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With God of War set to launch on the PlayStation 4 in 2018, game director Cory Barlog shared one very big message regarding Kratos' son, Atreus, during a behind-closed-doors discussion at E3 2017. In short, this won't be a big escort mission.
Sony Santa Monica revealed the new God of War during E3 2016 and, this year, the team showed off a new gameplay trailer that offers additional details about the places Kratos and Atreus will go, the people they'll meet and the monsters they'll slay. But since Atreus is just a lil' fellow, many feared players will spend the game constantly worried about what trouble he's getting himself into. According to Barlog, though, the youngster is not only not a nuisance; he's one of Kratos' greatest resources.
Atreus moves on the battlefield on his own. He's competent enough to get out of the way when he pulls the attention of the enemies. There's a risk/reward system there. You can use him in battle but, if you do it too much, he could get overrun and knocked out. He's not dead, but you won't have use of him until you go over and wake him up. The only time the son is in danger is when you put him in danger. I find that really fascinating, that you won't have anyone to blame but yourself.
It's kind of bizarre to think of Atreus as a resource but, since he has his own upgrades and is actually mapped to a button on the controller, it makes sense to look at him that way. But while players will be able to call on Atreus as part of a combo in combat and he'll even lend a hand on his own from time to time, his usefulness goes beyond the battlefield. Kratos is unable to read or speak the language of the region, so Atreus will serve as a sort of guide (both in the physical and emotional realm) for his father.
The kid tells Kratos that his mother told him to always be open to those who can help. Kratos isn't the kind of guy who is ever going to ask for help from anybody or even willingly accept it. He's very untrusting. The kid is sort of the humanity, right? He's the one sort of bringing Kratos out of his shell.
A great example of this is on display in the new E3 trailer for God of War, shown off during the Sony showcase. Barlog admits that the trailer ends the way it does intentionally. When you see a massive monster rise out of the water in a previous God of War game, you expect the proceedings to end with an epic fight. Instead, Atreus translates for the World Serpent, explaining to Kratos that he's actually there to assist the duo. That goes a long way to show that the new God of War will be changing things up in a lot of ways. But while the series will be moving in a new direction in several regards, Barlog eluded to the fact that Kratos' past will still be nipping at his heels.
Some of the themes we're talking about here is that you can't run away from everything. It's always there. What he has always done is run away. He's always been this embodiment of rage who just tears people apart but, interestingly, beneath all of that bravado and strength is also fear. He is running away, he is trying to deflect and he is trying to blame others. But it's fascinating to see what somebody does when they stop running, they turn around and they face it. That's hard, right? It's an internal struggle, not a physical struggle. It's not something that Kratos can punch...I think the untouched humanity that is his son, I think that is his reason for wanting to change. But the past will always resurface.
Players can experience God of War with Atreus when the games launches in 2018.