Guiding the Immigrant God

Helper Characters in God of War

Kratos does not speak the languages of Midgard, nor can he read the runes that are found throughout different locations, but Atreus does. Atreus’s role in the game is more than a bow-and-arrow wielding sidekick. His affinity for the languages of his mother and his ability to understand runes allows him to help the player solve puzzles while also providing context and background information on the game’s lore. Cory Barlog, Creative Director at Santa Monica Studio, mentions in a Game Developers Conference talk that teaching is a key element in the narrative pillar. Just as Superman had friends and family to help educate him about Earthly ways—such as his adoptive parents, Lois Lane, and his recently introduced son Jonathan—Kratos teaches Atreus to be a god, and Atreus, in turn, teaches Kratos to be mortal. Continue Reading

“We Must Be Better”

Hegemonic Masculinity and Dadification in God of War (2018)

In an interview with Polygon, Cory Barlog, director of God of War (Sony Santa Monica 2018; hereafter GoW4), notes that the studio’s explicit goal is to address the underlying social implications of the franchise in order to “pull [Kratos] back from the brink” and make him “whole” (Plante, pars. 8 and 9). The interview’s headline says it all: “God of War’s director on toxic masculinity and why Kratos had to change.” Barlog attributes this impulse to redeem Kratos to his own experiences with fatherhood and a desire to prevent the continued dominance of problematic notions of masculinity: “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” (qtd. in Plante, par. 7). Continue Reading

First Person Podcast Episode 30

Game of the Year

Welcome back to First Person Podcasts. It’s been some time and we are grateful to those of you who are coming back to us after a little hiatus. We’re back and raring to go with a totally original, out of… Continue Reading