Kratos’ magnificent beard has received a lot of attention. That’s fair enough - it is stately facial hair worthy of recognition. Yet when I sat down to play God of War, the first thing that struck me about Kratos’ physical evolution wasn’t his face rug. It wasn’t the care so clearly worn on his face. It wasn’t his heavy Leviathan Axe.
It was his nipples.
Those nips. Those tiny flesh nubs, those teats, those nubile cherrilets. What craftsman decided upon the size of those areola? Who modelled those teats? How was the shade of skin elected?
In my previous nipple roundup, Kratos had some of the most disappointing nips of the lot. A mere circle of pigmented colour, no raised nub. They were recognisable for what they were, but only due to their placement on his body rather than through any identifying detail.
Now, Kratos has returned a changed man in more ways than one, and I daresay his new nipples are the most magnificent I’ve encountered in any game. They even protrude.
I imagine the architect of said areola returning home the day they completed their masterpiece.
“How was work?” their partner would call from the kitchen, stirring a pot of bolognese sauce.
“Oh, you know, the usual,” the artist would reply, toeing off their shoes by the door. “I, uh. I made some nipples.”
“Hon, I love you, but I don’t understand you at all.”
Then they’d sit down and eat the bolognese. No prophet is accepted in his hometown.
I don’t dwell on these pectoral noses simply to be fastidious. I dwell because these are unlike so many video game nipples I have seen before.
Behold, Kratos has Montgomery glands.
“What’s a Montgomery gland?” I hear you ask, morbidly curious and slightly afraid.
Montgomery glands, named for Dr William Fetherstone Montgomery (God rest his soul), are those tiny little bumps on the areola. They are the foothills to Mount Nip, the disciples to the teachings of the teat. They oil the breast peak and keep it soft and clean.
These glandular gifts are an essential component of the nipple, but incredibly rare in video game nipples. They’re too small a detail, fiddly and unnecessary to signify nipular presence.
Yet here they are in God of War, perfect in all their oily glory.
When it comes to God of War’s graphics, there has been a lot of talk about the powdered snow. I, too, was amazed when I first saw it give way before Kratos’ heavy boots, flung into the air with the slightest of prompts.
“Check out this snow!” I’d exclaimed to my sister, doing my best to make Kratos’ feet draw a dick in it.
But still, my attention was drawn to that exposed nip. Was it contracting in the cold? No, that would be too much. Yet the shading which gave it that raised appearance and the care in its formation convinced me, for one moment, it was possible.
An optical perfection creating a psychological illusion that Kratos’ nipples were reactive flesh.
This is the result of progress. Mankind’s constant drive to do better, be greater. The steady evolution of video game graphics could only ever result in this inevitable moment. The history of nips that came before foretold its arrival.
Let us take a moment to acknowledge the artistry in these tiny details. The attention paid to elements many barely take note of, and the work poured into perfecting small, seemingly insignificant parts.
God of War’s fine crafters of areola didn’t have to create Kratos’ nipples with such anatomical correctness but they did anyway, and for that I salute them.
Godspeed, you brave souls. Godspeed.
This story originally appeared on Kotaku Australia.