God of War has been out for a while, and considering it’s one of the best games 2018 has to offer you can bet all the hacksilver you like that there are God of War secrets hidden throughout Kratos’ journey. Each one is a testament to the careful thought that’s gone into Sony Santa Monica’s outstanding game, as they span from subtle nods to previous chapters of the God of War franchise to blockbuster movies. The first one might even tug at your heartstrings a little. Who am I kidding, it’ll tug at your heartstrings a lot. Before you dive in, be warned that there are some huge end-game spoilers below, so don’t read any further if you haven’t finished the main story.
Atreus’ sash is Kratos’ old loincloth
Before you visit Brok’s shop and buy Atreus a set of much-needed new clothes, take a close look at the ones he starts off with. Around his hips is tied a red-and-gold sash with a geometric pattern...otherwise known as the loincloth Kratos used to wear when he was rampaging around Greece. I don’t know if I can picture the emotionally-closed-off Kratos we saw at the beginning of God of War handing over the cloth to Atreus with gravitas, so it seems more likely that his mother Fey crafted it into a sash for her son. Aww.
Kratos has the red leather straps from when he was in Greece
While we’re on the topic of clothing, to find one of the best secrets all you have to do is switch your attention to Kratos you’ll see red leather straps under his leather waistcloth. With a golden stud at the end of each one, they’re left over from his costume in the previous God of War games when he wore a Spartan skirt underneath his loincloth. Guess he’s finding it pretty hard to let go of the past...either that or he didn’t see the point in throwing away perfectly good leather. Which sounds just as likely, to be honest.
Thanos’ Infinity Gauntlet makes an appearance
Avengers: Infinity War and the devastatingly-powerful gauntlet that it centres around has transcended movies to also appear in games, and Sony has joined Fortnite in playing tribute to Marvel’s mega-movie with this God of War Easter egg. Complete Sindri’s Family Business quest to get the Shattered Gauntlet of Ages, which has “fragments of its former strength scattered throughout the realms”. There are six special enchantments that can be affixed to the gauntlet, and if you fill all three slots the gauntlet can fire a purple beam. You know, just like Thanos. I bet that puts a smile on Kratos’ face.
Masks appear in Sindri and Brok’s shop when you sell them
Thankfully those exquisitely-carved masks don’t just disappear into the abyss when you sell them to Sindri or Brok, as if you keep an eye on their shelves you’ll see the artefacts proudly displayed in the background. The brothers did pay pretty good money for them, so it makes sense that they’d want to show ‘em off.
Boat captain treasure map references the captain that’s been featured in other games
Poor Boat Captain. This unlucky soul has been featured in all the God of War games so far, and Kratos has always been the subject of his hate. In the first game Kratos let him fall to his death; he killed the Captain after he was summoned to fight him in God of War 2; and in God of War 3 you find a furious note from him. The latest game is no different either, as one of the treasure maps references a the Boat Captain’s ruined ship as one of the nifty little God of War secrets. The poor guy just can’t catch a break, can he?
Atreus’ tattoos read ‘calm mind’ and ‘fast hand’
Nowadays you’d probably be fairly confused if you saw a young boy strolling down the street with tattoos on his arms and neck, but as Atreus’ is living through during the ancient Norse past it isn’t quite that unusual. The inscription on his hand reads ‘hrada hond’ in Icelandic, which means ‘fast hand’, or ‘hasten hand’ in English. Speedy fingers must be helpful for an archer, after all. Lettering on his neck translates into the Icelandic phrase ‘logr hugr’, meaning ‘calm mind’. Like many of us at a young age, Atreus is still learning how to control his emotions - something which Kratos or Fey knew he’d struggle with, judging by the fact that they felt the need to tattoo an invocation for serenity on his neck.
You (briefly) go into first-person just like in God of War 3
Kratos has some daddy issues, which really isn’t a surprise when you consider the fact that his father Zeus is a megalomaniac. When you’re on the boat out of Hel you see an illusion of Zeus and Kratos fighting, a direct replication of the final boss battle from God of War 3. The camera snaps into first person as you see Atreus recoil in horror at the sight. This is the only time during the game that first person is used, just like in God of War 3 when you see through Kratos’ eyes as he delivers his finishing blows to Zeus. Thank Odin Atreus is there this time to snap you out of it.
You see the secret Jotunheim mural when you’re fighting the Stranger the first time
When you’re fighting The Stranger at the beginning of the game, if you look at the rock you’re about to smash him into with a tree trunk, you’ll find it’s actually a bit of the secret mural from Jotunheim. Who knows how it got there. Although considering Fey’s gift for prophecy - as she definitely knew what was on the cards for Kratos and Atreus - she probably found a way to put it there.
Kratos is called Farbauti in Jotunheim mural
As we’re on the subject of Jotunheim and murals, translating the text beside Kratos gives you the name...Farbauti. In Norse mythology Farbauti is Loki’s father, which makes sense now that it’s been revealed that Atreus was going to be called Loki. The Jotunheim murals even explain why Fey called Kratos Farbauti: it means ‘cruel striker’. She obviously knew of his fame as a Greek god-killer thanks to her Jotun gift of foresight. Is there anything she didn’t see coming?
Fey is short for Laufey
Now that we’re on the subject of family, one of the sweetest God of War easter eggs is that Kratos has a nickname for his wife - Fey. Her full name is actually Laufey, who is Loki’s giantess mother in Norse myth. As Kratos is a Spartan, he could call Laufey ‘Fey’ for short to be more efficient with the words he uses, similarly to how he calls Atreus ‘Boy’. Or it could just be the closest he gets to a pet name. Either is quite sweet, really. Mimir also calls her Laufey in his later stories, so it really is just us who has no idea what Fey is short for.
Kratos looks like he’s missing an eye in the opening screen
Peer at the opening screen and you’ll see two wooden carvings of Kratos and Atreus. At first glance they look pretty ordinary, but look closer at Kratos and it almost seems like he has an eyepatch over his right eye...you know who else is missing an eye? Odin. Later on in the game Kratos also journeys around with Mimir’s head attached to his belt, who gives advice to the Spartan. Odin does exactly the same thing with Mimir’s head in Norse myth. Could Kratos and Odin be one and the same? If only Fey was around to tell us.
Atreus (inadvertently) references the Hulk
After you fight the trolls of ash and frost in Týr’s temple, Kratos says “I’ve beaten bigger” (he fought a Titan, so he’s 100% right to be a bit cocky). Atreus replies with “heh, puny troll”. Sounds familiar, right? That’s because it’s almost the same phrase the Hulk mutters in The Avengers after smashing Loki into the ground at Stark Tower. As Atreus is destined to become Loki, this little nod to the movie is nothing less than bloody brilliant.
The Frost and Fire trolls are called Grendel
Those two giant trolls that you fight in Týr’s temple are respectively named Grendel of the Frost, and Grendel of the Ashes. They're named after Grendel, the one-armed monster that Beowulf fought in the Old English poem named Beowulf. Like Kratos, Beowulf is an intimidating and incredibly powerful hero who takes on the beast Grendel to stop it from terrorising the king's mead hall.