**There will be SPOILERS for God of War: Ragnarok and God of War (2018). If you have not completed these games and all side content 100% you might be spoiled. You have been warned.**
Kratos May Be Done With Norse Mythology, But That Doesn’t Mean the Fans Are
God of War (2014), or God of War 4 as some fans call it, was an unexpected, very lush, and enthralling experience. The open-world setting was gorgeous, the characters fascinating, the voice acting well-performed, and the gameplay exciting. Many fans agree that the valkyries were among the most exciting, thrilling if challenging, and unexpected parts of the game. They were powerful, deadly, and downright terrifying. They were worthy opponents and provided many players with challenges to adjust their playstyles and go-to tactics in order to overcome each one. Each valkyrie defeat meant freeing their soul from the corruption of their physical form, but it really meant triumphant victory for the player who most likely got their ass kicked multiple times before success could be achieved.
Dealing with the valkyries in God of War (2014) was actually a side quest, meaning you didn’t actually have to deal with them if you didn’t want to. Each of the other eight valkyries in the game was very difficult, each possessing incredible strength, speed, sweeping flying attacks, and a special unique ability depending on the valkyrie. You had to learn how they operated and learn to adapt in order to win. Defeating a valkyrie freed their soul and unlocked a portion (I think it was a seat that would glow, or their helm being placed there, or some other kind of indication as to your progress, I can’t remember) at the Council of the Valkyries located in Midgard. Once freeing the eight other valkyries, you suddenly get ambushed by Sigrun, the valkyrie queen.
Sigrun was the most difficult and punishing enemy of the entire game, bar none. Fans to this day argue whether or not she is still the most difficult enemy even after the release of Ragnarok and facing other valkyries in the sequel. Her incredible difficulty level meant an overwhelming sense of pride and accomplishment when the player finally manages to overcome the battle. She was by far the most worthy of opponents and it is satisfying that she, and her sisters, were the most powerful and deadly of all the opponents you face. Woman warriors are awesome.
Freya, the True Valkyrie Queen
From the beginning of the previous game, Freya was mysterious and very cool. We gradually learn more and more about her from her being a goddess, a goddess from Vanaheim, the former wife of Odin himself, Balder’s mother who cursed him with invincibility (if you know, you know), and after finally defeating Sigrun we learn that Freya, and not Sigrun, is the true valkyrie queen. Chances are that by the time you learn this, you have already killed Balder and incurred Freya’s promise for vengeance, learning that Freya is the true valkyrie and revered by this badass and tough-as-nails enemy to defeat, makes Freya all the more terrifying should she ever regain her fighting spirit, her wings, and her ability to travel the realms freely.
As we know in the sequel, it was on sight for Freya where Kratos was concerned. She managed to get her fighting spirit and wings back and fought him… in a story-mode battle. This meant that the battle couldn’t be as tough as the battle with Sigrun was, let alone the other valkyries. In fact, with her helm on, the player doesn’t even realize it is Freya until she removes it during a cutscene. Long story short, Freya decides to spare Kratos for now and use him to help her free herself from Odin’s curse to remain bound on Midgard and get her vengeance on him, after which she might still go after Kratos again. Thankfully, Freya and Kratos eventually reach a peaceful understanding and by the end of the game are friends again, with Freya accompanying Kratos and functioning much like Atreus during gameplay.
Why A Valkyries Game?
Kratos is awesome. We want games with him as the protagonist for years and years to come, with Christopher Judge voicing him as long as he is able. However, being able to take control of Atreus for portions of the game was an unexpectedly welcome change of pace and delight. Their different playstyles and skill sets were very well utilized. This game made Atreus even more awesome than fans thought possible, even those who dislike him for whatever reason.
However, being able to take control of Freya on top of the others would have been even better. I understand why, thematically, this was not done. This game and the last centered on Kratos and Atreus, father and son. And this sequel saw Atreus growing into quite the warrior all his own. Also, Freya remaining a mysterious and a looming threat until she was an ally again made the most sense.
And yet, a game centering on Freya, her origins in Vanaheim, and how she became Odin’s wife and the queen of the valkyries would make for one hell of a game. It could be a pure prequel leading up to the previous game, or a combination of prequel flashbacks/events during Ragnarok when Freya was doing her own missions without Kratos when they allied themselves again/hunting him and getting her fighting spirit and wings back beforehand, and after the game when the shield maidens were established. We definitely can use some powerful, strong female characters being playable in this franchise.
The Potential Characters/Gameplay Elements
Freya should be at least one playable character, if not the only one. We could have multiple valkyries or maybe a select few be playable or unlockable. We should see every valkyrie encountered in the two other games, as well as more mentioned but unseen in them. Brunhyldr comes to mind in particular. Often anglicized to Brunhilde (at least I think that’s the same figure), this was the valkyrie that Valkyrie from the MCU (her name is meant to be Brunhilde, but has it ever been spoken on screen? If you saw Thor: Love & Thunder, let me know because I refuse to watch it) and Brunhilde the Valkyrie from Marvel Comics is based upon. We can of course see Freyr, Odin, Mimir, Balder, and all the characters associated with Freya in her past and while she was the queen of Asgard. Thor, Sif, Thrud, Modi, Magni, Tyr, and many others can either cameo or play large roles. If focusing on any other playable valkyries as well, we can witness Sigrun’s tragic backstory instead of just being told about it, same with the details of Freya’s backstory, marriage to Odin, time with the valkyries, etc.
The valkyries should have full access to their wings and be able to fly at will. This would be one of the most obvious and exciting changes for players. Flying could be used to easily traverse each realm they visit but for the sake of exploration and collection of supplies and goods, it wouldn’t be smart to remain in the air permanently. They should be strong as hell and have access to the move sets and abilities already shown in the games which can be customized or upgraded further, as well as potential new weapons and abilities. The Council of the Valkyries can act as the main hub and the training grounds in Asgard can be a place to train and earn extra XP. Oh yeah, you should be able to freely travel all realms including Asgard. We should be allowed to see the faces of each of the valkyries we play as, and maybe even the others we don’t, definitely during key cutscenes and certain emotional moments. Perhaps we have many valkyries at the beginning of the game training to become these mythic warriors and they get to choose their armor and helms later after we see their faces beforehand. Gameplay essentials should function much like Ragnarok but since these are different characters from a completely different culture, they should not fight like Kratos.
Overall, a valkyries game would likely do very well, no matter what they decided to do since the games did such an excellent job making them so cool and badass. Let us be them! Let us learn more about them before we leave Norse Mythology for good!