god of war is a tale of two halves. It began as a frenetic fixed-camera hack-and-slash that saw players kill countless enemies as a rampaging protagonist, but has mellowed out considerably with its more recent outings. A Spartan commander and son of the Greek god Zeus, Kratos spends much of his time in Southern Europe killing gods and being an angry man. In his Norse adventures, Kratos struggles to relearn how to become a father, and as events unfold, his place in the series’ wider tapestry becomes clearer. It’s a fantastic progression for his character, but recent news from Amazon indicates that he’s yet to see his most significant change.
An Amazon Prime series based on god of war has been announced, and while finer details are unknown, it’s safe to assume The last of us on HBO and not mapped in theaters that it will take a lot of cues from the game it’s based on. It’s a more complicated situation this time around, however, as the video game franchise takes place in two radically different mythologies, each of which is too important to Kratos’ development to leave out. Greece is an important building block for him, and re-entering that space in flashbacks would be the obvious and wise choice.
Tone is everything in God of War
Perhaps the most popular criticism of the Greek part of the god of war was the tone of the trilogy, and how Kratos was a rage-filled but unremarkable character. He didn’t feel much different from the first game in 2005 to how he did in the third in 2010, and the early scenes of the 2018 game gave him as much meaningful development as the first three titles combined. The Norse saga took a completely new (though not necessarily universally better) approach, placing more emphasis on emotional storytelling and careful, memorable character interactions.
The difference in atmosphere between the Greek and Norse games is night and day, and trying to be faithful to all the Sony exclusives while conjuring a consistent tone throughout the show is a difficult task. Flashbacks provide an effective way to deliver two contrasting sides of one person at different times in their lives. You should call Saul, Kill Billand Forrest Gump all show the stylistic and tonal advantage of flashbacks when used correctly, and the new god of war show should take notes. Kratos is a much softer person in the new games than the old ones, and if the Amazon series is going to focus on his Norse expeditions, Greece must be included, but the tone cannot be too contrasting with the rest of the events on the screen.
God of War’s Greek and Norse settings are visually polarizing
The sandy beaches of the many Greek islands are very different from the tall structures and chilly landscapes of Norse mythology, and Kratos’ time in the former would be best served by using various visual flourishes to make it feel indicative of its surroundings. Lens filters that show warmer colors and set designs that reflect Greek locations will be necessary to make the series feel authentic, and flashbacks are a natural way to remind viewers that no two places are the same.
Stylistically the original god of war games and the latest ones don’t look the same. If it weren’t for Kratos’ distinctly ashen skin tone and Blades of Chaos, it would be hard to recognize him in the Norse games. Taking viewers back to Greece often, and making the scenes feel unique from the rest of the show, will demonstrate how far Kratos has come, and what he’s had to do to have a shot at a happy life. For a man whose existence has been so half-and-half, flashbacks seem like the obvious way for Amazon to tell such an important part of his story.
ONE god of war the show is in development for Amazon Prime Video.
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