God of War Ragnarok’s Opening Originally Killed Kratos
God of War Ragnarok nearly had a very different storyline which saw Kratos killed off for 20 years.
The new details on Ragnarok’s story come from narrative director Matt Sophos and story lead Richard Gaubert, both of whom were interviewed on the MinnMax podcast.
In the episode dedicated entirely to Ragnarok, Sophos, and Gaubert explained how the original draft for the game’s story saw Kratos killed by Thor in the opening stages of Ragnarok.
“He was going to die, and it wasn’t a permanent death,” said Sophos. “What was going to happen … he would get pulled out of Hel by Atreus but 20 years have passed. There was going to be a big-time jump. That was a version of it, but it just didn’t ultimately feel right.”
According to Sophos, Ragnarok director Eric Williams was opposed to the idea because Kratos has already died and escaped from the underworld too many times in the series already.
“As we were developing the story, we knew that we wanted the story to be one about letting go and changing,” Sophos continued. “Knowing that Norse mythology is all about fate and prophecy and everything, we wanted to say ‘that‘s bullshit—nothing is written that can’t be unwritten.
“As long as you’re willing to make changes in your life, you’re not bounded by fate. When we landed on that, when we knew that was the story we wanted to tell, then we knew that Kratos couldn’t die.”
A version of that opening sequence did make it into the final game, though. Kratos’ duel with Thor sees him “dying” briefly if the player loses, only to be revived instantly by Thor so that he can continue the fight. But rather than defining the story, it simply acts as an entertaining twist on the player’s expectations during a boss fight.
Check out the full interview on MinnMax to see more insight into aspects like the infamous companion commentary on puzzles and whether romance between Freya and Kratos was ever a consideration.