The next God of War game may leave the pantheon of Greek gods behind and invade Norse mythology, if a large leak of concept art and other assets is any indication.
The leak, comprising dozens of environment and concept paintings, shows longtime protagonist Kratos — or a character that looks similar to Kratos — sporting a beard and carrying an axe, and a representation of the Bifröst Rainbow Bridge. The artwork was uncovered by NerdLeaks from the personal website of an artist who worked at God of War developer Santa Monica Studio in 2015.
NerdLeaks' website and its Twitter account have since been taken offline. An archive of the artwork has been posted at NeoGAF.
The concept art mentions Kratos by name and indicates that he'll visit locations like Alfheim and Vanaheimr, two of the Nine Worlds of Norse mythology. Aflheim is the land of the faeries in Norse mythology, and is represented in concept art as a sleek stone city. A prison location is noted in the collection of concept art. Vanaheimr appears to be a lush, colorful forest, where flora seems to be a dangerous threat.
There are familiar God of War elements shown in the concept art, like green, life-restoring health runestones that would appear to be the Norse equivalent of the series' orb chests, and complex puzzle contraptions.
Kratos battling the Norse gods has long been a source of speculation for future God of War games, now that the protagonist has killed the vast majority of the Greek pantheon. David Jaffe, former director of the God of War franchise, said the shift to Norse mythology was considered long ago.
Norse mythology would provide a rich resource of opponents for Kratos, including gods Thor, Loki and Odin, as well as mythological creatures like the giant Ymir, the wolf Fenrir and dragons Jormugand, Fafnir and Nidhogg.
In 2014, Sony Santa Monica's Cory Barlog, who directed God of War 2, let slip at a PlayStation Experience panel that the studio was working on a new God of War game. A God of War 4 wouldn't be much of a surprise, as Kratos and the franchise are one of PlayStation's most recognizable and valuable console exclusives. The last God of War video game was Ascension in 2013, meaning Kratos is overdue for his debut on current consoles.
We've contacted Sony for comment on the apparent leak and will update with any response. However, sources have indicated to Polygon that the artwork is legitimate.