Last night, during Sony's PlayStation Showcase event, we got the debut trailer for the new God of War game - and super cool it looks too.
But after God of War Ragnarok was fully unveiled, we got what was for me an even more interesting reveal: our first look at the game's version of Thor, the Norse god of Thunder.
God of War art director Raf Grassetti tweeted a picture of God of War's Thor, who is played by Ryan Hurst, and it has since gone viral. The tweet has at the time of publication over 75,000 likes. It's trending.
My boy! pic.twitter.com/5hPocTewBJ— Raf Grassetti (@rafagrassetti) September 9, 2021
Why? Because God of War's Thor does not look like the Thor popularised by the Marvel Cinematic Universe. He is not made of muscles, with beautiful blonde hair and piercing blue eyes. God of War's Thor is a big boy. He is fat.
Some of the replies to Grassetti's tweet have, disappointingly, pointed out this difference as some sort of negative. God of War's Thor shouldn't be fat, they say. I've even seen some people say they won't buy the game because of this.
I'm delighted to see Thor with this sort of build. The "realism" debate is a red herring. Whether Santa Monica Studio's Thor is more in-keeping with the mythology than Marvel's is beside the point and not a debate I'm particularly interested in. The point is, it's fantastic to see a game developer willing to portray fatness without taking the piss.
God of War's Thor has the strongman look of real life. He has the look of Eddie Hall, of Žydrūnas Savickas, of The Mountain from Game of Thrones, who was played by another professional strongman: Hafþór Júlíus Björnsson. I imagine God of War's Thor is so strong that he, on a whim, could crush Kratos' skull in the palm of one hand. All this without the Chris Hemsworth look.
Fat shaming is a tired trope. It is often associated with greed, with gluttony and with evil-doing. And video games are guilty of it. Resident Evil Village's The Duke is a recent, high-profile example of fat mockery - he is a money-grabbing shopkeeper squeezed into a space that doesn't fit. It's the same gag Marvel went for with Avengers Endgame's awful fat Thor scene, in which the God of Thunder is found drunk, depressed and addicted to Fortnite after losing to Thanos. You're meant to laugh. As a fat man, I just felt sad.
God of War's Thor makes me happy. Thank you Santa Monica Studio, for creating a fat God of Thunder who isn't a bad joke.