After lots of patient waiting and theorizing, fans got their first-look at gameplay for the upcoming God of War game. Titled God of War Ragnarök, the game takes place a few years later than the 2018 reimagining and sees Kratos and a much older Atreus facing Ragnarök head on. But what is Ragnarök and what might have happened since we last saw the father son duo?
What Is Ragnarök?
Even if you’ve seen Thor Ragnarok a bunch of times, you still may be wondering what exactly the term means beyond it’s comicbook iteration. In short, Ragnarök is actually a series of events rather than one cataclysmic event. It starts with a series of harsh weather patterns and ends with catastrophic battles between God’s, men, and monsters.
The event is described in the Völuspá (Sibyl’s Prophecy) and the Prose Edda of Snorri Sturluson and implied that the event was something that was foretold, meaning that gods and men knew that the day would one day come. Even the real-life Vikings referenced Ragnarök, as they believed it had yet to pass. The major battle at the end of the event would see almost all the gods destroyed and all but two humans left standing on the plane of Midgard (the land of humans), which would sink into the sea after all the stars go out, only for the Earth to rise again, fertile and prosperous as any survivors would gather and rebuild in a new era.
What The Trailer Tells Us So Far
God of War has always played it fast and loose with its depiction of mythology. But Ragnarök is the first time the series is tackling a critical event, rather than simply passing through iconic locations and brushing shoulders with the deities of the given pantheon. So there are rules to be expected when chronicling Ragnarök and the gameplay trailer shown at PlayStation Showcase 2021 has given us some clues as to how far along we are in the events of Ragnarök.
I think the first big take away is how snowy and frosty the world of Midgard looks, especially when it comes to locations we’re already acquainted with from the first God of War game in the Norse pantheon. This world looks cold and frigid and the sources that talk about Ragnarök tell us that one of the first precursors to the event is “cruel winters” called Fimbulwinter (great winter), which will likely make hunting that much more difficult for Kratos and Atreus. When the snow melts, things will get really bad.
I think another noticeable thing is that Jörmungandr, a.k.a. the World Serpent, may be lying dead in the main promo image for the game (see banner image). In the sagas, the huge snake is constantly wrapped around the world and biting his tail. When he decides to release it, it’s a sign that Ragnraok is to begin. Now, clearly this can’t be the case in the game, as the snake speaks to Kratos, Atreus and Mimir. But there’s another option. The snake has an ongoing feud with Thor, played by Sons of Anarchy alum Ryan Hurst, and depending on the source material, Thor slays Jörmungandr while on a fishing trip, striking him in the head with Mjölnir. The previous game established that the two have fought before so it’s entirely possible that Thor, in his fury, kills the World Serpent for aiding Kratos, which resulted in the death of his brother, Baldur.
Twilight of the Gods
It looks like Kratos and Atreus, also known as Loki, will enlist another God of war, Týr, in order to discover why Ragnarök is happening and if it can be prevented. While there will likely be intense battles with Thor, Freya and maybe even Odin, there’s a good chance that the final boss of the game will be Surtr, a Jötunn (giant) who will burn the earth with his sword. He’s the guardian of Muspelheim (world of flames) and will lead the denizens of that realm to Ragnarök.
Where the game may likely differ from the source texts is the case of the half-giant Loki, who in the original mythos, is the big bad next to Surtr. Seeing as how Loki is Atreus in this world, it’s possible that Atreus may want Ragnarök to happen, as teased in the trailer, but would he ultimately ally himself against his father? That remains to be seen, but Loki is front and center in the conflict and instrumental in the chaos that ensues.
What were your thoughts on the trailer for God of War Ragnarök and which aspects of it are you most excited for? Are their mythological cues you think we missed from the trailer? Let us know!