God of War Ragnarok might only be a couple of weeks old yet, but already, there’s no shortage of excitement surrounding where the series will be headed in the future. Of course, it’s probably going to be a long time before we hear anything about what that future looks like, but like millions of God of War fans out there, we’ve got our wishlist of things we both want and don’t want to see in the series’ next mainline instalment. Here, that’s exactly what we’ll be talking about.
NOTE: There are some spoilers ahead for God of War Ragnarok.
God of War Ragnarok has wrapped up the series’ Norse mythology saga, which, of course, means that the series’ next game is going to be set in a new mythological setting. So now that Greece and Scandinavia are out of the way, what’s next? Well, the popular vote lies with Egypt, and we have to concur with that. Egyptian mythology is fascinating, and would serve as an excellent setting for the franchise. Not only was Egypt tentatively meant to be God of War (2018)’s setting very, very early on in the game’s development, it’s also been referenced a couple of times in the Norse games. Then again, so have a couple of other mythologies, so it should be interesting to see where Kratos heads next.
DON’T WANT: A CLEAN SLATE
God of War (2018) isn’t a complete reboot, in that narratively speaking, it is very much a direct sequel to God of War 3– even so, it was a bit of a clean break for the franchise. With its new setting, new characters, and new gameplay style, it removed itself from past entries almost entirely, and though the connective tissue between the two eras did become much more prominent by the time the 2018 title rolled credits (and even more so by the time Ragnarok ended), there’s still a very, very clear divide. We’re hoping that won’t be the case here, and honestly, we’d be very surprised if it were. There’s plenty of loose ends in the story that haven’t yet been tied off, while there’s also the fact that, unlike after Ascension, after Ragnarok, the series is in the best shape of its life, which means there’s no reason for it to have to start afresh. Hell, maybe we could even hear some of the music in the Greek and Norse era games in the next saga. We’re still bummed that we didn’t hear any music from the Greek saga games in God of War (2018) and Ragnarok.
WANT: RETURNING CHARACTERS
Obviously, Kratos is going to continue to be central to God of War regardless of where it goes next, while it’s also safe to say at this point that we haven’t seen the last of Atreus either. But while the series’ Greek saga ended with pretty much every single known character dead, that’s far from the case here. Central characters like Mimir, Freya, Angrboda, and Sindri are still alive, and by now, they’ve become so important to the series’ core that it would be weird if the next God of War game just swept them aside.
DON’T WANT: UBER-ANGRY KRATOS
Even though it’s been a decade since we saw Kratos in his uber-angry form, we still feel like we’ve had plenty of that for now. God of War (2018) and Ragnarok show Kratos in a very different light, and both games collectively see immense development for his character. By the time Ragnarok ends, Kratos is on a new path – those are the exact words he uses, in fact – and that path does not involve him destroying worlds the way it did in the past. Finally, he sees a shot at redemption for himself, and given the promise that he and Atreus made to each other, it’s clear that it’s going to take a lot for him to steer off that path. Now, we would surely love to see him be tested in his resolve, since that would make for fascinating storytelling (and let’s face it, it’s always fun seeing Kratos try to keep his rage in check), but if he goes back to being the cartoonish monster he once was, that would be a serious regression. Here’s hoping that that doesn’t happen.
WANT: EPIC SCALE
We might not want the Kratos from the Greek saga games, but we sure do want the stupidly epic scale that the series prided itself on in that era. Make no mistake, God of War (2018) and Ragnarok are still pretty damn epic, but they never really match the scale of something like God of War 2, and definitely not God of War 3. Yes, a lot of that is down to the one-shot camera, but as much as we like the one-shot, we’d really love to see more of the wide, sweeping scale of the series’ older scale in future instalments.
DON’T WANT: A TWO-GAME SAGA
When Santa Monica Studio revealed last year that God of War Ragnarok would end the series’ Norse saga in spite of only being its second instalment, many of us were surprised. Sure, we probably weren’t going to get six games like we did in the Greek saga, but we were at least expecting a trilogy. And while we understand that the studio didn’t want to be tied to the same story and setting for too long, we’re hoping that there will be more than two games set in Egypt, or wherever it is that God of War is heading next. Even if that means that we get one or two smaller spinoffs- after all, Chains of Olympus and Ghost of Sparta were both excellent games.
WANT: FOCUS ON EXPLORATION
The hyper-linear focus of the series’ original style was replaced by a much wider structure in God of War (2018) and Ragnarok, both of which provided a healthy mix of linear progression and semi-open world areas, and that’s something we want the series to keep doing. In fact, we wouldn’t mind the next God of War game putting an even greater emphasis on progression, with even larger areas to traverse and explore. After all the side quests in the 2018 title and Ragnarok (the latter in particular) are incredible, and if more of that is what an even greater emphasis on semi-open world exploration leads to, we’re all for it.
DON’T WANT: FOCUS ON LOOT
One core aspect of God of War’s new gameplay loop that maybe hasn’t been as big a hit as some of the series’ other reinventions have been is its loot mechanics. Ragnarok certainly makes some meaningful and noticeable improvements to make its progression system feel a lot more polished and much more rewarding, but we wouldn’t mind saying goodbye to that system and turning to something new in the next God of War game. What that “new” thing will be is anyone’s guess, but we’d sure love it to lean more heavily into the series’ inherent power fantasy premise than a loot system full of numbers of perks does.
WANT: A NEW FLAGSHIP WEAPON
God of War (2018) doesn’t get enough credit for how easily it managed to introduce a new weapon in the Leviathan Axe that immediately become an iconic fan-favourite on the same level as Katos’ Blades of Chaos. Both eras of the franchise have a weapon attached to them- so of course, we’d love for another new weapon to go hand-in-hand with the series’ next era. Yes, we realize that that might be a bit tricky now, since Kratos not only has the Axe and the Blades, but has also added the Draupnir Spear to his arsenal on what feels like a pretty permanent basis. Would a fourth weapon maybe be a bit too much for a single playable character to deal with?
Well, maybe it doesn’t have to be Kratos who wields that weapon…
DON’T WANT: ONLY ONE PLAYABLE CHARACTER
Many predicted that Atreus would be playable in God of War Ragnarok, and sure enough, a good chunk of the game (split into several playable sections) does indeed focus on him as the playable character. Given where his story ends in God of War Ragnarok, we’d be very surprised, and a little disappointed, if we didn’t get to play as Atreus as well as Kratos in the next game. And yes, we want it to be both, because it would obviously be a huge bummer (to say the least) if we didn’t get to play as Kratos in a God of War game.
WANT: FASTER MOVEMENT
Getting back to the gameplay side of things, we’re also hoping for the movement in the next instalment to be a bit more dynamic. God of War (2018) and Ragnarok both take a very deliberate approach to combat and movement, as opposed to the gung-ho and arcade style of the older games- though Ragnarok does make things a bit zippier with the addition of grappling mechanics. For the next game, however, we’d like to see a middle ground being struck. No, we don’t want Kratos to be able to double jump like it’s 2007- but we wouldn’t mind a regular old single jump, maybe.
DON’T WANT: A FAMILIAR GAMEPLAY STYLE
God of War’s Greek and Norse sagas both have very clear and distinct styles and identities, and a lot of that is, of course, down to their very different gameplay styles. That pattern has now been set, and it’d be a little disappointing if the next instalment didn’t shake things up in some major way once again. Ragnarok feels like the ultimate refinement of the series’ current formula, so rather than risking diminishing returns by sticking to something that’s already been honed to perfection, we’re hoping the next God of War game will once again rip up the rulebook and give us yet another completely different kind of action-adventure experience.