God of War
God of War was first released in North America on March 22, 2005, for the PlayStation 2. After ten years in the service of the Olympian gods, Spartan soldier Kratos is tasked by Athena to find Pandora’s box, the key to defeating Ares, the God of War, who is running amok through Athens. A series of flashbacks reveals that Kratos was once the servant of Ares, who saved the Spartan and his army from annihilation in battle, but tricked him into killing his family, which forced his metamorphosis into the “Ghost of Sparta”. Kratos eventually finds Pandora’s Box, and after finally killing Ares, he ascends to Mount Olympus to become the new God of War.
God of War is an action-adventure game franchise created by David Jaffe at Sony’s Santa Monica Studio. It began in 2005 on the PlayStation 2 (PS2) video game console, and has become a flagship title for the PlayStation brand, consisting of ten games across multiple platforms with an eleventh currently in development. Based in ancient mythology, the story follows the titular protagonist, Kratos, a Spartan warrior and later the God of War, who was tricked into killing his family by his former master, the original Greek god of war Ares. This sets off a series of events that leads to wars with the mythological pantheons. The Greek mythology era of the series sees Kratos follow a path of vengeance due to the machinations of the Olympian gods, while the Norse mythology era, which introduces his son Atreus as a secondary protagonist, shows an older Kratos on a path of redemption, which inadvertently brings the two into conflict with the Norse gods.
Santa Monica has developed all main entries, while Ready at Dawn and Javaground/Sony Online Entertainment-Los Angeles (SOE-LA) developed the three side games. Sony Interactive Entertainment (SIE) has published all games except the mobile phone installment, which was published by Sony Pictures Digital. The first seven games make up the Greek era of the franchise. God of War (2005), God of War II (2007), and God of War III (2010) comprise its main trilogy; the first two were released on the PS2 with the third on the PlayStation 3 (PS3). A prequel, Ascension (2013), was also released for the PS3. Other games include Chains of Olympus (2008) and Ghost of Sparta (2010) for the PlayStation Portable (PSP) and Betrayal (2007) for mobile phones that supported the Java Platform, Micro Edition (Java ME). The Norse era began with the 2018 installment that was also titled God of War and released for the PlayStation 4 (PS4) and later Microsoft Windows in January 2022. It was accompanied by a short prequel, A Call from the Wilds (2018), a text-based game through Facebook Messenger. A sequel, Ragnarök, is in development for a 2022 release on the PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5 and will be the finale to the Norse era.
Games in the series have been praised as some of the best action games of all time. The series has received numerous awards, including several Game of the Year recognitions for the 2005 and 2018 installments. Some games have also been remastered for newer PlayStation platforms. As of November 2020, the franchise has sold over 51 million games worldwide. Strong sales and support of the series led to the franchise’s expansion into other media, such as three comic book series and three novels. A film adaptation of the original installment had been in development but was ultimately canceled. Merchandise includes artwork, clothing, toys, and prop replicas, as well as the games’ soundtracks, including a heavy metal album, Blood & Metal (2010), featuring original music by various bands who were inspired by the series.