God of War's triumphant return to the forefront of gaming pop culture wasn't always pegged to be as such. In the earliest days of Santa Monica's revival, Kratos' most seasoned admirers were left to wonder how drastically the developer intended to depart from the franchise's original guise with the soft reboot.
Would it eschew the trilogy's entire history up to that point, only retaining the series' main star and nothing else, or revel in fan service with frequent references to Kratos' past deeds?
As it turns out, Santa Monica opted to take the best of both worlds and seamlessly weave them together to craft a tale accommodating players new and old, not just in its narrative, but via, too, a copious helping of Easter eggs hidden across Midgard.
Ranging from sly textual throwbacks to Kratos' original adventures in Ancient Greece to hidden symbols hinting at Atreus' true identity long before the official reveal, not one of Midgard's Nine Realms is devoid of secrets. Some - Atreus' arrogant verbal dismissal of the danger posed by a duo of trolls, for example - only expose their true genius in light of the revelations made at end-game.
Vague? Absolutely, but let's just say Kratos' own version of the Infinity Gauntlet isn't the only mischievous tribute to Marvel's cinematic universe tucked away in Santa Monica's masterpiece.
Joe is a freelance games journalist who, while not spending every waking minute selling himself to websites around the world, spends his free time writing. Most of it makes no sense, but when it does, he treats each article as if it were his Magnum Opus - with varying results.