God of War is full of memorable moments throughout its exciting adventure, but nothing has come close to Atreus’ twist when developer Santa Monica Studio revealed that the son of Kratos is Loki. Loki is one of the most predominant characters in Norse Mythology who remained absent, by name, throughout God of War until the dramatic conclusion in Jotunheim. Atreus and Loki have always been one in the same character in God of War, but the name has far less significance to both Kratos and Atreus than it does to the audience.
Loki, as it was revealed, was the name that Kratos’ wife, Faye, wanted to give Atreus when he was born. The former Greek God of War insisted that Atreus be named after another Spartan that Kratos fought alongside long before arriving in Midgard. Though Faye had acquiesced to calling Atreus by the name fans fell in love with throughout God of War, the part-god part-mortal was ultimately named Loki across the murals of Jotunheim. With the Giant’s existence near its end, Atreus was depicted as the sole survivor who would save Jotunheim and the future of the Jotnar.
Despite the God of War Ragnarok trailer showing an older Atreus who is curious about Loki and Ragnarok, little is actually known about what will take place in the next entry to the franchise regarding his development. While three years’ time has gone by, Atreus in the Ragnarok trailer appears to be a more developed version of the Atreus during the ending of God of War. God of War concludes with a balanced Atreus who has accepted that there is good in the world that he can use his powers for, which partially contributes to why the Atreus-Loki twist is still phenomenal four years later.
What Makes God Of War’s Atreus-Loki Twist Great
Atreus saw a roller coaster of character development in God of War, beginning with an over-confident yet sensitive child, to an arrogant and rash figure after discovering his godhood, and ultimately ending as lawfully good as an eleven-year-old with godhood could be. Atreus coming to terms with his lineage and ultimately becoming a better character for it is also part of what makes the Atreus-Loki twist great in God of War. Atreus is in stark contrast from other interpretations of Loki, such as Loki from old Scandinavian myths who was said to be one of the “supreme evils,” or the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s Loki.
Atreus is undoubtedly a powerful figure in God of War by himself, but it’s his affiliation with Loki that foreshadows an almost certain inevitable downfall regarding fans’ perception of him. God of War paints every traditional Norse Mythological figure as a villain, be it Thor, Odin, Freya, and even those who were killed by Kratos and Atreus. Regardless, it’s hard to hear the name “Loki” and associate it with the hero of the God of War story, even if Atreus really is a hero. God of War has never had a traditional hero vs. villain or good vs. evil story, as the franchise thrives on vengeance and taking matters into one’s own hands.
Atreus is perhaps the first long-term character in the series who, despite his brief spell of arrogance, is a force for both good in the world and for Kratos’ own character development. Perhaps Atreus will remain the hero that Santa Monica Studio has been building him up to be in, but his association with the name Loki may make him a villain or enemy in God of War Ragnarok. Atreus could possibly see his own Greek tragedy in God of War, following in his father’s footsteps just as Kratos followed in Zeus’.