They say that humans are creatures of habit, which, for the most part, is true. When it comes to video game developers, most studios behind some of the biggest franchises tend to follow a routine. Case in point, Valve doesn't like touching anything with the number 3 in it. Kidding aside, for marketing reasons or because they want to take advantage of the holiday season, or just out of habit, developers usually drop new installments during the same month if not quarter every time.
A good example of this is the God of War games. All the mainline titles before 2018's soft reboot were released in March. Kratos' romp through Norse mythology didn't come too long after either as the game hit the market on April 20 before going to become one of the best-selling games on the PS4 and one of the best games of all time.
Having said that, it appears that God of War: Ragnarok is about to break this tradition.
Santa Monica Studio never really bothered to explain the March (or April) thing, so we can assume that this is more of a way for Sony to stagger its most popular games so they don't end up eating each other's sales. Because of this, we don't think that Sony is going to release God of War: Ragnarok in March, April, or any time within the first half of 2022.
Guerilla Games' latest first-party Sony IP might not necessarily be as big as God of War historically with Zero Dawn selling nearly half as much (10 million) compared to God of War (19.95 million), but Sony is smart enough not to shoot itself in the foot. Historically, Sony has done an excellent job spacing out its biggest exclusives within a reasonable amount of time from each other. For example, in 2020, The Last of Us Part II was released in June while Marvel's Spider-Man: Miles Morales only came in November. That's at least five months in between these two genre-defining exclusives, which we can assume that both Horizon and God of War are.
The same players who bought and played Forbidden West are most likely the same ones that will enjoy Ragnarok. Sony will probably want to release the latter at least four months from the former if not wait a little longer. This would give Ragnarok enough time to distance itself from the relatively stacked slate of games that's already come out this year, which also includes Elden Ring.
The good news here is that if Sony plays it smart, Ragnarok will be here in Q3 2022, which lines up with the previous rumor that the game will be out by September.
As for a possible delay, all signs point to Sony doing everything that it can to make sure that this doesn't happen. Ragnarok was slated for a 2021 release but was delayed to 2022 due to a combination of the COVID-19 pandemic and Kratos' voice actor, Christopher Judge, recovering from health problems since 2019. Sony is at risk of losing a lot of hype if it delays Ragnarok even further, but with the likes of Jason Schreier all but "confirming" that it's going to hit the market this year, the game's release date isn't so much of a problem.
Ultimately, it's safe to assume that God of War Ragnarok will be here this year, just don't expect it to be available anytime soon.
Also, while Forbidden West might have "pushed" Ragnarok back later than its usual release date, Guerilla Games' open-world action-adventure title should help ease concerns. After Sony revealed that Forbidden West, Ragnarok, and Gran Turismo 7 will all be cross-generational games, the grapevine talk was that this decision would prevent the games from truly showcasing the PS5's power. But, from what we've seen so far with Forbidden West, this isn't the case - Ragnarok shouldn't have any more problems showcasing gorgeous locations full of mythological beings than Forbidden West with its equally expansive world.
A more logical concern here is if Ragnarok will live up to the huge expectations from the last one. The 2018 title was such a transformative game that it raised the bar for video games going forward. Critics and audiences alike will be expecting to be wowed heading into Ragnarok. To make matters worse, Ragnarok will at least be twice as big as the 2018 game with only five years of development, which might affect its quality.
Only time will tell if Ragnarok can match the hype after getting the Most Anticipated Game award at the 2020 Golden Joystick Awards, but Sony sure could tide fans over by officially announcing the long-rumored State of Play showcase scheduled for next month.