Still, for all we don’t know about Ragnarök, there’s at least some info we do know. Since announcing the game in 2020, PlayStation and Santa Monica Studio — the developer behind the series — have revealed some major details over the course of a years-long drip feed. We’re going to walk you through everything we know about the latest God of War entry, from its release date, to its story, to the ways in which it’ll revitalize its crunchy, much-beloved combat.
[Spoiler warning: This post contains spoilers for the end of the God of War (2018)]
It’s coming out this November
God of War Ragnarök will launch on Nov. 9 for PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5. Santa Monica Studio announced in early October that the game had gone “gold,” essentially meaning the game is mostly complete and that manufacturers are able to start printing hardcopy discs.
With previews out for the first few hours, the Washington Post has also reported that the game “runs beautifully on PS4,” which should be encouraging if you haven’t nabbed a PlayStation 5 just yet.
New and old faces abound
Kratos and Atreus — the father-son duo that anchored the 2018 reboot — are, of course, back for the sequel. They’ll be assisted once again by Mimir (the talking head who also happens to be the world’s smartest man) as well as the Huldra brothers, Brok and Sindri. Freya will be taking her villain turn in Ragnarök, due to the fact that Kratos killed her son, Baldur, in the first game.
Ragnarok will also see the addition of several new characters, many of which we heard tale of in the original game. Thor and Odin will be major antagonists for Kratos in the upcoming sequel, and are presumably also pissed at Kratos for killing their kin, Baldur (as well as Thor’s idiot sons, Magni and Modi).
To face Odin and Thor, Kratos and Atreus will gather some new allies as well, like Tyr, the Norse god of war. Angrboda, a fire giant who is also the mother of Loki’s children in traditional Norse myth, will play a big role in Ragnarök as well.
The game is all about fate
God of War (2018) ended with an ominous mural in Jotunheim that depicted Kratos’ death. But the marketing for God of War Ragnarök has focused heavily on how one can escape one’s fate, and if such a thing is even possible. This seems to play into that idea that Ragnarök — the Norse apocalypse — will not happen in the same way it does in the old myth (although it is beginning with Baldur’s death and Fimblewinter, just like the story).
In a way, Kratos has already shifted the prophecy with his presence. There is no Kratos-like figure in the myth of Ragnarok, so whatever role he has to play is something we can’t fully understand. And Atreus’ fate has already shifted slightly from the wall in Jotunheim, as it only refers to him as Loki, the name his giant mother wanted to call him.
The question is whether the pair can shift fate so much that they not only avoid Kratos’ death, but the destruction of all nine realms due to Ragnarok.
You’ll visit all 9 Norse realms
Speaking of the nine realms, you’ll be able to visit all of them in God of War Ragnarök. In God of War (2018), Kratos and Atreus were able to travel to and explore Alfheim, Helheim, and Midgard. Muspelheim and Niflheim were explorable, but were mostly used for the arena and roguelite mini-games respectively. Jotunheim was also in the first game, but only briefly at the end in a completely linear sequence.
Santa Monica Studio confirmed that not only will you have reasons to return to the realms you’ve already been, but that you’ll also travel to Asgard, Svartalfheim, and Vanaheim in Ragnarök. It’s currently unclear if Muspelheim and Niflheim will be fully explorable this time around, or if they’ll have new versions of their old mini-games.
The single camera shot returns
One of the most memorable aspects of God of War (2018) is its single-shot camera, which never cuts away from the game — even for its loading screens. This feature is coming back in Ragnarök, and the camera will follow our heroes in much the same way.
Cory Barlog isn’t directing it
Cory Barlog, the director of God of War 2 and God of War (2018), is taking on an advisory role for God of War Ragnarök. The game is instead being directed by God of War veteran Eric Williams, who has worked on every previous God of War game (including 2018) in some capacity.
If you loved God of War (2018) and the director shift is making you nervous, don’t panic. All God of War games shift directors. In the franchise’s near 20-year history, Barlog is the only person to direct two games in the franchise. In an interview with IGN, Barlog even credits Williams with helping him determine how much of the original trilogy’ DNA should carry forward into the Norse era.
Combat is more aerial this time around
Compared to the original God of War trilogy, combat was far more methodical in God of War (2018). Kratos was still a spinning blade of death, but one that was planted firmly on the ground. That seems to be changing a bit in Ragnarök. It doesn’t appear that Kratos will be getting his old jump button back, but there are several new Ragnarök clips that feature Kratos grappling onto platforms with his Blades of Chaos and vaulting off of platforms into a group of enemies.
We won’t know the full extent of Kratos’ new abilities until the game is out, but it seems safe to say that mobility is going to be a much bigger part of his arsenal this time around.
It will probably come to PC (eventually)
God of War Ragnarök will launch on both PS4 and PS5, so if you’re a God of War (2018) player who hasn’t upgraded to the most recent generation of console yet, don’t worry.
If history is any indication, the game will also likely come to PC, as the 2018 game launched on Steam earlier this year. However, Sony hasn’t announced a release date for the PC version of Ragnarök, and the publisher typically waits several years before bringing its big exclusives to the PC audience. Don’t expect a PC version until at least the summer of 2023, although we’d wager it’ll probably be more like early 2024.
It’s the capstone to God of War’s Norse saga
Earlier this year, Barlog and Williams confirmed that God of War Ragnarök will end the Norse saga of the franchise, making this era a duology, and setting it apart from the franchise’s Greek trilogy.
It’s currently unclear what this means for God of War as a franchise, but it seems unlikely that this is the last time we’ll ever see a God of War game out of Santa Monica Studio. Whether the legacy continues with Kratos at the helm is another question entirely, but God of War (2018) already teased that other realms and pantheons — Egyptian, Japanese, and Celtic to be specific — exist in this world.
With Kratos’ knack for finding evil and corrupt gods, we’re willing to bet he’ll be back to face another culture’s deities eventually.
Photo mode is coming at a later date
Who doesn’t love taking goofy pictures with a god and his Boy? Well if you said “everyone loves that!” aloud while reading this, then you’re going to be a little disappointed. Santa Monica Studio confirmed that, while a photo mode is in the works, it won’t be available when the game comes out this November, and will get added to the game after launch.
If you’re into digital photography, it might be a good idea to make a few different save files so that you can pop back to specific moments and get some great shots from key narrative points.
The first few hours feel like a God of War (2018) expansion
Now that we’ve played the first seven hours or so, it’s clear that God of War Ragnarök is very much in line with its predecessor. At least in the early hours, it feels more like an expansion than a full-fledged sequel.
To be clear, this isn’t a bad thing. God of War (2018) is one of the best games ever made, and spending more time in that world and with those characters is extremely welcome. But it’s worth knowing that this isn’t going to feel like the jump from God of War 3 to God of War (2018) — at least not at the outset.
As the game goes on, Santa Monica Studio could absolutely make some major changes that we’re not expecting. But for now, it’s an excellent — albeit a little safe — sequel to God of War (2018).