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All the God of War 2 rumors and spoilers leaked so far

God of War built up an incredible world that we wanted to explore since the first glimpse of snowy forest and ugly troll we got at E3 all the way back in 2016. When the game was released two years later in 2018, it easily exceeded soaring expectations and introduced a new generation to gruff, rough Ghost of Sparta Kratos as well as his son Atreus and a whole new pantheon of gods to fight. For some players, the game made them better parents. For others, it inspired extensive cosplay. For everyone who mastered the Leviathan axe and traveled to the top of the mountain, they were left to wonder: would there be more?

There was no DLC to speak of in the following months, but the majority of us weren't ready to let go of the immersive Norse world we'd hacked our way through. Unsurprisingly, God of War snatched up Game of the Year at the Game Awards, and this only served to reignite the questions lobbed at Santa Monica Studio. Would there be another game? Do we get to see Atreus grow up? Can we expect more? The answer, happily, is probably. Now it's all just a question of when.

Where we left off suggests a sequel

If you made it to the end of the game, you're probably unsurprised to hear that we'll revisit Kratos and Atreus. There's a lot of loose threads in the final act: Kratos kills Baldur to save Freya, who turns out to be anything but grateful. She vows revenge, which we'll go ahead and assume is heavy foreshadowing for the next installment in the series. The vengeance of a goddess is presumably brutal. And speaking of revenge, we have another angry god coming after Kratos in a secret end credits scene. Thor, all thunderbolts and lightning, is briefly teased in a dream/vision that Atreus has of the future.

Atreus has another name, and an identity likely to come into play in future games. He's actually Loki, and those of us schooled in Norse mythology know that Loki triggers the apocalypse known as Ragnarok by killing Baldur. According to the all knowing severed head of Mimir, a winter that lasts two summers is about to begin, followed by Ragnarok. Oops.

On top of all that is yet another prophecy that only the most eagle-eyed of players spotted. In a mural on Jotunheim is a depiction of Atreus and Kratos' adventures past, present, and future. Worryingly, one of those adventures appears to end with Kratos' death. Additionally, we never got to see the head of the Aesir himself; there was never even concept art made of Odin, but we assume that he will still have a big beef left unsettled with Kratos.

The sequel will come sooner than we think

You can't rush perfection, but that's exactly what we want director Cory Barlog and Santa Monica Studio to do. We want the next God of War as soon as possible, but it took five years for them to craft the experience that blew us away in 2018. Barlog said in an interview with Kotaku, "I think this one — a big portion of the five years was, we had to start from scratch. We had a core engine but we really redid a lot of stuff."

So take heart, impatient gamers, because Santa Monica Studio is no longer starting from scratch. They have a huge sandbox to play in, and even remaking combat engines won't take nearly the amount of time it took to build the new Kratos from the ground up. Barlog says not to expect a five-year development cycle this time around, and that he has five whole games cooking in his noodle that shouldn't take five years each to create — if they get created.

... or will it?

We like shiny new next-gen consoles as much as the next person, but it turns out that stepping into the future might hamper production on a new God of War game. Looking at the history of the series' production shows the struggles of reformatting for the next big thing.

Barlog said to the Daily Star, "So I'll always embrace the new sort of advent of hardware but as a developer, you're never going to find me sort of crying for more of that. I think the more times we can be familiar, the better. God of War 2, for me, was great because we were experts at the platform. You know, it was at the end of the PS2's lifecycle and we knew everything about it. I wanted to create another game on the PS2!"

Barlog said he favored the more incremental change between the PS4 and the PS4 Pro, whereas switching between new generations made him feel like the studio had to throw everything out and start anew. "We had to redo everything. I don't like those situations as a developer because I feel like I just got this thing."

This doesn't bode well for a speedy production cycle, because apparently the PlayStation 5 is well on its way. Maybe production won't take five years, but Santa Monica may have to redo some things to fit the next gen.

Will the game be on next-gen consoles?

PlayStation has briefly teased the oncoming improvements of the next generation of their consoles: think faster, crisper, better thanks to a solid-state drive and some seriously powerful specs to ensure the greatest graphical experience. That's all well and good, but what we really want to know is if we'll be playing God of War on this thing.

Technically, yes. The PS5 — which isn't its official name — will feature backwards compatibility so that players can experiences Midgard and other realms on this startlingly crisp graphics machine. The console is expected to be released sometime in 2020, and considering the fact that we haven't heard much about the next God of War game, it might be safe to assume that this will be the console that God of War 2 (or 5, however you want to stylize it) will be released on. If Santa Monica Studio managed to halve the development cycle, then the next installment in Kratos and Atreus' saga may be the release that convinces everyone to trade up to the next big, next gen console. If, that is, the new specs don't hamper production. Here's to hoping!

But even if God of War 2/5 ends up sticking to PS4 specs, the new PS5 will be able to play it.

We will continue to explore Norse mythos

Okay, stay with us here for a second: God of War isn't God of War 4 because God of War is a new chapter in the God of War story. We've left the land of the Greek gods and find ourselves in a colder realm populated by capricious, over-powered, bellicose immortals who like to flaunt their power. Because the next story will also take place within the realm of Norse mythology, the following game will likely be stylized as God of War 2.

Sony Santa Monica's senior online community strategist Aaron Kaufman told Finder that although this is a new chapter for Kratos, his past is not forgotten, although fans can obviously skip out on previous titles and start out with the Norse Kratos, because we're going to stay in the snowy forests and rocky mountains of Midgard. "Even if you're a hardcore God of War fan, we take for granted that you can theorise about what happened between God of War 3 and this game. There's a lot of stories to be told there, but we don't need to tell them to you right now."

He also said, "I think any smart person or anyone with common sense would say, 'I doubt Santa Monica Studio would put this much time and investment into introducing a new character and a new universe without thinking about the greater road map.' So we absolutely have ideas and thoughts on that."

Atreus will gain a bigger role

One of the biggest reveals in God of War was Atreus' true name. It could be found in several places, and those who could read runes probably had a hint before the rest of us did. Knowing that Atreus is actually Loki, the trickster god often at the center of some of the most well known stories of Norse mythology, puts things into perspective. Loki isn't exactly a good guy. An agent of chaos, he looks out for himself and does some pretty dastardly deeds.

He has a big role to play in Ragnarok, notably. Loki sets the whole thing into motion, leading to the death of all the gods, himself included. We mentioned that Ragnarok is on the way, so what does this mean for future games? It has been speculated since Atreus' introduction that he would eventually take over the role of protagonist. Kratos isn't exactly a doddering old man, but killing gods surely gets tiring. As Atreus grows, presumably his powers will as well, with Kratos to teach him how to wield them against his enemies.

With Loki's destiny in mind, we also have that foreboding image from the mural in Jotunheim depicting a fallen Kratos. Maybe Kratos will also fall in the twilight of the gods and leave Atreus to take over as the wielder of the Leviathan axe.

Possible new lands in future titles

We took a big leap following Kratos from the Greek pantheon of gods to a whole new land of superpowered deities with a grudge against him. It makes you wonder: are all gods everywhere upset with Kratos? We might find out. Specifically, we have been teased with Egyptian and Mayan mythologies in the God of War universe. Those old wall murals contain a lot of information, including symbols representative of these pantheons.

Initially, we almost got the Egyptian take on Kratos in the 2018 game. Half the team at Santa Monica Studio were into the idea, and were already dreaming up images of Kratos clashing with enemies in front of pyramids. Barlog said, "Egyptian mythology is about the pharaohs as embodiment of the gods on earth and there's a lot more about civilization." However, they buckled down on the Norse approach because they wanted the ultimate focus to be on Kratos, a stranger in a strange place. We're willing to follow him and Atreus wherever their adventures next take them, but it looks like we'll stay in the frozen north for now.

No DLC, just sequels: realms unlocked

After finishing the game, did anyone else get the feeling that something was … missing? Maybe modern gamers have just become acclimated to the strategy of games releases followed by a few DLCs tossed in later. The tease of Thor haunting Atreus' dreams with thunder and hammer certainly primed us for a DLC in which we take him on. Director Cory Barlog, however, isn't a big believer in that format.

Barlog said in an interview with Kotaku, "I made this game to be so that you bought it, you went home and played it, and you got the whole game. There's not a plan, at all, in any of this, that I was going to deliver any DLC or anything like that."

Nope, not even the other realms like Asgard will be unlocked via DLC. When then menu prompt says "The travel rune will never work," it really means it. However, that doesn't leave out the possibility that Vanaheim and Asgard will be accessible in future titles. There's good reason why the game feels like it's a wee bit incomplete.

Maybe development has already started

Beside ourselves with excitement, we've done some snooping for any clue as to what's going on over at Santa Monica Studio. How much work has been done on the next God of War game? Have they started work at all? When can we expect the sequel? Even as forthcoming as director Cory Barlog himself is on Twitter, there are few hints to yet be gleaned, save for one:

Koray Hagen, a senior software engineer at the studio, has been working on God of War for years. He worked on core gameplay technology and was the animation programmer, which means we have a lot to thank him for. We also have to say thanks for the heads up on what's happening at the studio. Segment Next noticed that his LinkedIn profile previously stated that he was working on an unannounced project for the PS4. His profile has since changed, but it makes us wonder if that unannounced game is the next God of War. Something is cooking at Santa Monica Studio and we're on the look out for a whiff of it.

Raising Kratos

We got an unprecedented, inside scoop on the lengthy development process behind building God of War in the aptly named documentary Raising Kratos. Filmed over the entirety of the production, we watched as the game went from idea to reality, and saw director Cory Barlog grow into something of a silver fox along the way. We also saw him break down and have serious doubts, because the path toward Game of the Year was paved in hardship.

Having witnessed two hours of a grueling five-year process, we're hesitant to say that Raising Kratos gave us any kind of hope for a new game to come out soon. However, we got to see the true dedication that Santa Monica Studio has toward the God of War story, and in turn, the new stories that will eventually be told. In the doc, Barlog rallied before his team, saying, "I believe it is a first step in many, many games that we're going to make that will, I think, really redefine what this studio is."