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Each of the three God of War games had a different director. Each of them had a different idea for how the trilogy would finally end.
"What [God of War director] David Jaffe talked about doing was -- and I'm not sure how it would happen -- basically, you destroy Greek mythology and then Norse mythology is right around the corner," GoWIII director Stig Asmussen told GamePro. "That's the next thing that Kratos would go after. It becomes clear at the end that he's going to become this harbinger of death across different mythologies in the world and maybe carry the series on from there."
Asmussen continued: "[God of War II director] Cory Barlog talked about Kratos becoming Death. He pretty much becomes the Grim Reaper at the end of the game and his blades become sickles."
Though GoWIII was supposed to be the end of Kratos' story arc, Asmussen didn't rule out his return in future games. If not, there are other ways for him to live on. "We kept the Blade of Olympus around as well, and we've got ideas of things we could do with that. Maybe there's powers contained within the Blades of Olympus; maybe there's a little piece of Kratos that's still inside there. There's a couple different tools we could use, and there's definitely room to expand on things."
Personally, I thought Kratos' act was wearing thin by GoWIII so I wouldn't mind it if his ashy ass never returned. However, the guy is the face of the franchise (and, to some extent, PlayStation) so I could understand their reluctance to part with him.