Many God of War fans thought the third game was the end of the franchise, and why wouldn’t they? From all that Kratos wrought, it seemed the entire world was destroyed. Floods, disease, storms, spirits, and all kinds of disaster rained down on Greece. Most of us even entertained the idea that Kratos perished from his wounds.
The Spartan God’s journey was apparently far from over. That after-credit hint that Kratos survived his wounds was no bluff. Not only did we find out he got another game, but he got another family. There goes the saying, at first you don’t succeed, try again.
Some fans rolled their eyes that there is more to the Kratos story. Hasn’t the man been through enough? Haven’t we, the fans, been through enough? However, when a stoic, bearded, and regretful Kratos stepped out into the Nordic landscape, many of us dropped those doubts. The toxic and rage-filled man we knew had changed.
What changed him? What happened between God of War 3 and 4? It definitely wasn’t just the beard; Kratos seemed calmer and more patient. When handling his son, we see hints of fear and caution due to the mistakes he made in the past. All it took was destroying Greece to get some change in this stubborn Spartan.
There is still a lot unknown as to what happened between the games, but here is a list of what we do know for sure.
25 Kratos Survived His Wound From God Of War 3
Obviously, he survived it, right? It’s also worth noting that nearly fatal wound Kratos gave himself at the end of the third game is also a product of one of his most selfless acts.
This is probably the beginning to the man we know in God of War 4.
For those that don’t remember, Kratos was ended with the Blade of Olympus and released the power of hope that he received from Pandora’s Box. It was his attempt to heal what he destroyed throughout the game as he ended the Greek pantheon.
24 Disconnected From Atreus While Atreus Grows Up
Due to his secrets and spending all his time in the woods, Kratos and Atreus start off as very distant in the beginning of the fourth game. At one part of the game, we even learn that Atreus prayed to his dead mom something along the lines of, “Please don’t leave me here with him (Kratos).”
Kratos does not even know if his son knows how to hunt at the beginning. He probably thought that their disconnect was for Atreus’s own good. Instead, it’s mostly sad and frustrating for them both with Faye gone.
Art was done by shalizah7.
23 Comes To Regret His Actions In Olympus
If Kratos from God of War 4 was transferred to all his previous games, it’s obvious he would do a lot differently. The amount of remorse he has is a little hard to calculate though. How much of it is about protecting Atreus versus actual regret?
He does not want Atreus to become a monster like he was.
He seems to have concluded to just not mess with gods. That seems like a good conclusion since his worst mistake was making a deal with Ares and then probably Athena.\
22 Distrust Of Gods Stick To Kratos
One of Kratos’s biggest lessons that he tries to get into Atreus’s head is that gods are not good and cannot be trusted. With that in mind, there are probably not going to be deals with any Norse gods in the future. We are sticking to deals with plain mythical figures like Mimir and the dwarves.
Kratos has seen all the corruption and bad things gods can do. Even when he was a god, he would probably be the first to admit he was not a good one.
Artist is unknown.
21 Kratos Grows More Reasonable
Cory Balrog, God of War’s director, found it very important to develop Kratos’s character.
"That’s not to say I hate the work I’ve done before, because I love all that,” he said in an interview with Polygon.
“It’s just, I feel like as I get older, I’m looking at things a little bit differently. This lesson that I hoped to pass on to [my son]: that the concepts of strength and emotional vulnerability and the ability to sort of be free to feel the range of emotions, that these are not two warring or diametrically opposed concepts.”
Artist is unknown.
20 He Leaves Olympus
With the state Olympus is in by the end of the third game, who wouldn’t want to leave right? Some may see this as Kratos running away from his problems, but who can blame him? From the previous games, we know that Kratos is capable of sea travel. Due to Poseidon’s demise, the world is flooded so a boat is probably the only method of travel in Greece by then.
What we still don’t know is what Kratos really was planning by leaving. Was starting over on his mind? How do you start over after all that trauma?
19 Arrives In Nordic Lands (And Isolated Himself)
Assuming Kratos sailed straight to Norway, he traveled about four to five thousand miles. For a modern sailboat, that could take a couple of weeks. Of course, Kratos did not have a modern sailboat and we also don’t know if he made stops along the way or just wandered the world for a while.
Norway may have suited him as a place that has mountains to isolate yourself in, a perfect place for battling your inner demons.
We also learned from this that the whole world wasn’t thrown into chaos in God of War 3, it was just Greece.
Art was done by Benjamin Flamel.
18 Only Greece Was Destroyed
God of War 4 taught its fans something very integral to Kratos’s world, that one pantheon does not rule the whole world. Greek gods only rule Greece, Egyptian gods only rule Egypt, and Norse gods only rule Norway. This was proven by the fact that Kratos destroying the Greek pantheon only wrecked Greece. Everything is just fine is Norway...for now.
According to the developers, they actually are thinking of taking God of War to Egypt and dealing with the Egyptian gods. If we explore all these pantheons, there are going to be a lot of games.
17 Meets Faye
After everything Kratos has been through, it’s surprising he can still interact with people. Then again, he’s not the most talkative sort. Faye appeared to be a special woman though, someone who was adept at combat, wise, and loving.
How they met must be an interesting story, to say the least.
From the events of God of War 4, the two of them appeared to love isolation. Did they meet in the woods? A more exciting prospect though...did it start with a fight?
16 Falls In Love With Faye
Got to hand it to Kratos, he is brave to let himself get close to someone again. In all the games up until 4, the moment someone aligned themselves with Kratos, players knew that person was doomed to a terrible fate. How Kratos was not utterly paranoid of that is pretty amazing. Maybe he saw that Faye was a woman capable enough to protect herself and was able to see her as an equal?
Players’ not getting to actually meet Faye was a great loss.
15 Has A Son, Atreus
Not only was Kratos brave enough to find love again, but he decided to try having a kid again.
There is the possibility that Atreus was an accident, but based on the ending events of God of War 4, the kid may have been Faye’s plan all along since she met Kratos.
There must be a lot of trauma for Kratos and kids when it comes to the fate of his previous child. We even saw him project his paternal feelings to Pandora in God of War 3.
Art is by Wlop.
14 Covers The Scars On His Arms
Something fans quickly noticed in the God of War 4 trailers was that Kratos no longer wielded the Blades of Chaos/Blades of Athena. Though it wasn’t always shown in the previous games, it’s canon that the blades’ chains made permanent markings on Kratos’s arms. In the new game, he hid these markings with bandages.
Just watching combat in previous God of War games can make one imagine the toll the weapon had on Kratos’s body. In the cutscene where he receives the blades from Ares, it looks like the weapon’s chains burn into his arms.
13 Atreus Is Taught Languages And Archery By His Mother
Something worth noting is that mothers (and women in general) get the short end of the stick in the God of War series. An amazing article was even written with a deep read on how Freya and Faye are parallels of what’s expected of mothers in the series.
We learn in God of War 4 that Faye does contribute to her son’s skills and knowledge since Kratos was busy being in the woods. Not just normal skills, but his most iconic skill sets, archery and language.
12 Became Famous Enough For Art Depictions
A bizarre turn of events in God of War 4 leads the player to find a vase with a depiction of Kratos. Of course, Kratos quickly broke the vase; even if it was a regular vase he probably would have broken it too.
This vase was part of a collection of worldly goods, so it likely came all the way from Greece.
People in Greece all seemed to know the Ghost of Sparta title, but how famous has he actually become in Greece since God of War 3? When was that vase made?
11 Faye Kept Secrets From Kratos
Kratos and Atreus learn some shocking information by the end of God of War 4. First of all, Faye was a giant and her name was Laufey. If you look up Laufey, she is an actual character in Norse myth and is known to be the mother of Loki.
It was not so surprising that she kept this from Atreus, but Kratos? He did not seem to keep what he was a secret from her, so why did she decide to not tell him?
10 Kratos Gets A Shield
It may be a minor detail, but Kratos gets a new shield between the third and fourth games. According to the God of War wiki, “The Guardian Shield is a gift given to Kratos by his beloved wife on the anniversary of the night they met.”
The shield replaces the Golden Fleece from previous games.
What’s cool about it is that it’s retractable from inside a gauntlet on Kratos’s left arm. The shield is arguably less strong though since the Golden Fleece could absorb all types of attacks and the shield is more limited.
9 Named Atreus After A Greek Friend
We learn that while Faye wanted to name their baby Loki, Kratos won the debate and got to give Atreus his name. Kratos reveals to Atreus in the game that he was named after a young Spartan soldier that Kratos commanded.
Apparently, the young Spartan soldier made an impression on Kratos as Kratos says the soldier was full of hope even in the darkest hour and eventually sacrificed himself to save his friends.
This is different from actual Greek myth, where Atreus was a name of a king who was the son of Pelops and Hippodamia.
Artist is unknown.
8 Faye Plotted Where To Scatter Her Ashes
Faye wanted her ashes scattered on the highest mountain and knew full-well that would lead Kratos and Atreus to her mural to show them her true identity.
We also learn that she marked a tree for Kratos to cut down to fuel her pyre and that very tree also broke a protective barrier she had around where they lived, basically forcing Kratos and Atreus to leave.
This is also what invites Baldur to come and attack them. So what is Faye’s overall plan?
7 Faye Says Her Good-Bye
It’s safe to assume this happened very close to when God of War 4 began since we start by burning Faye’s body to ash. There is still a lot of mystery surrounding her end though, like what was it that ended her? Illness seemed likely but then we learn that she was a famous giant, would an illness truly take her down? How old was she?
Another big question is was her passing planned? It’s a scary thought that she would pass away on purpose to fulfill some kind of plot she crafted from the start.
6 Kratos Gets Faye’s Axe
Before passing away, Faye at one pointed gifted the Leviathan Axe to Kratos. We find out it was made by Sindri and Brok for her, as they recognized her axe when they meet Kratos.
This is kind of cool since they also forged Mjolnir, and the axe, like Mjolnir, can be thrown and called back to its owner in a deadly boomerang fashion.
The name “Leviathan” comes from a sea monster from the Hebrew Bible. Since we now know all mythos have their own domain, that monster is probably out there and real.
5 Hides Away His Signature Blades
Cory Barlog, God of War’s director, had a lot to say in an interview with Games Radar about Kratos no longer using his signature weapon.
“...The blades represent a very dark time in [Kratos'] life,” he said.
“They are not just a weapon to him. They are his scarlet letter. They are the marking that somebody tricked him, that he made a bad deal, that he made a mistake. Powerful, but I think also powerfully charged in its emotion. So I think of part of him wanting to move forward is being able to [leave the blades behind]."
Artist is unknown.
4 Grew A Beard
Some fans hated Kratos sporting a beard, but the hairy mountain-man aesthetic really fit the Norse environment. Cory Barlog also spoke about this design choice in an interview with Kotaku.
“We were were working with a concept artist, Jose Cabrera and he did the first images of Kratos that became the guiding light for us and our vision of the character. I said ‘I think he’s really grown his beard out like a linebacker in the offseason.’ And he ended up looking very worn, like Clint Eastwood in Unforgiven.”
Art was done by tricepterry.
3 Chose To Live As A Regular Man
It was revealed from a line in God of War 4 that Kratos planned to live as a regular man in Norway. The line happens as Kratos uncovers his godhood to Atreus, “When I came to these shores, I chose to live as a man.”
So what Kratos really wanted was to start over and put all his mistakes behind him.
He links the mistakes and misfortune he’s caused and endured all to his godhood. Whatever he wanted, it did not work.
2 Kratos Spent A Lot Of Time Out In The Woods
Despite having a second family and starting anew, Kratos never becomes the type of man who hangs out around home. Various banters in God of War 4 have revealed that Kratos spent very little time at home and was usually out hunting in the woods.
It’s understandable since not being busy would leave Kratos to his own thoughts which are all probably associated with grief and anxiety. This was also a way for Kratos to learn more about the new land he live on and the creatures on it.
1 Kept Many Secrets From Atreus
Few fans had to ask why Kratos wouldn’t tell Atreus much about himself. Of course, he never told his son that he was a god who destroyed other gods and doomed Greece. He does not even tell Atreus that he is Greek.
This leads to some awkward moments in God of War 4 such as when Atreus asks Kratos why someone would end their own father (Kratos destroyed his own father).
Kratos metaphorically tells his story to Atreus. He tells a story about a horse who gives up its freedom to fight his enemies (the horse is him).