God of War has a secret intro in ancient runes: “This is the story of a bear and a wolf”

You probably know the basic premise of God of War (opens in new tab), even if you haven’t started playing it yet – but you’ve never seen it rendered in such mythical terms (and script). A clever student of languages noticed that the runic text on the back of the God of War Steelbook case isn’t just there for visual flavor – it actually serves as a brief introduction to the tale of Kratos and Atreus.

Here’s the text as transliterated on Instagram by Antonino Lupo.

Boom. #dropthemic You’re welcome. #Godofwar #limitededition #runes #steelbook #godofwarsteelbook #godofwarsteelbookrunes #elderfuthark #futhark #norsemythology #norseman #norserunes #germanic #translation #translitteration #ps4 #playstation4 #sony #santamonicastudio #godofwarlimitededition @santamonicastudio @playstation Antonino Lupo (opens in new tab)

A photo posted by @herra_vargr on Apr 20, 2018 at 3:29pm PDT

If you can’t read the Instagram post right now, this is what the runes say when converted to Latin script: “This is the story of a bear and a wolf, who wandered the realms nine to fulfill a promise of one before; they walk the twilight path, destined to discower (discover) the truth that is to come.”

The bear and the wolf are Kratos and Atreus, obvs, and the nine realms they wander are the many planes of Yggdrasil, the World Tree that connects all things in Norse mythology. Presumably the “promise of one before” refers to Atreus’ late mother, and the twilight path the father and son walk? You’ll just have to play to find out more about that.

The case’s text is rendered in a variant of Elder Futhark, the oldest known form of runic alphabets and a script found engraved on artifacts of ancient Germanic tribes. However, the case’s text is written in modern English then transliterated into runes, which is why you can sorta make out some of the words if you squint. That also explains why the text actually says “discower” instead of “discover” – there’s no character for the “V” sound in Elder Futhark!

Linguistics are fascinating, aren’t they? Learning about how ancient people communicated, and what our own languages owe to their efforts, is almost as much fun as throwing an axe through three draugr at once.

For more ways to get the most from your father and son time, check out our comprehensive God of War walkthrough (opens in new tab).

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