Ghost of Tsushima dazzled at Sony’s E3 presentation, and Jason Connell, the art and creative director, hit the floor to talk about the game. The HUD will be reduced to its core elements and allow a more cinematic experience. Ghost of Tsushima is inspired by events that occurred in 1274, but will use original characters to tell its tales. The game’s open-world is huge and the biggest one Sucker Punch has created yet. The setting was meant to be secretive, and the team itself was worried it would leak due to of all things – a business card being given out. Tension is planned to be visible in all strikes – and the goal of the combat is to put you in the world. This means that you will get mud splashed on you if you’re in mud, or covered in flowers if you’re in a flower-filled area. It’s meant to absorb you in the game, and aims to add a sense of realism to things.
Jinsuki is a samurai who wants to become the Ghost of Tsushima, and in order to do that, he must be as unseen as possible. he can use a grappling hook to get the drop on enemies – adding a lot of speed to stealth, a genre that is normally thought of as being slow-paced. Beyond samurai films, games like the Legend of Zelda and Sucker Punch’s own Infamous inspired what we’re seeing now with Ghost of Tsushima. It’s an ambitious game and they were deliberate in their desire to wait to show off until it was ready. Camera angles will be used in ways to make the stances seem more impactful. Nobu the horse was shown off a bit as well, and more will be revealed with him later. The team enjoyed going with a darker tone than what they’re used to with the Infamous franchise, and making the scope larger required them to learn new skills – like motion capturing a horse!
Making the violence more visceral isn’t meant to be needless – the goal is to make you care about the violence and using a more realistic style so it has more gravity. The large world is such that anything you can see, you can go to – and it will be put into a smaller chunks to help it be less overwhelming. The prefecture structure allows each area to have a different tone and each area will have its own art and narrative themes throughout. The team started work on it after developing First Light and they had to learn new things like think about how the terrain would be used. The samurai theme has been used in gaming before – but hasn’t been used in a AAA title. The Tenchu games would be the closest-equivalent in terms of scope, and those were fairly big releases at times but also tapered off towards the end of the series. Sucker Punch’s pedigree in crafting high-level narratives and action-adventure gameplay means that players will be coming into the adventure with high expectations.
The team has yet to disappoint players yet, and the new theme seems to have given them new challenges and forced them to raise their game in several ways. Having a more immersive environment with things like mud slinging around should make the world feel more real – while the increased focus on the narrative should allow players to care about the characters more. It’s clear that a lot of depth will be featured in the core combat, and things like duels show that off nicely. They also make the concept of boss battles seem both different and familiar, as the one-on-one structure adds a sense of importance to each one. While Ghost of Tsushima doesn’t have a set release window yet, it does look like one of the finest showcases on the PlayStation 4 yet whenever it is released.