In 2018, God of War was released on the PS4 to universal acclaim and became a best seller overnight. It boosted sales of the PS4 console itself and proved to naysayers that singleplayer gaming isn’t dead. The 2018 edition of the game saw a lot of advancements made, from an emphasis on story and character to a semi-open world structure that encouraged exploring and sidequests. The new game took the action from Ancient Greece, where the original trilogy and its spin-offs took place and brought Kratos, the border-line villain from the original games and thrust him into the realm of Norse mythology, along with the responsibility of being a single dad. It was quite the shift and critics and fans loved it. Now with the sales and reception being so positive, it’s only a matter of time before a follow-up title is announced. So where should Kratos and his son explore next? While it seems that the next game will continue to be set in the Norse Pantheon, the studio is looking to the future and considering other locales to bring the God of War to.
Before setting on Midgard (Earth in Norse mythology), Sony Santa Monica Studios and Cory Balrog were heavily considering Ancient Egypt as a pantheon to explore. They ultimately ditched this idea, citing too many parallels in culture and mythology between the ancient Greeks and Egyptians. Since then, Assassin’s Creed: Origins has released, also to positive reviews and sales, and plunged gamers into the world of late Ptolemaic Egypt, fully exploring the culture and history of that time. The game later received a free DLC patch that was essentially an educational virtual tourism mode, which informed the player of many aspects of Egyptian culture and history through guided tours in the game world.
So needless to say, gamers are now pretty familiar with Ancient Egypt and if Cory Balrog was hesitant about exploring the pyramids before, he should definitely be wary about it now. So which pantheon is left to explore that’s worth exploring? There are quite a few out there, from Far East Asian, Roman, Indian, Mayan and Polynesian. But I think there’s a mythology out there that’s perfect for Kratos and Sony Santa Monica to explore that’s none of these. In fact, it’s one that I’m quite certain is less familiar to the masses.
My proposal to Cory Balrog and his team would be to consider the Irish Pantheon of deities for their setting. Despite Irish culture being adored and stereotyped across the world, Irish mythology doesn’t have that same level of interest as Greek or Norse mythology. Most of the sourcing for Irish Mythology comes thanks to the Book of Leinster, which is housed at Trinity College in Dublin, along with other texts housed at other universities in Britain. The Book of Leinster dates to the early 1100s, likely when Irish monks or druids transcribed the old legends, which some scholars believe to have come from the period between the 6th and 8th centuries or earlier.
Irish mythology is chalk full of tales of the origin of the land, the afterlife, gods and magical beings and creatures. Some of these creatures that Kratos could encounter include the Banshee, which appears as an old hag or a beautiful woman that lets out a fatal scream and the Dobhar-chú, a half hound half otter which just looks terrifying. Then there’s the deities themselves and mythological heroes. There’s Lir, God of the Sea, the Morrigan, a trio of warrior goddesses, the battle-hungry hero Cú Chulainn and The High King Lugh. Then there’s the most famous of them all, Finn MacCool (properly spelled out as Fionn mac Cumhaill), a legendary hero best known for his association with the Giant’s Causeway. Furthermore, Kratos can explore Tír na nÓg which is the Celtic Otherworld, the land of both the Gods and the Dead. Think of it as a bit like Asgard, but for the Celtic beliefs. These characters come from the four major cycles in Irish Mythology so a video game adaption might have to play it a bit fast and lose if it wants to bring them all together.
So there’s no shortage of creatures and deities for Kratos to interact with. The jump to Ireland, and by association Scotland and/or Wales as the three countries share many similarities in their mythology and culture isn’t that far from Midgard and I can easily see Kratos taking a ship to “the edge of the map”. Irish mythology is unique enough that it stands on its own but shares a visual aesthetic with Norse mythology which would complement the current game quite well, creating a soft sequel both visually and thematically.
Which pantheon would you like to see Kratos explore next? Let us know in the comments and be sure to check our work on Leonardo DiCaprio’s advocacy and acting life and the top 10 most underrated slasher villains.