When Kratos returned to Sony's E3 2017 press conference, he looked noticeably different. Weatherworn, and with a son, Kratos spent the demonstration navigating frozen wastes and battling a new horde of enemies. Fans were still treated to the same visceral combat that they have come to expect from a God of War game, and there were still supernatural elements as well, but it didn't take long for people to begin noticing that something about Kratos was different - his weapon of choice.
While in previous games Kratos has relied heavily on the Blades of Chaos, the weapons given to him by the Greek Gods, in the new God of War Kratos is seen wielding a single axe. The axe is more akin to what we have seen in games involving Viking protagonists, and although it is very clearly magical - it glows at various points in the footage we've seen thus far - it is certainly much less visually striking than the Blades. God of War creative director Cory Barlog recently sat down with Games Radar to comment on just why that change has been made:
"We were experimenting with lots of different weapons, lots of different things...I think we wanted to create an identity, because to me the blades represent a very dark time in [Kratos'] life. They are not just a weapon to him. They are his scarlet letter...so I think of part of him wanting to move forward is being able to [leave the blades behind]."
Apparently, the decision to leave the Blades of Chaos behind is chiefly story-driven, although Barlog later admits during the interview that abandoning the iconic weapons "gives us the freedom to experiment with what we really want to do". A one-handed axe is certainly different from the Blades of Chaos in a lot of meaningful ways, as the Blades represented a more elegant, fluid form of combat while the axe will bring some more brute force to one of the most heavily anticipated games releasing in 2018.
The fact that Santa Monica Studio has deliberated this much over the transition away from the Blades of Chaos should be evidence that the decision has not been made lightly, and that God of War is heading in a new innovative direction as a result. Of course, some series stalwarts remain, including the gorgeous rendition of Kratos seen on the E3 2017 stage, which was captured entirely on a regular PS4 model despite the at times breath-taking graphical prowess on display.
God of War releases in early 2018 and will be a PS4 exclusive title.
Source: Games Radar