The latest in the God of War series, an affectionate father-son psychodrama, shows how video game bruisers are maturing alongside their creators
In an industry now in its mid-to-late 30s, and still with a predominantly male workforce, the glut of recent blockbuster video games featuring father-child relationships surely reflects the preoccupations of the men who make them. God of War is the latest specimen: a game in which a monosyllabic muscleman is on a journey to scatter his late wife’s ashes on the tallest mountain in Norse myth, while accompanied by his young son.
Previously the God of War series, which debuted in 2005, had little time to explore the emotional landscape of its testosterone-pumped protagonist Kratos, whose only downtime from tearing the balls from mythological monsters was spent gruffly shagging mute slave girls. God of War was always something akin to Marvel does Greek mythology (which, to be fair, was pretty much how Homer did Greek mythology): all brutal set-pieces that, with their lingering camera angles and splattering money shots, treated violence as pornography. It was a peculiarly American vision for the mid-2000s video game action blockbuster, one that has aged quicker than its protagonist’s tribal tattoos.