Ever since Sony showed off the first trailer, it was clear the new God of War signaled a major shift for the series. The previous games aren’t exactly subtle. Kratos, the protagonist, angrily yells every line of dialogue. He tears enemies limb from limb, and only pauses to have orgies with the many topless, adoring women of ancient Greece. The upcoming God of War reboot looks like a more restrained game. You can tell from the tone of the trailers—and because they’ve replaced Kratos’s signature weapon.
The Kratos of old had the “Blades of Chaos” chained to his arms. These were basically boomerang blades he could whip around the room. They facilitated the series’ fast-paced action and fit with the over-the-top tone. So when re-thinking the upcoming game, the developers at Sony Santa Monica also re-thought the weapon. Gone are the Blades of Chaos. Now Kratos packs an ax.
In an interview with Game Informer, God of War lead gameplay designer Jason McDonald said the ax is a more “grounded” weapon. But because God of War takes place within Norse mythology and Kratos has to battle hordes of monsters, a regular ax wouldn’t cut it.
When trying to figure out how to make the ax special, McDonald said, “One of our designers came up with an idea: What if we just let him recall his ax similar to how Thor recalls his hammer? You know, it’s a very Norse thing.”
So Kratos can hurl his ax at enemies and then retrieve it using magic. The resulting gameplay, McDonald says, is “a little bit slower than previous God of War games, but it’s just as fluid and just as brutal as it’s ever been.”
The camera also stays closer to Kratos than in previous games, meaning players lose some situational awareness. Thankfully, Kratos has a companion during the journey: his son Atreus. Atreus will call out warnings when enemies are approaching you from behind.
Armed with that knowledge, you can about-face and literally slice them in half with your ax. Come to think of it, maybe God of War hasn’t changed as much as they’d have us believe.
H/T Game Informer