After the announcement that Ghost of Tsushima had finally gone gold on June 22nd, the anticipation for the last AAA PlayStation-exclusive has only skyrocketed through the roof as it shoots forward to attempt to be one of the greatest PS4 exclusives ever. Developed and honed by none other than Sucker Punch Productions, the developers behind The Sly Collection and the Infamous series (most notably Infamous: Second Son), Ghost of Tsushima seems another attempt for the developer to branch out into a new genre of game.
Set in the year 1274, Ghost of Tsushima takes historical inspiration from the Mongol Empire’s invasion of the island of Tsushima. As one of the last Samurais on the island, you take control of Jin Sakai, who rises up against the Mongols in an attempt to liberate the island from their presence. Born of a people deeply proud of their Samurai roots and the honour it breeds, the story of Jin sees the player have to adapt to new situations and adopt less “honourable” tactics in order to overcome the enemy. Throughout the story, Jin Sakai must become the Ghost as he wages war to free Tsushima and make an impact on the larger effort of protecting Japan from the Mongol enemies.
What’s most striking about the game is how it marks an intended new direction for Sucker Punch Productions. Long gone are the family-friendly Sly Cooper games and so to is its more adult-orientated franchise of Infamous. Instead, six years after Infamous: Second Son, the developers have decided to take historical inspiration from Japan, and develop it into an action-adventure game with a deep story at its core. Combining and expanding the stealth mechanics that sat at the heart of the Sly Cooper franchise with the action-packed (and undeniably fun) combat of Infamous, Ghost of Tsushima seems set to be an amalgamation of what the developers have done well in the past inturned into a singular gaming experience. By uniting what they’ve learnt over more than 20-years of developing games, Sucker Punch seems ready to offer an increased amount of freedom in how you approach situations, whether tackling combat with the more head-on approach of a Samurai or exploiting stealth to silently eliminate your enemies as the famed ghost.
Yet, the game is growing notoriety for many other reasons as well, with an unorthodox approach to world-building and game design that not many studios have attempted beforehand. Gone are the unsightly HUDs and crowded screens, stripped back to nothing while exploring and only minimal details during combat experiences. Instead of map markers appearing everywhere as far as the eye can see, the introduction of a ‘guiding wind’ will be used to help players traverse the world via unobtrusive means in an attempt to seem less immersion-breaking. Even Jin’s personal map will be void of unnecessary details and hidden collectables, with encouragements for players to go out and explore the wider world to find the secrets spread throughout the map. Even the addition of a “Samurai cinema” mode will have the game converted into the grainy black-and-white stylings of classic Japanese films and these only represent a handful of additions to the game that Sucker Punch has added to make the game a more authentic experience for gamers.
As a fan of games like Sekiro and Nioh, and other titles that use Asian culture, lore and history as a premise for its game, Ghost of Tsushima seems set to be my next great big gaming addiction. Helmed by the more than competent Sucker Punch and their unmistakable vision for the game, I’m confident it’s going to a spectacle that will leave myself and others speechless. With a release date of less than a month away, July 17th couldn’t come any sooner.
The Ghost of Tsushima is released on July 17th 2020. You can watch the trailer below: