New details on God of War Ragnarök have been revealed by its writers, including that an early version that had Kratos end up in Hel early within the game.
Narrative director Matt Sophos and story lead Richard Gaubert were interviewed on the MinnMax podcast about their work on the game, including Kratos' fate and the amount of puzzle assistance from side characters.
Be aware, God of War Ragnarök story spoilers follow.
Most interesting is Sophos' discussion on the possibility of Kratos dying. Players of the previous game will be aware of a prophecy that Kratos will die, and yet this is ultimately something he overcomes.
"The earliest, earliest draft of an outline that we had come up with that we took to Eric [Williams, director]... Kratos died in the Thor fight at the very beginning of the game," said Sophos.
"He was going to die and it wasn't a permanent death... [but] he would get pulled out of Hel essentially by Atreus but now 20 years have passed. There was going to be a big time jump.
"That was a version of it, but it didn't ultimately feel right."
That's partly due to its similarity to previous games, where Kratos dies and must escape the underworld.
"As we were developing the story, we knew that we wanted the story to be one about letting go and changing," Sophos continued. "Knowing that Norse mythology is all about fate and prophecy, we wanted to say 'that's bullshit, nothing is written that can't be unwritten, as long as you're willing to change or make changes in your life then you're not bound to fate'.
"When we landed on that and we knew that that was the story we wanted to tell, we knew that Kratos couldn't die because then it would be like 'are we just going to say that Kratos couldn't change?' and then that would suck."
Of course, Thor does kill Kratos in that battle but immediately brings him back to life in a fun gameplay twist. This, however, was not related.
Elsewhere the pair discussed the amount of puzzle assistance provided by side characters, something that was widely criticised after release. However, the team was not aware of this until the game shipped.
"We just didn't get it tuned well enough," admitted Sophos. "And it didn't get exposed to us really until the game came out, because even when we had playtests we never saw feedback about the characters talking too much."
"It wasn't until the game came out and it was like 'shit, if we'd known that we would've responded'," added Gaubert.
It doesn't seem like a patch is in the works to address this.
You can watch the full interview with Sophos and Gaubert below to hear more about cut content and a possible romance between Kratos and Freya.