Sony's God of War series is known for their unabashed love of gore and violence featuring mythological beings. However, the 2018 entry for the PS4 treated things a little differently. Developer Santa Monica Studio didn't just overhaul the combat, level design, tactics, and abilities but aimed for a more narrative-heavy experience as a whole.
With that said, there were bound to be hints and references across the board. From older game nods and foreshadowings to new lore quips and pop culture references, God of War (2018)'s developers packed in many small details. Here are 10 of them.
Note: There will be spoilers to the narrative and events in the game. This article is subjective and solely reflects the writer's opinions.
10 great easter eggs and references from God of War (2018)
10) Summon the Norse Squirrel Ratatoskr
In Norse mythology, Ratatoskr is a magical squirrel that traverses through the world tree Yggdrasil. His task is to deliver messages between Hræsvelgr the eagle and Nidhoggr the dragon which lies beneath the trees' roots. Here, it can be summoned by Atreus to aid Kratos in combat. But first, players will need to unlock it.
Ratatoskr can be found in a chest atop the Light Elf Outpost. After claiming it, Atreus can call the squirrel forth, who can drop rage or health stones in battle. Unlike other runic summons, it can also talk, often expressing displeasure for being reduced to such a trivial task.
9) E3 demo reference
When God of War was initially unveiled at E3 2016, one of the gameplay segments featured Kratos and Atreus walking towards a bridge. However, they are soon met with two enemies, followed by a roaring troll that crumbles the bridge as it tears up from beneath the bridge.
Things play out differently in the retail game, with the troll not encountered until later. However, when players approach the same location and pass over it, Atreus comments on how funny it would be if a monster was hiding beneath it.
8) References to other mythologies
In Helheim, players can visit Odin's Chamber. Here, players will encounter a cutscene with a panel with four symbols in each corner. The talking head of Mimir chimes in, saying they are symbols of war from other lands. They each depict Egyptian, Celtic, and Japanese iconography.
Perhaps that's a hint at what's to come in the future from the studio for the series? It wouldn't be unreasonable after the sudden shift in dynamic Santa Monica took with God of War (2018).
7) Thor cutscene post-credits
This one is pretty easy to unlock. Once the storyline is beaten, players can go back home. Move to the bed, where players will get an option to sleep. This shifts events years later with the threat of Ragnarok looming overhead. Both Kratos and Atreus are awoken by a raging thunderstorm, and they are scrambled to find the source of it.
It is then revealed that a robed stranger awaits them outside the house. On Kratos' inquiry about his identity, he shifts his attire to unveil a thunder-infused hammer at his side, the one and only Mjolnir, the legendary weapon wielded by Thor. With the upcoming God of War Ragnarok, fans are anticipating meeting the Norse god of thunder.
6) Mural during the first Stranger boss fight
During the finale, players encounter a mural in Jotunheim that unveils Atreus' identity as Loki, the god of mischief. Curiously, this same mural appears during the Stranger boss fight, and it is what Kratos slams Baldur into. However, it is partially obscured even when in view. This makes one wonder how it changed locations.
5) Kratos' Norse name as Loki's father
On another related note, the Jotunheim murals also unearth a peculiar name: Farbauti. In Norse mythology, that is Loki's father. Since Kratos is Atreus' (i.e., Loki's) father, this is not surprising. The fact that Faye calls Kratos Farbauti also makes sense. The word translates to "cruel striker," a fitting description for Kratos' brutal execution tactics.
4) Marvel's The Avengers (2012) Hulk quote reference
Upon fighting the Grendel of the Ashes and Frost in Tyr's temple, the father-son duo engages in idle chatter. Kratos mentions that he's "beaten bigger." This is a throwback to Kratos' older adventures that saw him take down monsters nearly as towering as the World Serpent Jormungandr. Atreus responds with, "Heh, puny troll."
This is a reference to The Avengers (2012) when Hulk smacks around Loki and walks back, saying, "puny god." A bit of a turnaround here as it is Loki now making the reference.
3) Hydra and the Boat Captain key reference from God of War (2005)
In the original God of War on PS2, players face Hydra, a massive Greek monster with multiple heads. Kratos must enter its mouths and ends up encountering a Boat Captain on the verge of falling to his death. The ruthless protagonist pulls him up, only to grab the key around his neck and then pushes him into oblivion.
The poor fellow has been referenced in other God of War games as well, and in the 2018 PS4 game, players can find a treasure map featuring his ruined ship.
2) Thanos' Infinity Gauntlet easter egg
Called the Shattered Gauntlet of Ages, this unique equippable can be found by doing the Family Business quest. After arriving on the boat, players will be attacked by a greatsword-wielding enemy. Defeating him will grant the aforementioned Epic Talisman. The description says:
"An ancient relic of Hel deemed too powerful to remain whole, fragments of its former strength lie scattered throughout the realms."
It can be slotted in with Enchantments to boost its power. However, there are six specific Enchantments found throughout the game that also reference Thanos' six Infinity stones. Slotting any three will allow Kratos to fire a missile-like burst of projectiles that do massive damage.
1) Atreus' true identity is hidden in plain sight
Remember Kratos' quaint little home in the woods? If players inspect each of the four corners of the house, they can uncover four inscribed Elder Futhark symbols. Put together, they spell out LOKI - Atreus' Jotnar name. His identity as the iconic god of mischief came as a surprise to many, so even if fans figured it out early, the information might not mean much.
However, with how God of War (2018) ended, the new sequel is bound to throw players into another gripping journey to stop doomsday. Prepare for Fimbulwinter when God of War: Ragnarok arrives on PS4 & PS5 later in 2022.