Get excited. "God Of War" is descending upon 2018 with a vengeance only Kratos himself could match. There has been an immense amount of hype surrounding the latest entry in Sony's mega-franchise, and for good reason. "God of War" is boasting a very new and fresh direction in many different aspects, and it has fans of the franchise itching for the release date to finally arrive. So what exactly is causing so many to board this hype train and punch a ticket to destination: game of the Year candidacy?

New combat control strategies

One of the main focal points developers at Santa Monica Studios wanted to zero in on was the combat philosophies and strategies.

In a recent video posted by IGN, Lead Designer Jason McDonald and Creative Director Cory Barlog dug into the new features and mindset of the combat system, and spoke about what makes it so much better than previous entries.

McDonald notes: "We wanted to make sure that, hey, when you win this fight, [you won it] slightly different than this other player did." Unlike previous entries where Kratos' raw power and predetermined move sets made combat a bit repetitive, players will now be encouraged to be a bit more cerebral in their fighting approach. More control of the physics and movements means attacks will have to be placed much more precisely. This will be a welcome change for fans of such games as "Dark Souls," which "God of War" has been loosely compared to in terms of the combat.

A shift in lore and mythos

Anyone who has even remotely heard of the "God of War" franchise knows that the game's story and plot has been loosely based on Greek mythology. All that is about to change, though, as one of the game's worst kept secret is that there will be a shift to Norse mythology. Addison Walton of Blasting News delves deeper into this exciting change, which includes a big highlight of the campaign, the epic Kratos vs. Thor boss fight.

Other prominent Nordic characters we can expect to see are the world serpent Jörmungandr, the Valkyries, the trickster god Loki, and the All-Father himself, Odin. It remains to be seen which characters will prove to be enemies of Kratos, although Loki would most likely be a good guess.

When speaking about how it's possible for the new game to transition into Norse mythology, Barlog mentions how it deals with an idea that all mythology coexists in this world, and is only "separated by geography." Barlog then goes on to talk about how, while the game is steeped in the Norse mythos, it isn't taking place in the "Viking era."

"A lot of people think Norse, they think Viking, but there's really this amazing prehistory -- the migration, and then prior to that, the pre-migration era," Barlog explained.

"In the viking era, they always talked about, 'The gods have abandoned us.' Thor and Loki and Odin all walked the Earth at one point, but they're not around any more. [The vikings] fight for them, but they're not there. This idea that we're at is saying, 'We're at a prehisory point, where gods did walk the Earth, when monsters were real, before they became extinct.'

"It's a fun space to be in because it allows us to paint our own image of Norse mythology as opposed to anyone else's."

The God of War...and fatherhood?

Another badly kept secret is that Kratos will be taking along a companion on his new adventures, and this companion happens to be his son, Atreus. From what we know of this situation, Atreus is the son of Kratos and an unknown woman, who apparently had a hand in teaching him how to hunt.

It goes without saying, but these are obviously different characters from his deceased son and wife from the first "God of War" (spoilers). Nice to see that he was able to move on and remarry, though!

This will be an interesting change in dynamic, as Kratos has mostly been a lone wolf for the majority of the "God of War" games. Kratos will now have to protect his son, help him hone his hunting and fighting skills, and we will get to see a developing relationship unfold over the span of an entire campaign. Without getting too much into speculation, Atreus could very well be something of an heir-apparent as well, seeing as how Kratos seems to be getting up there in age.

All in all, "God of War" looks to have all the makings of yet another smash hit for the franchise.

There is just enough change where we should get a fresh direction, while sticking close enough to its roots to still be reminded of what made this franchise great in the first place. The title is set to drop on April 20th, 2018. Here's to hoping it lives up to the hype and satisfies our need for not only some gratuitous hacking and slashing, but also an engrossing and compelling story.