Why the New “God of War” is For a Different Kind of Mature Audience

Matthew Loffhagen
Sony Interactive Entertainment
(Photo: Sony Interactive Entertainment)

Sony’s latest in-house creation, “God of War” (not to be confused with the 2005 game of the same name) is officially the highest rated PlayStation 4 exclusive in the console’s history.

That rating refers to its critical scores, not its content – there have been plenty of games for the PS4 that have earned that lucrative Mature rating.

It seems, though, that the new “God of War” features themes that are mature in more ways than one.

In addition to being filled with blood and guts and violence, the game also features themes of adulthood, responsibility, and consequences for mistakes.

Considering that Kratos, the titular God of War (having dethroned Ares a long time ago in the series’ history), is now trying desperately to grow up. Sure, he’s always been a big, muscular man, but let’s face it – when it comes down to it, Kratos throws a tantrum worse than any crybaby in history.

Kratos and Atreus
Source: Sony Interactive Entertainment

The decision to age up the main character revolves around a choice on the part of the game’s developers to make him a responsible father. Apparently, this element of the story was almost cut at one point, but the game’s senior creative team fought for its inclusion.

This game is actually about something, and that something is the perils of growing older and raising kids.

AAA Stands For “An Aging Audience”

Baby raising simulators aren’t normally AAA game fodder, and it’s entirely possible that while the journalists and critics that have reviewed the game might love this, players could be turned off by the idea.

If your choice of games on the PS4 gravitate towards mindless shooters or any game with a hostile online chat culture, the new “God of War” might not be for you. As popular as “Fortnite” might be, it seems that Sony Interactive Entertainment is trying something very different with this game.

I’m all for this. Gamers are growing up, and there comes a time when we need games that reflect the more nuanced challenges of an aging player base.

God of War Kratos and Atreus
Source: Sony Interactive Entertainment

Gone are the cuddly mascot platformers of the ‘90s. Now a larger chunk of the gaming community is struggling with parenthood and the challenges of growing older. We need games that reflect this.

“God of War” doesn’t look like it’s just going to be mindless escapism. If you choose to pick the game up when it releases this week, you might just end up being touched by the dreaded feels.

Don’t worry – you can always play a few rounds of angry “Call of Duty” as a palate cleanser afterwards if you’re not quite ready for true maturity just yet.