In the new ‘God of War 4’ trailer, Kratos is old, grizzled, and as brutal as ever

Sony unveiled a brand-new trailer for the upcoming God of War 4, painting a grim portrait of Kratos’ future in the frozen lands ruled by the ancient Norse gods. Accompanied by his son, Kratos embarks on a perilous journey to do something apparently very dangerous — we’re not sure what exactly but this latest trailer definitely piqued our interest.

The upcoming God of War installment will serve as something of a soft reboot for the venerable Sony series — which was once a flagship game for the then-budding PlayStation 2 console. But there are a few allusions to Kratos’ dark past in the most recent trailer, illustrating that the past games and their — at times problematic — stories will weigh heavily on Kratos. It’s a new game, in a new style, but if nothing else this new trailer cements the fact that it is still quintessentially God of War.

Why is that? Well, in between all the fraught and foreboding dialogue there’s plenty of axe-swinging, monster-chopping, and massive beasts — even a friendly giant snake. The giant snake is, in fact, the world serpent from ancient Norse mythology. He rears his massive head near the end of the trailer, and for some reason Kratos’ son is able to communicate with the friendly serpent.

The game appears to be taking a closer-in perspective than previous entries in the God of War series, with a more introspective narrative, as evidenced by the relationship Kratos shares with his son — and lines that call into question Kratos’ brand of violent hyper-masculinity.

The inclusion of this kind of narrative texture is definitely welcome, even if it is a huge change from the simple revenge-fests that characterized the previous games, God of War has apparently grown up a bit during its time in the wilderness. But don’t worry, this trailer proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that God of War hasn’t forgotten what made it famous: killing mythological monsters, ripping them limb-from-limb with visceral and deeply satisfying combat.

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