After months of speculation and waiting, fans finally received a bevy of new information for God of War: Ragnarok during Sony’s PlayStation showcase last week. The PlayStation Showcase trailer showed off dazzling graphics, hinted at plot details, and teased new combat mechanics for players to mess around with once the game is available. A series of screenshots and concept art were additionally shown off for the game, showing what Kratos, Tyr and Atreus will look like. Thor, who was teased at the end of God of War, was also shown off. However, the reception to his design has been mixed to say the least.
Santa Monica Studio has opted to design its interpretation of Thor based on the Viking myths, as opposed to the extremely popular MCU version that modern audiences are more used to. This take on Thor sports long red hair, a thick beard, a giant belly, and an overall dishevelled appearance as a whole. God of War: Ragnarok‘s version of the god of thunder is a far cry from what people have become used to over the past decade, but there are a number of reasons why Santa Monica Studio has opted for such a different physical appearance for its take on the mythical character.
Thor – The Unavoidable MCU Comparison
Due to the colossal impact that the MCU has had on pop culture as a whole over the past decade, any piece of entertainment adapting the Mighty Thor will inevitably be compared to Chris Hemsworth’s portrayal of the character. Having appeared in a trilogy of solo Thor films from 2011 to 2017, as well as being a major player in the Avengers franchise, Thor has become one of the most recognizable superheroes in mainstream cinema over the years. Chris Hemsworth’s impressive physical presence and charisma bring an enjoyable layer to the role that make him one of the most beloved protagonists in the MCU.
Having such an iconic mainstream presence like this is sure to have a ripple effect on other pieces of media as well. For all intents and purposes, Chris Hemsworth’s version has become “the face” of Thor for most audiences, which is understandable given his role in such a blockbuster film franchise. Santa Monica Studio could have tagged along with this success, borrowing the tried and true physical appearance of the MCU version of Thor by simply copying and pasting it into God of War: Ragnarok. However, wanting to do something different and make its game stand out, the team dived back into Norse myth, opting for a more truthful interpretation of the character. This “fatter” Thor may not be to the liking of some gamers, feeling he should be muscular and battle ready like Kratos. However, this look is more fitting than some players may believe.
God of War: Ragnarok – Staying True to Norse Mythology
2018’s God of War had a lot of fantastic elements at play, including a gripping story and engaging combat system. But it was the meticulous and faithful attention to detail in recreating ancient Norse mythology that may have stolen the show, elevating the entire experience to a whole new level. The God of War series as a whole has strived for this authenticity even from its earlier days on the PS2, aiming to capture the mythologies it is inspired by as closely as possible.
This is why it should come as no surprise why Santa Monica Studio chose to follow the creative path that it has for Thor’s appearance in God of War: Ragnarok. Chris Hemsworth’s interpretation is great in its own way, but it is without a doubt coated in a glossy layer that Hollywood is commonly known for. He is in impeccable physical condition, incredibly handsome, and has a likeable personality. While he is a good fit for a fun big screen experience, this is not at all the Thor from ancient Norse mythology, nor would it fit into the world already established by Santa Monica Studio.
While the MCU version did keep Thor’s often brash and arrogant nature intact, his Norse counterpart is far more intense and fear mongering. Thor, simply put, is not the nicest man to come face to face with. Thor is an individual who relishes in constant battle, savoring the victory over his enemies and often bragging about it in their faces. A true Viking, he also partakes in heavy amounts of drinking and consumption of food, completely giving into gluttony and pleasure at any given opportunity. Because of this, he cares little for how handsome he may be, and has put on a good deal of weight and now sports a large amount of facial hair.
While it is fair if this interpretation of Thor isn’t to everyone’s personal tastes, as that all comes down to preference, it cannot be denied that Santa Monica Studio have done something special. By choosing to create a design vastly different than the Thor present in the MCU, it will only help God of War: Ragnarok stand out on its own even more. Like many major character re-designs in history, this may prove to be one that grows on naysayers over time thanks to its authenticity, and it should suit the personality of God of War‘s Thor.
God of War: Ragnarok will release in 2022 for PS4 and PS5.