The PlayStation Studios team has finally confirmed God of War Ragnarok’s release date (November 9) and even revealed an elaborate special edition of the upcoming game to celebrate the announcement. While those two updates have understandably been dominating headlines in the last 24 hours or so, it’s worth noting that the Ragnarok team also released a new trailer for the long-awaited sequel. Granted, that trailer was little more than a CG showcase designed to whet our appetites, but it happened to feature our first look at a giant wolf that has confused GoW fans and Norse mythology buffs alike.
While that giant wolf is never officially identified in the God of War Ragnarok trailer, it certainly appears to be Fenrir: the massive mythological beast who is arguably best known for biting off Týr’s hand. He also played a small role (or as small a role as he possibly could play) in Thor: Ragnarok (though he went by the name Fenris in that movie). If that’s not Fenrir, then it seems that there is somehow another wolf the size of a large building running around God of War Ragnarok’s world.
Mind you, I’m only half-joking about that last part. After all, in Norse mythology, Fenrir is the son of Loki and the giantess Angrboða. However, in God of War lore, Loki is actually Kratos’ son, Atreus. That raises a lot of questions about how Atreus could have possibly sired the giant wolf, Fenrir.
So far as that goes, it’s important to remember that this isn’t actually the first time that we’ve encountered one of Loki’s mythological offspring in a God of War game. Actually, 2018’s God of War prominently featured Loki and Angrboða’s middle child, the World Serpent, and their other child, Hel, was referenced in one of the game’s Jötnar Shrines. Put it all together, and it really seems like the God of War team is either not concerned with strictly adhering to that part of Norse mythology, or they’re sitting on some way to explain how Loki’s children are running around the game’s world despite the fact the game offers a decidedly different take on Loki’s origins and fate.
Actually, the bigger story here might be Fenrir’s motivations and loyalties rather than his strict origins. See, Fenrir may have been “raised” by the gods in Norse mythology, but they were always aware of how dangerous Fenrir was. Indeed, along with the aforementioned removal of Týr’s hand, the prophecies foretold that Fenrir would actually rise up to kill Odin and swallow the sun during the events of Ragnarok.
Does that mean that Fenrir is going to be a somewhat unlikely ally to Kratos and Atreus in God of War Ragnarok rather than the hulking boss fight beast that the trailer presents him as? Maybe, but I’d sooner bet that Kratos and Atreus have more of an “enemy of my enemy” relationship with Fenrir in the game. After all, Kratos and Atreus eventually came to a kind of understanding with the World Serpent in 2018’s God of War despite the fact that the World Serpent was also initially presented as a threat. Kratos also seems to tell Atreus “Remember, you are not alone,” when they see Fenrir, which again hints at a possible partnership between the parties.
While Fenrir may require a little…persuasion, I don’t know if the game would stray so far from the character’s actual mythology to turn the wolf into little more than a hulking beast and the star of a boss fight set-piece. Instead, it seems more likely that Fenrir, Kratos, and Atreus may be able to put aside their initial differences once they realize that they’re all aimed at the same targets. Whether or not Fenrir ends up killing Odin in Ragnarok remains to be seen.
Regardless, the God of War team has already confirmed that Ragnarok will be the end of the franchise’s “Norse saga,” so it makes sense that the team would bring out that mythology’s heaviest hitters and prominently feature them on the precipice of the end of everything. Where the franchise goes from there is anyone’s guess.