That’s the spirit!
Kratos’s Norse adventures have come to an end, but the adventures of Atreus are just beginning. God of War Ragnarok is an epic conclusion to the story begun in the 2018 soft reboot of the series. While many plot threads are definitely wrapped up in the endgame, just as many questions and possibilities are left open. A new theory suggests the perfect setup for the next chapter in the story starring Atreus as the protagonist and it could take advantage of the expansive world that Sony Santa Monica already has at their disposal.
Something old, something new — It is hard to follow up a massive game like God of War Ragnarok. In addition to dealing with player expectations about what will come next, it is hard for a studio to move on from all the work they put into a game.
The world of Ragnarok is massive and lush with detail across the nine realms of the Norse world. Even in the many hours you can spend in Ragnarok fighting bosses and finishing side quests, it will always be sad to leave a world that has so much potential and so many systems within it. So why not just re-use them?
This is an approach Sony has already tested out to great success. When Naughty Dog wrapped up the Uncharted series (for now) with the fourth entry they recycled a lot of the systems into the spinoff/midquel (mid-sequel, you get the idea) Uncharted: The Lost Legacy that took the franchise in a familiar but fresh direction. Similarly, Marvel’s Spider-Man created the arguably superior and tighter experience Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales as an in-between treat to tide fans over until the release of the true sequel.
It isn’t clear what is next for developer Sony Santa Monica after Ragnarok. In a recent interview with the Los Angeles Times, God of War (2018) director Cory Barlog teased that the studio is currently “spread out on a lot of different things.”
In this period of figuring out their next move, Sony Santa Monica could take advantage of what they already have in Ragnarok and the open-ended story of Atreus.
What’s up with those stones Atreus collects? — A point of fascination for Atreus throughout the story of Ragnarok is spirit stones. It is revealed that these stone balls Atreus discovered in the secret areas of old giant murals contain the souls of giants. As Odin attempted to wipe out the inhabitants of Jotunheim, they transferred their souls into these stones as spiritual vessels, a way of escaping Odin’s rampage.
Reddit user Ed_Derick_ theorizes that the spirit stones have more power than even what is shown during the game. There are two moments where players see spirit stones being used. The first is a snake that Atreus puts the soul of a giant into, later in the game this snake grows into the massive world serpent Jormungandr. Second is the case of Fenrir, Atreus’s wolf that dies in the opening moments of the game. After defeating the giant wolf Garm, Atreus realizes he bound Fenrir’s soul into his knife and then infuses the soul into Garm.
Both interactions reveal that the infusion of a spirit stone into another being imparts characteristics of the spirit’s original owner onto the new bearer. The snake grows in size and its features change to become more humanoid. Garm’s eyes and pelt change into those of Fenrir once infused with the wolf’s soul. What is to say that this is the end of the spirit stone’s influence?
The changes that Jormungandr and Garm undergo are the spirit stones’ attempts to transform them to be more like the original bearer of the spirit. Over time this could continue, with Jormungandr becoming more Giant-like and Garm becoming Fenrir reborn. The potential of the spirit stones, not to mention the numerous stones Atreus has that are left unused, holds plenty of potential for a continuation of Ragnarok’s story focused on Atreus.