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The end of the Norse Era: According to the games' directors, the Norse reboot of God of War is not getting a third installment. Development time is cited as the primary reason for finishing the story in two games, so God of War Ragnarok will complete the Norse narrative. However, the project leads did not go so far as to say that Sony would shelve the franchise.
On Thursday, Sony Santa Monica revealed that God of War Ragnarok would be the last game in the Norse storyline. God of War reboot Director Cory Barlog thinks that the development time for a trilogy of games is too long for the story they want to tell. He believes all loose ends and completion of the narrative can be hammered out in the second game.
"The first game took five years. I don't know how long it's going to take [to finish the second game], but I'm just going to throw out that it's going to take close to a similar time, right, to do this," Barlog told YouTuber Kaptain Kuba (full interview below). "Then if you think 'Wow, a third one in that same [time frame],' and we're talking like a span of close to 15 years of a single story. I feel like that's just too stretched out."
Barlog mentioned that the story they wanted to tell with the reboot does not require an epic trilogy anyway. The gist of the narrative is to show Kratos as a father. They wanted to explore how the God of War would have raised his son and how that relationship evolved him—how he changed from a god who only cared about revenge and war to one whose primary focus was his son. Barlog says they don't need a third game for that.
"Given where the team was at and where Eric was at with what he wanted to do, I was like, 'Look, I think we can actually do this in the second story," Barlog explained. "Most of what we were trying to do from the beginning was to tell something about Kratos and Atreus. The core of the story's engine is really the relationship between these two characters."
Indeed, stretching a story over such a span of time can cause players to "lose the plot a little bit." The development time is just too long. As a frame of reference, the original God of War trilogy was completed in only five years, during which Santa Monica produced several ports and spinoffs. Between 2005, when the first GoW game launched, and 2010, the studio developed six games in the franchise. A seventh, God of War: Ascension, landed in 2013.
Does this mean the end of the franchise? Barlog was careful not to say that. While it is the end of the Norse mythology, the door is still wide open to a different installment, but a guess at this point as to what that would look like would be pure fantasy.
Ragnarok is due out sometime next year.