Updated: December 7, 2021 3:56:40 pm
In 2018, Santa Monica Studio left a huge mark in the games industry when their action-adventure title, ‘God of War’ lifted the trophy for Game of the Year. While every other company was trying to bank on the battle royale trend, they stood their ground and delivered a single-player experience on a grand scale. For many, this epic narrative served as a gateway to Norse mythology, its monsters, and breathtaking locations brimming with lore.
After being a console exclusive series for years, its latest instalment is now heading over to PC in 2022. So, we thought of going over some lesser-known facts about the iconic, bald-headed demigod, Kratos.
Traditionally, Spartans are known for their armoured bodies and long hair that are groomed during pre-battle rituals. And initially, Kratos was the same. Early concept art created by Charlie Wen depicted Kratos with a full head of luscious hair. This was later scrapped during development since “flowing things” were generally difficult to animate and because game director David Jaffe wanted Kratos to appear unconventional.
Other changes include the removal of the Sparta armour and clothing, an eye mask, and an infant on his back, which could supposedly be Atreus (Loki). The team went through a lot of design changes before fixating on the tattooed, bare-bodied hunk of a warrior.
Kratos’ Skin Complexion
A driving force for Kratos’ distinct appearance is his bleached white skin tone, earning him the title, “Ghost of Sparta”. If you’ve played the earlier games in the series, you would know that his body isn’t actually white, but rather covered in the ashes of his dead wife and child. Ares, the former god of war manipulated Kratos into killing his family and townsfolk, serving as a catalyst for his hatred towards the Greek deities.
This anger was further amplified when the Olympian Gods chose to punish him for his sins by applying their ashes all over his body in a sacred ritual. However, this backstory was added later in the development phase. David Jaffe and his team adored Kratos’ horrifying look in the illustration sheets and decided to keep him that way since the beginning. In the latest 2018 game, you can see the ashes fading away in some areas, indicating that the curse is starting to wear off, a little.
When referring to Greek Gods in any form of media, their physical stature is often a subject for discussion. But unlike other deities, Kratos’ height has always seemed to vary throughout the series. When standing next to his half-brother, Hercules, in ‘God of War III,’ he was assumed to be somewhere around 8 feet tall, given his head aligned with the former’s torso.
Early scripts listed him as 6 feet 6 inches tall, while recently, a Santa Monica Studio dev stated that Kratos is 7 feet 6 inches in the comic books and about 6 feet 4 inches in the game. Some sources also state that his height measures exact 7 feet.
Kratos Blue Tattoos
Kratos’ signature tribal body tattoos were originally supposed to be blue, as evidenced by the early concept designs for the character. However, the developers were forced to change it merely days before the game’s official reveal to the press. The cause for concern was its visual similarity to The Barbarian from Diablo II, a character who also sported blue warpaint. Worried that the team would get into legal issues, the director David Jaffe changed the colour to red, giving Kratos a much violent appearance.
“I had played Diablo I but never II, and this was sure news to me,” said David in a personal blog. “As it was too clearly to many/all others on the team, as this was the first we’d heard of the character, let alone the similarity. So you can bet we changed it!”
Voice Actor Change
Throughout the God of War franchise, the developers have only switched Kratos’ voice actor once. Leading up to God of War 3, American actor Terrence C Carson was known for portraying his cold, harsh demeanour. But this came to a halt in 2018, when Christopher Judge took over the role. According to the developers, this decision wasn’t simply a matter of an older, mature voice but also aided in motion capture.
His “weak” constrained movement alongside mechanical factors such as maintaining eye lines with a child actor (Atreus) helped create a more reserved version of Kratos that was required by the script. PS – Elijah Wood aka Frodo from the Lord of the Rings movies also played Kratos’ brother, Deimos in two God of War titles.
Based on an actual God – Cratus
Although Kratos is a fictional character in a video game, it holds similarities and “direct” differences to an actual figure from Greek mythology, Cratus. Born of the divine entities, Pallas and Styx, the Roman name is associated with attributes like strength, power, and force. You can see similar qualities in Kratos when he is warding off enemies or using the Spartan Rage ability.
However, while Cratus is obsessed with serving Zeus and the other Olympians, our Kratos is the exact opposite – doing everything to exact his revenge against the gods. In Greek mythology, Cratus and Bia were asked to imprison Prometheus, while Kratos released him from his torment in God of War II.
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