According to director Cory Barlog, God of War 2018 nearly didn’t feature Kratos. Instead, they were discussing having a whole new protagonist, because “Kratos is not God of War – Greek mythology is God of War”. They even discussed getting rid of Atreus, to prevent the game from becoming an annoying escort mission.
It’s always fascinating to take a peek behind the creative process, especially when it comes to works you love. Every time, it’s a surprise to find out which ideas never made it to the final cut, for better or worse. One such idea, as revealed by the game’s director Cory Barlog (via Eurogamer), was just cutting Kratos from the 2018 reboot of God of War. As Barlog put it: “Early in discussion, people were saying we had to get rid of Kratos. It was like, ‘he’s annoying, he’s done'”. Man, that would’ve been a different game, wouldn’t it?
So, yeah, we almost had a completely new protagonist in the new God of War. And, honestly, I can see where this is coming from. Kratos from the first three games was a character of his time. The early 2000’s angst and edgelordiness were strong in him; that’s something that just wouldn’t fly today. But, Barlog fought to keep Kratos in, and tell a story of redemption using his anti-hero past and flipping it on its head. In my opinion, that was definitely the way to go. It was awesome to witness the Kratos I grew up with mature into a more complex character.
Interestingly, even Atreus almost ended up on the chopping block. So much so, that they apparently even had a version of the game without him written and very to go, which never ended up being sent to management. Apparently, some people from Sony Santa Monica were afraid that Atreus would turn the game into a huge escort mission. Barlog then pointed to The Last of Us as an example of how it can work well. So, yeah; God of War 2018 could’ve been a dramatically different experience. Fortunately, it ended up being the awesome experience we got.