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How to Play the God of War Games in Chronological Order

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God of War’s duology of Norse-set masterpieces has cemented it as one of PlayStation’s most iconic franchises. Born during the PS2 era, God of War made a name for itself with excellent action gameplay, an intriguing tale of divine revenge, and a memorable lead in the Spartan demigod Kratos. 18 years later, God of War has grown into gaming’s seminal action-adventure series, blending that increasingly fine-tuned action with deeper lore and a stronger narrative hook, anchored by an older, more empathic Kratos.

With God of War Ragnarok having earned its place in the pantheon of all-time greats, we’ve created this chronology of the series for those interested in playing (or replaying) it from the start.

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How Many God of War Games Are There?

Sony has released 10 God of War games in the series — six on home consoles, two on portable consoles, one on mobile, and one text-adventure on Facebook Messenger.

God of War: The Complete Playlist

Here's every single God of War release since the dawn of the gods. See All

We’re excluding its second mobile release, God of War: Mimir’s Vision, as this AR game doesn’t add to the ongoing narrative but instead provides players with background lore from the world of God of War. We’re also excluding PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale in this chronology, despite its comical inclusion in the God of War canon.

There are several God of War stories told through novels and comics as well, though this list only includes games.

God of War Games in Chronological Order

These blurbs contain mild spoilers for each game, including characters, settings, and story beats.

1. God of War: Ascension (2013)

Ascension, the seventh God of War game by release date but the first chronologically, is a revenge tale that explores the early days of Kratos’s transformation from a Spartan demigod into the God of War.

Ascension takes place months after Kratos was manipulated into killing his wife and daughter by the Greek God of War Ares (more on this under the original God of War section below). Kratos, traumatized by the killings, refuses to honor the oath he swore to Ares, setting into motion the story of Ascension. Ares seeks revenge through the game’s antagonistic Furies, three beings tasked with punishing betrayal, whom Kratos must kill in order to free himself from his oath. The story ends with Kratos leaving his Spartan home behind, still tormented by his grief.

2. God of War: Chains of Olympus (2008)

Kratos’s next adventure is told in the PSP game aptly named God of War: Chains of Olympus. Olympus takes place halfway through Kratos’s ten-year servitude to the gods (five years before God of War) — a servitude that, once completed, will free him from the torturous visions of his past.

The main plot tasks Kratos with rescuing Helios, the Titan God of the Sun, from the underworld at the behest of Athena. There, he encounters the game’s primary antagonist Persephone, Queen of the Underworld. Persephone presents Kratos with an opportunity to reunite with his daughter, and Kratos wrestles with the apocalyptic repercussions of that reunion and his promise to return Helios to the gods.

3. God of War (2005)

Set roughly 10 years after Ascension, the first God of War game begins with Kratos succumbing to his grief and jumping off a cliff into the Aegean Sea. Before he hits the water, we flash back three weeks to discover what led the Spartan off the brink.

Kratos, nearing the end of his servitude to the gods, is given one final task by Athena: defeat Ares and save the city of Athens from his siege. With the promise of forgiveness for his past atrocites as his reward, Kratos sets out to obtain Pandora’s Box and kill Ares. The task takes him to hell and back, with Kratos ultimately facing off against the God of War. Victorious yet no less troubled by his past, Kratos jump off the bluff as we saw in the game’s opening. Athena pulls him from the water and offers him a throne on Olympus, completing his 10-year ascension to becoming the God of War.

Throughout the game, a narrator provides crucial backstory about Kratos’s life through cut scenes. Kratos once served as a revered captain in the Spartan army. On the verge of death and defeat against a massive force of barbarians, he offered himself to Ares in exchange for victory. Ares answered the call, defeated the barbarians, and claimed Kratos as his servant, fusing his arms with the Blades of Chaos.

4. God of War: Ghost of Sparta (2010)

Ghost of Sparta, the series’ second PSP game, takes place between God of War and God of War 2. The subtitle references the nickname given to Kratos due to his pale-white appearance, the result of an oracle’s curse that fastened the ashes of his wife and child to his skin.

Ghost of Sparta provides closure to two familial narrative threads: Kratos travels to Atlantis where he encounters both his mortal mother and his long-lost brother Deimos, who was kidnapped by the gods during childhood to prevent the fulfillment of Olympus’s prophesized demise.

The climax sees Kratos and his brother reunited, doing battle with the Greek God of Death, Thanatos. Despite victory, it’s another unhappy ending for Kratos. By the time the credits roll, Kratos has grown even wearier and more furious with the other Olympians.

5. God of War: Betrayal (2007)

This mobile 2D sidescroller is officially part of the God of War canon, according to Sony Santa Monica animation director Bruno Velazquez. The gods, displeased with Kratos’s bloodlust, attempt to stop his latest conquest with Argos, a many-eyed giant that serves Hera, Queen of the Gods. Kratos is framed for the killing of Argos by an unidentified assassin in an attempt to further fracture his relationship with Olympus. Later, Zeus sends a messenger to put an end to Kratos’s continued destruction. Kratos responds with violence, once again defying the other gods. Betrayal leaves players with this message, setting up the events to come in God of War 2: “Soon, the fury of Zeus would rain down upon [Kratos].”

God of War: Betrayal was released in 2007, before the rise of smartphones, and isn’t available on modern mobile storefronts. It can be skipped without consequence, but those who want to play it will have to access it via a Java emulator.

6. God of War 2 (2007)

God of War 2 pits Kratos against Zeus, the King of Olympus. Kratos, already ostracized due to his yearslong rampage, rejects Athena’s plea for peace and continues wreaking havoc throughout Greece. It’s the final straw for Olympus; Zeus descends to the battlefield and kills Kratos.

Kratos finds a new ally in Gaia, the mother of Titans and Earth. She provides Kratos with a way to rewrite the past and save his own life. After a trip to the Underworld, Kratos follows Gaia’s instructions, leading him to the Sisters of Fate. After more bloodshed, Kratos takes control of the Loom of Fate and returns to the scene of his death. Kratos’s plan to kill Zeus is thwarted when another Olympian steps in front of his blade. It’s here that we (and Kratos) learn about his true parentage. Kratos uses the power of the Loom to recruit the Titans of the past to his future war. Back in the present, Kratos leads the Titans in an assault on Mount Olympus, setting up God of War 3.

7. God of War 3 (2010)

Taking place directly after the previous game, God of War 3 concludes Kratos’ Greecian saga and resolves his war with Zeus and the Olympians.

Kratos and the Titans battle with the Olympians to catastrophic effect. Kratos (once again) has his trust betrayed and (once again) descends into the Underworld. There, Kratos teams up with an old ally to take down Zeus once and for all. Back on Earth, Kratos faces the wrath of Titans and Gods alike, leading him on an epic killing spree toward a final showdown with Zeus.

Kratos declares an end to his vengeance, and with the world in ruin, makes a sacrifice to release hope to mankind.

8. God of War: A Call from the Wilds (2018)

God of War: A Call from the Wids is a Facebook Messenger text-adventure released ahead of 2018’s God of War. The ~30-minute story introduces Kratos's son Atreus and provides background on the character's extrasensory abilities, while adding a bit of flavor to his relationships with Kratos and his mother, Faye. The story is set sometime before God of War 2018 when Faye is still alive.

A Call from the Wilds seems to no longer be playable, though like God of War: Betrayal, this is a story that can ultimately be skipped. Those who want to experience it can find complete playthroughs on YouTube.

9. God of War (2018)

Set many years after God of War 3, 2018’s God of War transports Kratos from Greece to the Norse realm of Midgard, where Kratos now resides with his son, Atreus. Kratos and Atreus plan to fulfill Faye’s dying wish: to have her ashes spread from the top of the highest peak in the Nine Realms.

Their journey is no straightforward hike; the duo travel through multiple realms, encountering friends and foes from Norse mythology, including Baldur, Freya, Thor’s sons Magni and Modi, the last living giant Jörmungandr, and Mimir. Along the way, Kratos struggles with fatherhood and the truths he keeps hidden from Atreus — about his past and Atreus’s identity.

Following their adventure, the Nine Realms enter Fimbulwinter, a three-year-long precursor to Ragnarök, the end of the world.

10. God of War Ragnarok (2022)

Given the recency of Ragnarok's release, this plot synopsis is especially vague to avoid spoilers.

God of War: Ragnarok, the most recent and story-rich God of War game, is set three years after 2018’s God of War, as the Nine Realms near the end of Fimbulwinter and the beginning of Ragnarök.

Many characters return from 2018, alongside newcomers such as the All-Father Odin and his son Thor, but it remains focused on the adventures of Kratos and Atreus with a greater emphasis on the latter, who explores his newly discovered identities and powers. As Kratos and Atreus, you’ll traverse all nine realms and the Realm Between Realms on personal quests of identity and a greater quest to defeat the Asgards and survive Ragnarok.

We won’t spoil the journey, but Ragnarok leaves the door open for future God of War stories to be told. Though you can play the God of War Ragnorok New Game Plus mode if you've already finished the game.

How to Play the God of War Games By Release Date

  • God of War (2005)
  • God of War 2 (2007)
  • God of War: Betrayal (2007)
  • God of War: Chains of Olympus (2008)
  • God of War 3 (2010)
  • God of War: Ghost of Sparta (2010)
  • God of War: Ascension (2013)
  • God of War: A Call from the Wilds (2018)
  • God of War (2018)
  • God of War Ragnarok (2022)

What’s Next for God of War?

Sony has yet to announce another God of War game, though given the critical and commercial success of God of War (2018) and Ragnarok, we expect there to be future entries in the God of War series.

What has been announced is a God of War TV series. The live-action show, in development for Amazon’s Prime Video streaming service, will adapt the story of 2018’s God of War. Game director Cory Barlog serves as an executive producer; Rafe Judkins (The Wheel of Time) is the showrunner.


Jordan covers games, shows, and movies as a freelance writer for IGN.

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