With the latest iteration of God of War on the horizon, it’s a better time than ever to look back at the previous entries and the personalities that made the games so memorable. Of course, mainstay Kratos remains at the top of the list, but even he’s changed dramatically since he was first introduced in the original God of War all those years ago on PlayStation 2.
The latest iteration of the long-running action-adventure franchise is set to launch on April 20, and it looks like it'll be bringing a whole new cast of characters into the mix. If you're planning on getting to know what looks to be a whole new Kratos, wizened by the years that have gone by, you might want to take some time to memorize who's who when it comes to the older games. You never know when or if one of them may pop up in the new game, and with so little information floating around online about it at present, it's better to go in equipped with knowledge of some of the main players.
Here are some of the characters you should know before heading into God of War this weekend. Beware of spoilers, however. If you want to go into the games fresh, you may want to avoid reading any further. You've been warned.
Kratos is the star of the show, the main character of the God of War series, also known as the "Ghost of Sparta." He's referred to with this nickname several times over the course of the games, a pejorative nickname given to him after he ended up accidentally slaying his family. After avenging their death, he becomes the titular God of War himself. The Spartan warrior is an antihero, with a short temper and a thirst for blood and revenge.
Though typically portrayed as a "badass," he's an unforgiving individual who's also merciless and savage in his pursuits, though through it all he's easy to sympathize with. His complex attitude toward the gods who tricked and then forsook him make him a complex and fascinating character, and his rise and fall as a pillar of the Olympian gods' structure make him a force to be reckoned with.
Above all, he knows he has the ability to alter his fate, as depressing as it may seemingly be. It appears Kratos could have changed into a much more understanding and patient man as far as the new God of War goes, as it appears he's once again become a father to a new character named Atreus.
Athena is the Olympian Goddess of Wisdom and War, typically seen in the God of War series as a friend and mentor to Kratos. Originally tasked with capturing Kratos in tandem with Ares, Athena has always been an ally to the Ghost of Sparta, begging mercy for the cursed soul from Zeus, mad with power. Kratos begrudgingly accepts Athena's assistance, but it's clear she cares about him in several ways, especially since some of the assistance provided to Kratos can only come from a goddess who's in a position to assist. She's a noble soul who harbors a deep concern and love for humanity in general. She also harbors a secret about her relationship to Kratos: She's his half-sister.
Gaia is the mother of the Titans and grandmother and great-grandmother of the Olympian Gods. She also serves as the narrator for God of War, so you'll hear a lot of her as you play through the titles. She's made entirely of green earth, with a lush and full shape. Kratos is her grandson, and Gaia originally revealed herself to him as she watched his quest to destroy Zeus and contend with the Gods, assisting him in any way she can.
Zeus is the father of most of the gods of Olympus, including Kratos, and while he's an ally in the original God of War, he serves as an enemy in the following two core games. The King of the Gods is nothing to trifle with, and it takes the allyship of an entire cast of gods and demigods to team up with Kratos so he even has a ghost of a chance to bring Zeus down. After Kratos opened Pandora's box, one of the evils in the box (fear) possessed Zeus and transformed him into a fearful and paranoid god rather than the benevolent being he was originally portrayed as.
With a newfound fear of Kratos, who he came to know as the "Marked Warrior" who was foretold to slay Zeus just as he had slain his father Cronos before, Zeus became vengeful and terrible. Instead of treating gods and humans with respect, he became what was, essentially, the opposite of his old self, leading to the events of God of War II and God of War III.
Son of Zeus and the original Olympian God of War, Ares is the main protagonist of the first God of War game. He was also the one responsible for originally manipulating Kratos into slaying his own family, setting the stage for what would be a painful journey through life for the demigod. He perpetrated awful acts against Kratos all for his own gain, including conceiving a child in the hopes that it would be a "Marked One" so he could overthrown Zeus and claim the throne as the king of the Olympian gods. Forcing Kratos to serve him, going so far as to have him kill his own family so "nothing" would stand in Kratos's way, Ares is truly despicable. Ultimately, Kratos is able to fell Ares and take his place as the new God of War, though he would later find his godly powers stripped from him as the game series carried on.
Lysandra is a Spartan woman who eventually fell in love with Kratos and became his wife. The couple conceived a child together, a daughter named Calliope. As the one person who Kratos truly loved, Lysandra was considered the warrior's soulmate, though she wrestled with her husband's reckless violence and fury. She was eventually slain at the hands of Kratos along with their daughter Calliope inside the Temple of Athena due to Ares' ploy to force Kratos to serve him, a heartbreaking scene that Kratos has been seeking forgiveness for nearly all his life. While you don't see much of Lysandra herself in the actual games, she is a massively important piece of Kratos's life. She's one of the last links to his humanity, before he devolved into a spiral of near-madness and rage.