Brok, and Sindri, as well as new characters like Odin, a dwarf named Durlin, and a younger girl named Angrboda. It was further confirmed that we’ll be able to explore all of the Nine Realms in God of War Ragnarok, as opposed to just the handful featured in the original game. We see some of these new locations, as well as updated versions of familiar ones, like a frozen-over Lake of the Nine that can be traversed via dogsled.

God of War Ragnarok release date everything you need to know gameplay story history biggest, most anticipated games of 2022 Sony Santa Monica Studio PlayStation 4 5 PS4 PS5

While Cory Barlog served as creative director of the 2018 game, he has stepped back for the sequel and handed the reins over to series veteran Eric Williams. This change continues the legacy of having a new director with each new entry, with Barlog commenting, “The important thing for us is 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 – like him.” As for what Barlog is working on, he teased, “We’re actually doing a bunch of stuff(;) it’s really exciting… but I don’t really have anything I can talk about right now specifically, mostly because we’re really focused on God of War Ragnarok.”

While God of War 2018 is set to release on PC later this week, don’t expect a PC port of Ragnarok anytime soon. As was the case with Horizon Zero Dawn and Days Gone beforehand, Sony has been waiting a few years before moving its PlayStation games over to PC.

God of War Ragnarok is the second of PlayStation Studios’ big single-player games currently slated for this year, with the first being Horizon Forbidden West, due out next month. On top of these, recent reports point to the officially unannounced remake of the original The Last of Us, as well as the multiplayer Factions component of The Last of Us Part II, both possibly coming later this year.

It took us five years to get God of War during the PS4 generation, so the prospect of seeing its sequel half that time into the PS5’s life is certainly exciting. Maybe we’ll see more at the next PlayStation Showcase, which has been rumored to be coming sometime in February. Regardless, with the original game nearing 20 million copies sold late last year, it’s clear that all eyes will be on Sony whenever it decides to give us another look at Kratos and Atreus’ next adventure.

That’s everything you need to know about God of War Ragnarok — check out the full list of our biggest, most anticipated games of 2022 for more insights:

About the author

Marty Sliva
Marty Sliva is the Deputy Editor of The Escapist. He's been writing and hosting videos about games, movies, television, and popular culture since 2011, and has been been with The Escapist since 2019. In a perfect world, he'd be covering Zelda, Persona, and the hit TV series Lost on a daily basis.