From Concept Art to Cosplay: Creating iconic characters for God of War Ragnarök 

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From Concept Art to Cosplay: Creating iconic characters for God of War Ragnarök 

Lead Character Concept Artist Dela Longfish discusses the designs of Freya, Thor, and Angrboda. 

With the release of God of War (2018), we were absolutely amazed by how many people wanted to cosplay characters from the game – even those we didn’t have the chance to make guides for.

With the God of War Ragnarök cosplay guides, we wanted to make as many as we could to help provide resources for all our fans who want to take on creating our characters.

We’re happy to share that we’ve added ten additional characters from Lúnda’s workshops notes to the God of War Ragnarök cosplay page: Freya, Thor, Angrboda, Brok & Sindri, Týr, Thrúd, Heimdall, Odin, and Gná. 

Each guide contains character renders, close-ups of detailed pieces, and shots of their weapons/accessories. You’ll also find in the pages additional lore details handcrafted by our writers here at Santa Monica Studio and more sketches from B is for Boy artist Romina Tempest.

After you’ve taken a look at the new guides, make sure you check out the interview with Lead Character Artists Dela Longfish below on how the team approached creating the designs for Freya, Thor, and Angrboda. 

Community cosplay partners

In addition to the new guides, we’ve once again partnered with members of our extremely talented cosplay community to provide resources and tips on creating three of the characters from the updated guides – Freya, Angrboda, and Thor.

Freya – Ibelinn Cosplay

Cosplay Credit: Ibelinn Cosplay | Photo Credit: Katrix_Media

Representing Freya is none other than Ibelinn Cosplay, who did an enchanting Witch of the Wilds back when God of War (2018) released. We’re thrilled to partner with her to create Freya’s updated design in God of War Ragnarök.

Ibelinn has put together an expert guide on how to plan a cosplay, along with her how-to videos on creating the former Valkyrie Queen – you can see them here.

Angrboda – Kizuki Cosplay

Cosplay Credit: Kizuki Cosplay

To embody the Giantess of Ironwood, we’ve partnered with the wonderful Kizuki Cosplay, who brings a wealth of experience crafting intricate and detailed designs.

Bringing her expert and versatile skills to the creation of her cosplay, Kizuki has created a guide on making a wig for Angrboda, as well as tips on how she approached the other pieces of the costume, which you can see here.

Thor – The Ronin Cosplay

Cosplay Credit: The Ronin Cosplay

To become the God of Thunder, we partnered with The Ronin Cosplay, who has been a longtime pillar of the God of War cosplay community. From Kratos to Sigrun, Ronin has taken on some of the most complex character designs in our games and made them look absolutely incredible.

Ronin has provided us with his expertise in creating the intricate leather pieces for Thor’s armor in his guide, as well as insights into his process with his tips video – check them out here.

Interview with Lead Character Artist Dela Longfish

To provide insights into the three characters we’ve partnered with community cosplayers to make, we’ve sat down with Dela Longfish, a lead character artist on God of War Ragnarök, to discuss how these designs came to be.


God of War Ragnarök – Freya Cosplay Guide Pg. 3

Grace Orlady: At the end of the last game, Freya undergoes a traumatic event with the death of her son – changing her from friend to hunter, vowing vengeance on Kratos. How did the team want to go about changing Freya’s visual look to represent her emotional state at the start of God of War Ragnarök?

Dela Longfish: After the events of the last game, we knew we would be seeing a completely different side of Freya in God of War Ragnarök.

While we wanted to retain the iconic look of her design, we added a light armor under her clothing that is visible around her neck and shoulders. Not only did this show she’s ready for battle, but also using the armor in this way also allowed to make the costume darker to reflect the grief and rage she has because of the loss of her son.

Elements of her appearance were designed to look unkempt as we imagined she has spent sleepless days and nights in her endless pursuit of Kratos. Covered in a layer of dirt to show her rough living, we also smudged the kohl around her eyes intentionally made to resemble tears to show that behind all that anger there’s a layer of sadness she can’t escape from.

God of War Ragnarök – Freya Cosplay Guide Pg. 4

When we first meet Freya again, she is living on Midgard in the heights of Fimbulwinter. Did the harsh climate influence any aspects of her design?

We always imagined Gods have a stronger resilience to the cold than the humans in Midgard. With her single motivation to kill Kratos she has neglected any other mortal needs. The flame of anger she feels towards Kratos is all she needs to keep her warm while on the hunt.

Freya Concept Art by Shan Qiao and Rafael Grassetti

Which elements of Freya’s original look as the Witch of the Wilds did the team feel were important to maintain across this next installment?

We wanted this version of her costume to be an evolution from when we had last seen her. That meant that we retained a lot of the elements from her God of War (2018) look while building on top and around them. Players will recognize elements like the gold disc around her waist which was always a nod back to her royal position in Vanaheim.

Smaller elements of her costume like the weaving and shawl also remain consistent in her God of War Ragnarök design.

We also know that Freya was once the Valkyrie Queen. With her ability to fight somewhat restored at the beginning of the game as she pursues Kratos and Atreus, are there any particular visual references to her past as a warrior incorporated into her updated look?

In the beginning of God of War Ragnarök, we see firsthand her skill in fighting that made her the Queen of the Valkyries. Her ability is quickly evident, wounding Kratos and proving immediately she is equal to him in every way. The increased armor and covering in her design reflects a practical choice for more combat-ready clothing while she pursues Kratos. Not only does she have the leather undershirt now guarding her torso, but she also has additional leathers on her waist to provide additional protection while keeping extremely nimble.

Even using her ability to shapeshift into a falcon to deliver cunning attacks from the air all hint back to her role as the winged queen. You can see the falcon feathers in her hair have been kept in God of War Ragnarök.

While her sword was always present in God of War (2018), it was always sheathed on her back. This is the first time we see her draw it and use it to deadly effect. Throughout the game we see more elements from her past as a Vanir leader and Valkyrie return to her design as she reclaims her power and agency back from Odin.

God of War Ragnarök – Freya Cosplay Guide Pg. 15

Is there any aspect of Freya’s design that you especially want players to notice?

Some fans will notice elements from Baldur’s costume throughout her designs, such as the Twilight Pendant and the orange warps he wore around his legs that she now wears. These are mementos she carries with her to always remember her son.


God of War Ragnarök – Thor Cosplay Guide Pg. 3

When Thor’s design was shown after the first God of War Ragnarök trailer, the internet exploded (just a bit) with discussions. Were you expecting our take on Thor to be such a hot topic among gamers?

It’s always interesting seeing what catches fire across the internet. With a character like Thor that has so many great depictions in pop-culture, people grow a special connection to them. So, in that way it’s understandable a discussion is prompted when a new take on that type of character comes out.

Our hope is to be able to build that same connection between our characters and gamers. For our interpretation, we wanted a design that fit within the visual language of the world we had established in God of War (2018), while also complimenting the story and gameplay the team had in mind.

We wanted to design a character that embodied a thunderstorm, the concept of pure power coupled with a degree of chaotic unpredictability. As the strongest god in the Norse pantheon, we took inspiration from real world strongmen and powerlifters which gave him a solid build while also reflecting the general time period we reference for the game.

God of War Ragnarök – Thor Cosplay Guide Pg. 5

We’ve referenced Thor’s descriptions in the Eddas for a lot of inspiration in his design, was the teams’ visual interpretation of him from the myths pretty defined from the start or did it take a lot of iteration to settle on the final look?

We typically start any character design with a wide range of visual exploration. Thor was no different in this case. We had actually started concepts for him back on God of War (2018), but those early explorations were put on pause.

When the team began work on God of War Ragnarök, we started re-exploring what he would look like.  The myths were a big inspiration and depicted the God of Thunder as a great warrior, but also someone who was less than heroic at times, even dangerous and reckless in his actions.

We wanted his look to reflect those aspects and multiple artists did work with that in mind.  As the designs began to evolve and various elements began to resonate with the team our art director Rafael Grassetti did a pass and that is the final design of Thor seen in game.

Thor Concept Art by Rafael Grassetti

Mjölnir is not only an iconic weapon in modern pop culture, but also within the story of our game needs to be a worthy rival to the Leviathan Axe, which is now one of the most iconic God of War weapons. Could you take us through how the team created the Huldra Brothers’ (second) greatest creation?

There are so many good interpretations for Mjölnir already in pop culture. For us Thor’s hammer, which he always holds in his left hand, was inspired by the angled look of Norse artifacts and amulets of the time.

Artist Yefim Kligerman designed the hammer for the post credits scene in God of War (2018). Even back then to visually connect these two iconic weapons, Yefim included a runic skill tree etched into the face of the hammer in the same manner we find on the blade of the Leviathan Axe. This way we can see the signature craftmanship of Brok and Sindri in both weapons.

God of War Ragnarök – Thor Cosplay Guide Pg. 14

Is there any aspect of Thor’s design that you especially want players to notice?

Along with making sure we get the overall look we want for any character we also enjoy layering in small hints and design details.  Thor’s goats, Tanngrisnir and Tanngnjostr, make an appearance in the bottom gold carved cap of Thor’s hammer. Keen-eyed players and cosplayers will also notice there are other goat motifs reflected in his design.

God of War Ragnarök – Thor Cosplay Guide Pg. 7


God of War Ragnarök – Angrboda Cosplay Guide Pg. 3

While we were able to visit Jötunheim at the end of the last game and saw parts of their culture represented through Faye’s art and the triptychs, Angrboda is the first Giant we meet that is actually from Jötunheim and currently calls it home. What were some of the key elements you wanted to include in her design to show visually how the Giants are unique from the Midgardians and Aesir?   

The Giants were master artisans and craft folks.  Even though Angrboda has been surviving on her own for so long, we wanted an elegance and beauty reflected in her design that we don’t find in the inhabitants of other Realms.

As one of the last living Giants, she represents that part of Atreus’s heritage which is something no one else can share with him. Not only does she carry with her the knowledge of her people, but she also physically carried individually carved marbles that contained the souls of the Giants.

Angrboda Concept Art by Rafael Grassetti

You mentioned Thor’s goats are referenced as motifs in his design, are there any nods to the Norse myths within Angrboda’s clothing?

Angrboda has a few serpent motifs recurring throughout her design, which was a nod to her being known as the mother of Jörmungandr in the myths. That theme can be seen most evidently in her gold hair accessory which is shaped like a snake, as well as in her brooches, necklace, and various patterns in her clothing.  

God of War Ragnarök – Angrboda Cosplay Guide Pg. 8

Angrboda has some of the most unique tattoos in the game in terms of color and design. Why did the team decide to go in this direction with her ink?

With each of the different mythical cultures in the game, the team will look for specific aspects unique to each that set them apart visually. Angroboda’s tattoos were an example of this in that they have a much more organic and natural feel to them than many of the other tattoos you see on other characters. We wanted all aspects of her design, including her tattoos, to reflect a unique aesthetic that is carried through their art and craftsmanship.

The yellow was a color that represented Faye and the Giants throughout God of War (2018). As one of the last of her people left, we wanted that shade to be present in her design. 

God of War Ragnarök – Angrboda Cosplay Guide Pg. 5

When it comes to visual storytelling, what aspects of Angroboda’s character are the most important to convey through her design?

Unlike some of the more fantastic characters and creatures of the game, we took a more subtle approach to the details in Angrboda’s design.  

For example, Atreus’ new look features a huge splash of yellow to honor his Giant heritage and connection to his mother. Angrboda, while being a Giant and living in Jötunheim, has clothing that features mostly shades of browns, teals, and grays. While her primary clothing pieces don’t have the same statement yellow piece that Atreus’ does, we still wanted to include smaller touches of the color to show her ties to the Giants and to Atreus.

Not only are her tattoos yellow as mentioned before, but you can also see other pops of yellow woven through her hair, in some of the stitching of her clothing, and in the bronze jewelry she wears. These were all layered throughout her design to give a consistent, but subtle, reference to the Giants.  

God of War Ragnarök – Angrboda Cosplay Guide Pg. 6

If you decide to cosplay a character from God of War, make sure you tag Santa Monica Studio on social or use the hashtag #GodofWarRagnarok! We always love to see your work.

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