God of War Ragnarok almost told a very different story, according to a recent interview with Santa Monica Studio narrative director Matt Sophos. Sophos explained on MinnMax that an early draft of the God of War Rangarok story originally saw Thor kill Kratos in the game’s opening moments. Players then would have been subject to a 20-year time skip where his son, Atreus, journeys to Hel to save his father’s soul. While (spoilers) Kratos and Thor do trade blows early on in God of War Ragnarok, the fight does not end with the death of the series’s god-killing protagonist.
“That was a version of it, and it didn’t, ultimately, feel right,” Sophos said. “Eric (Williams) was like, ‘I don’t want to do that. Kratos has died and come back from it too many times.’ It’ll feel a little bit too, ‘Oh, you said he was gonna die. Oh, you just killed him, but he came right back.’ The hook, the emotion wasn’t really there, and he was absolutely right, and that’s why it didn’t last very long.”
In an early draft for God of War Ragnarok, Thor killed Kratos and Atreus had to rescue him from Hel 20 years later.
— MinnMax (@MinnMaxShow) February 13, 2023
It’s a strange twist to the God of War Ragnarok story that actually makes sense for those familiar with the events of the game. At the end of God of War (2018), Santa Monica Studio hinted that the sequel would tell the story of Kratos’ death. The final version of the game plays into this same setup but sees players attempting to subvert destiny in a different way. It seems the Greek god’s demise was almost unavoidable, even if Atreus would have eventually gone on to retrieve his father down the road.
Sophos continued: “As we were developing the story, we knew that we wanted the story to be one about letting go and changing. Knowing Norse mythology is all about fate and prophecy and everything, and we wanted to say that’s bullshit. Nothing is written that can’t be unwritten. As long as you’re willing to change, make changes in your life, then you’re not bound to fate.”
You can see the full snippet about God of War Ragnarok almost killing Kratos right away cued up to 11:43 in the video below. God of War Ragnarok launched on November 9, 2022 for PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5. We’re still waiting to hear about what Santa Monica Studio has next up its sleeve.