God of war has been and continues to be an absolutely epic video game saga. The genre itself, upon release for the PS2 made huge strides in what was possible in terms of combining aspects of story, environment, puzzle challenges and tons of brutal gore that the series is known for.
The main character, Kratos became an icon for the Playstation right up there with Super Mario for the Nintendo and Sonic from Sega (R.I.P Sega). This itself speaks volumes about God of war, and Kratos itself. God of war was released late into the PS2’s life and to become a major gaming icon at that point in time says a lot about the franchise as a whole.
Today, we’re going to be looking at a few odds and ends regarding the mammoth franchise. A few things that you fans may have never noticed or cared to venture off and research to find out. Tid bits as they say. So let’s dive into 10 things you probably didn’t know about the God of War Franchise.
10. Story Behind Kratos’ Ghostly Complexion
Just by looking at his pallid complexion, you might think Kratos is in desperate need of some muy thais on a beach in the sun somewhere. However, he’s been dubbed “The Ghost of Sparta” for another, darker reason. His ghoulishly white skin is actually the result of the angered Gods permanently branding the ashes of his dead wife and child on his skin serving as a constant reminder to an already harsh pain.
This was the punishment Kratos received when he was duped into unknowingly pillaging his home town, and murdered his family in the process. Seems like a pretty harsh punishment considering he was tricked into doing this by his old master but the Gods are harsh and even being the victim of trickery is a punishable offence.
9. The Notorious “Human Sacrifice” Scene too Brutal for Euro and Japanese Audiences
There was a scene in god of War 1 that was deemed too horrific for European and Japanese audiences, the scene was however left in for North American audiences to revel in their morbid curiosity.
The scene is unquestionably brutal. The Gods require a human sacrifice from Kratos in order to proceed through the level. Not only that, but the “sacrificee” falls upon a helpless, desperate soldier who’s locked in a cage. Upon greeting the soldier, he becomes filled with hope that a fellow warrior will save him from his grim fate of starving to death alone in a cage. He asks Kratos to save him so that they may return to Athens, and then things turn very dark for this poor fellow.
Kratos responds only with “The Gods demand sacrifice”.
The soldiers hope for release is crushed and his desperation intensifies. The player is then set to kick his cage up a ramp while fighting enemies towards an apparatus spouting fire. As Kratos and the soldier get closer and closer to this apparatus the player can hear begging and pleaing but to no avail, the cage is ultimately kicked into the searing flames and the soldier is burned alive screaming in pain.
In the European and Japanese version the wickedness of this scene is blunted by exchanging the pleaing soldier with a furious undead guy, taking the sting out for players but ultimately defeating the purpose of a “human sacrifice”
8. Kratos Originally Wore Armor & Had Long Hair
Charlie Wen, the designer of Kratos didn’t have much to go off of when he originally began designing our beloved anti-hero. The story hadn’t yet been developed and the game as a whole was in very early stages of development. The initial direction David Jaffe, the creator of the series, gave Charlie Wen was he wanted a character who quote “Was brutal, antisocial, violent, pissed off and fuck you. Come into work, get angry and see what happens”. This is the Kratos that we know and love today and although the concept for his personality might not have changed much from the original idea his physical appearance transformed drastically.
Many design ideas came to the table and included everything from Kratos wearing heavy armor, to helmets and having long flowing hair. After all of the designs were out, the team began stripping away all the armor and other elements that were not entirely necessary until they felt they had the essence of a raw and brutal barbarian. The Kratos who is indeed the embodiment of David Jaffe’s original guidance to Mr Wen.
The original designs are interesting because of how they were inspired. They’re essentially concepts born from the inner anger and frustrations of the designers who drew them up.
7. You Can Talk to Kratos on the Phone
Did you know you can call Kratos and David Jaffe? Yep, well kind of anyway. At the end of the first God of War, there’s a very interesting easter egg contained within two statues that appear to be scenery, however if the player attacks and destroys those statues a code will be revealed, turns out if you call that code on the phone it’s a phone number with a pre recorded conversation between Kratos and David Jaffe.
Kratos congratulates the player for their accomplishment in finishing the game and then proceeds to interact with Mr Jaffe for about 2 minutes. Spoiler alert, things don’t end well for Mr. Jaffe.
This easter egg is one of the most unique easter eggs in video game history, considering that it takes place out of the game and over a phone line in real life. Here’s the phone number for the lazy, yes, it still works in 2018. Give Kratos a ring! 1-888-447-5594
6. Kratos’ Used to Sport a Rather Fetching Blue Tattoo
One of the most notable things about Kratos, is the spiraling red tattoo wrapped around his body. One would almost assume that the color red was an intentional symbol for all the bloodshed Kratos is responsible for throughout his journey.
But that’s not the case, In the original concept art, right up until a few days before launch the tattoo color was set as blue instead of red, the team was happy with this choice and ready to launch the game. However, a few days before launch, David Jaffe realized the tattoo design bore an uncanny resemblance to that of the Barbarian class from Diablo II who’s also draped in a swirling blue tattoo.
Rather than changing the design style of the tattoo to be less like that of the Barabarian from Diablo II, they simply changed the color of the tattoo from blue to red, which again, we can all probably agree is a pretty suitable color for the enraged, blood thirsty demi-god.
5. ESRB Wasn’t Paying Attention
The ESRB are the guys and girls who determine the ratings for games. The little icon you see on the back of the case stating which audiences the game is intended for is a result of their work. While i dont think anyone’s arguing that God of War is certainly worthy of the M for Mature rating, which depicts that there’s violence, nudity and strong language throughout the game, the rating is not entirely accurate as theirs no foul language in the game.
We can only assume that the ESRB got lazy here and slapped the generic M rating on the game because it met 2 out of the 3 criteria, but didn’t bother editing the rating stamp to reflect the lack of foul language.
In fact the only F-bombs you’ll find in the game are the ones spoken by David Jaffee in the extras footage when he’s explaining how Kratos’ personality came to be.
So yes, we can agree Kratos is a bit of a jerk for mercilessly slaughtering thousands of folks, he at least doesn’t curse while in the midst of his murderous rampages.
4. Hades is Mr Krab from Spongebob
Here’s a fun little fact you might not have known about. While it’s not mind blowing, its kind of fun. But first a question. What does Hades, God of the underworld have in common with Mr Krab from Spongebob Square pants?
The answer? Clancy Brown III. Yeah, the same guy who does Mr. Krabs voice in Spongebob does the voice of Hades as well.
Mr Browns voice has also been heard in other notable shows and games such as Rick and Morty, the new Ninja Turtles Series, Mass Effect: Andromeda, WarCraft the Beginning, the Venture Bros, Family Guy and a ton of other big name productions.
3. Kratos Comes from the Greek God “Cratus”
Many people believe the origins of Kratos come from purely fictional beginning, from the imaginations of the team who created and developed the original game. However that’s not true, Kratos takes inspiration from the Greek God Cratus; AKA the greek god of force, strength and power. So I guess he does come from a purely fictional beginning, but not the one most people may initially think.
There are a few differences between Kratos and Cratus, first and foremost Cratus isn’t a demi-god like Kratos but rather a fully fledged, real deal god born from the Titans.
If you want to see Cratus in action we recommend checking out a play titled “prometheus bound”, where Cratus helps lead the Titan Promethius to an eternity of being chained to a rock for stealing the power of the flame and giving it to humans. Regular jail time just doesn’t cut it for crimes like that.
2. Kratos has Family
It’s safe to say that Kratos doesn’t have a loving family life, having killed his dad Zeus, Mother Callisto and his very own wife and child and what not. Many people assume that Kratos is without a family. But if you haven’t checked out the spin off God of War titles, God of War Ascension and God of War : Ghost of Sparta you may not be aware that Kratos does indeed have a younger brother, Demios who’s also based off Greek Mythology. He too is a complete badass warrior.
In the Ghost of Sparta, Kratos has to go look for for Deimos, he was kidnapped by Ares. Kratos was present for the kidnapping and even tried stopping it from happening but failed. Ares struck him down after an unsuccessful lunge which resulted in the scar across Kratos’ right eye. Deimos was then taken to the “Domain of Death” where he was tortured by Thanatos for years. Eventually Kratos saves Deimos, he’s pissed for not having saved him during the initial kidnapping but they eventually reconcile their differences.
1. His Tattoos Have a Mind of Their Own
In the original God of War Kratos’s tattoo spans through the center of his chest and on to the left side of his chest. In God of War 2 the tattoo follows the same layout but slightly shifts down the left side of his chest more. In the 3rd God of War the tattoo does not cross over his chest and rather gets closer to his solar plexus. While this may not be the most fascinating fact, it’s still a fun detail to notice if you ever decide to go back and play the original trilogy.
Kratos’s tatoo doesn’t just look cool, there’s meaning behind it. Originally, Zeus, Kratos’s father heard a prophecy that a warrior with a large birthmark would be his undoing. To counter the prophecy Zeus sent Athena and Ares into town to seek out Zeus’s marked death bringer. Turns out Deimos, Kratos’s younger bro had a sprawling birthmark, making him the prime suspect in the prophecy. Ares and Athena then kidnapped Deimos to bring him to the underworld so that the prophecy could not come true. However, Kratos, still a teenager tried stopping Ares and Athena but failed. He lunged at them as that sat with his younger bro atop their horse but was quickly struck down by Ares. Ares’s powerful strike left a pretty hefty scar on Kratos’ face and upon his failed attempt to rescue Deimos, Kratos tattooed himself with a replica tat of his brothers birthmark both serving as a tribute to his brother and a reminder to never be so weak again.
However, it turns out that Ares snagged the wrong bro and the mark she left on Kratos was actually the mark prophesied about regarding Zeus’ downfall, which we now know come true in God of War III when Kratos took his old man down.