Note: Minor spoilers will follow for God of War Ascension’s story.
Recently in the gaming industry, God of War Ascension has been getting a lot of buzz for one of its trophies that you receive after a boss battle against two of the Furies. This trophy, “Bros before Hos,” was patched the first day of the games release to the public to now read “Bros before Foes.” I have heard many reasons for people to be against the naming of this trophy, such as it advocating violence against women, or it being a more broad representation of the more tasteless and juvenile aspects of the gaming industry. I figured I would like to voice my opinion on this matter, and what better place to do it than in an editorial.
To begin, I’d like to add some context to the battle leading up to, and the cutscene in which the trophy appears. As Kratos is traveling to find a MacGuffin, he is interrupted by two of the three Furies. The one Fury that acts as the main boss in the fight is Tisiphone. Her powers revolve around creating illusions and trying to manipulate her victim’s mind. Early in the game she uses this power to disguise herself as a group of whores that attempt to seduce Kratos. To finish the battle against her, Kratos grabs her and beats her in the head, resulting to curb stomping her and then impaling her through the stomach on a spike.
Though it sounds very gruesome, this is quite tame for the way the God of War series handles boss deaths. Also, she doesn’t die. It turns out you were fighting one of her illusions the entire time. After the battle, Orkos, a man who has been assisting Kratos during his struggle against the Furies, appears and saves Kratos. Once they escape and are away from the Furies, the trophy then pops up in the corner of the screen. “Bros before Hos.”
I will not defend that saying, nor will I claim that it is funny. I found no comedic value in that trophy, but on that note, most trophies that try to use phrases to be funny fall flat. Where I will take up arms on this subject is when people claim that trophy is a breaking point that makes the game misogynistic, and implicit in the promotion of violence towards women.
If someone were to claim that God of War is promoting violence towards women because of that fight and the way it ends, that is a discussion that I could find much more ground in. When people say that the trophy is what promotes violence, I cannot find the logic in that. Does it make light of the beating of a mythological creature portrayed as a woman who portrays herself as a whore? Yes, but if someone is going into the God of War series in a serious manner, then maybe they should take a step back and look at what they are doing in the rest of the game.
As soon as I had seen this moment and realized that this is what the outcry against the game was about, I had a discussion with my co-editor Clint Prentice. He brought up the point of it showing how immature and childish games can be, a point to which I can agree. It is a dumb frat boy-esque saying that takes away from some of the more mature values in the game, and as the game industry moves forward into the next generation I can only hope that things like those saying will be left behind.
At the time of the writing of this editorial, I have yet to finish God of War Ascension, so I cannot speak to the overall quality of the game. What I am comfortable saying is that I am not offended by the trophy any more than I am offended by most failed jokes in games. This mishap has not made the experience of the game any worse for me, and I think some people are exaggerating just how bad the trophy is. Is it dumb? Yes. Could it have been left out of the game? Yes. Do I think it the trophy alone should stop anyone from buying the game? No.