×

‘Ghosts of Tsushima’ Mixes History, Fiction and Open World Action

The opening segment of Sucker Punch’s new adventure “Ghost of Tsushima” shows Jin Sakai, the games protagonist, slowly walking up a hill as a Mongol invasion drives the small Japanese island into disarray. But before we had any time to dissect the magnitude of the situation Jin reaches the top of the hill and is greeted with a view of the horizon that’s both beautiful and unsettling. The gorgeous landscape is marred by fires, destruction, and the sounds of war.

“We built this entire segment around this view,” Sucker Punch’s Nate Fox tells Variety. “It’s meant to illustrate how huge this world we’re creating is, we want players to got lost in our version of feudal Japan. People will be able to explore the island of Tsushima through their own volition.”

“Ghost of Tsushima,” revealed at last years Paris Games Week, is another open world, single-player adventure from the creators of “inFamous” and “Sly Cooper” although it’s unlike any of their previous projects. “We don’t have any branching narratives here, it’s a story we’re trying to tell directly,” Fox said.

Fox made it clear that the story their telling in “Ghosts of Tsushima,” while rooted in real history, is a complete work of fiction. We won’t be exploring a “brick for brick” recreation of the country and historical time period but it will explore themes that are based around the Mongol invasion of Japan in 1274.

“We picked this historical period because of it provides a great conflict that’s easy for people to immediately conceptualize,” Fox said. “The fantasy is that you’re a samurai, the conflict is this foreign invasion, and the stakes were very real. The Mongols were the most advanced military in the world at that point, the Japanese had never seen gunpowder, bombs, or rockets.”

In order to combat the invading army Jin, also known as “The Ghost,” will have to resort to unconventional warfare including Ninja techniques that were hinted at in the first trailer last year. While Fox wasn’t ready to jump into details about the combat, he did liken the intense standoffs found in the E3 footage to Akira Kurosawa films like “Seven Samurai” and “Sanjuro.”

Even though “Ghosts of Tsushima” is a very different experience the electric adventure in “InFamous,” some DNA from that open world made it into the Jin’s traversal mechanics. “The ability to climb fences and use grappling hooks as shown off in the demo is a powerful promise about the navigational freedom we’re trying to achieve,” Fox said. “We create games with a lot of navigational empowerment at Sucker Punch and we’re still figuring out how to carry that forward here.”

While elements from previous Sucker Punch games will undoubtedly make their way into this new adventure, the development team is going for a more direct take on narrative storytelling this time around. There will be no branching paths in the game, every side and main quest-line will end in the same way. “That mission shown with Jin facing off against the woman will always end with him trying to get her to focus back on the Mongols,” Fox said. “This is a story about real people trying to survive in the brutality of this invasion, so we’re trying to tell that through a fixed-narrative, We even look at the side quests as an anthology.”

Fox took extra time to remind us that this would be a fictional departure from the historical events from the actual invasion that happened almost 800 years ago. But they still tapped cultural experts, took trips to Japan for research, and worked with Sony closely on getting the depiction of Japan right.

“History is incredibly important as context for the game, but we’re not trying to reproduce it,” Fox said. “In fact, the original invasion was foiled by a kamikaze, the Mongol boats were sunk by a hurricane. Our hero isn’t a hurricane, he’s a man, and we actually acknowledge that change with his sword that’s engraved with storm wind designs.”

More Gaming

  • Frank Pearce - Blizzard Entertainment

    Blizzard Co-Founder Frank Pearce Exits After 28 Years

    Frank Pearce, one of the three co-founders of game developer Blizzard Entertainment, is leaving the company. The announcement of Pearce’s exit comes less than a year after president Michael Morhaime, another Blizzard co-founder, left the company. J. Allen Brack, executive producer of “World of Warcraft,” took over the position as president of Blizzard. “The time [...]

  • Fortnite Battle Royale

    How 'Fortnite' Fans Can Earn Loot by Watching YouTube Videos

    Epic Games and YouTube have teamed up with a special offer for “Fortnite” players — giving players of the popular battle-royale game rewards when they watch “Fortnite”-premiered content on the video platform. The catch: You have to watch at least 20 minutes of “Fortnite” special content or live esports broadcasts to receive the loot. Under [...]

  • Google Stadia Pro to Include 1

    Google’s Stadia Game Streaming Service to Include Free Monthly Game

    Google has been busy sharing additional details about its upcoming game streaming service Stadia, clearing up some confusion in the process. Stadia’s pro subscription tier, which will cost $10 per month, won’t be a Netflix-type subscription service. However, subscribers will get free games at the rate of about a title per month. That’s according to [...]

  • The Lion King

    'Lion King' VFX Supervisor Rob Legato to Keynote at the 2019 View Conference

    Rob Legato, visual effects supervisor of “The Lion King,” “The Addams Family” co-director Conrad Vernon and Baobab Studios’ co-founder and chief creative officer Eric Darnell, director of the VR studio’s Emmy- and Annie-winning VR short “Crow: The Legend,” are rounding out the keynote speakers at this fall’s 20th edition of the View Conference in Turin, [...]

  • Nintendo Switch

    Nintendo Releases Updated Switch With Better Battery

    Nintendo just refreshed its wildly successful Switch game console, but the company isn’t giving existing Switch owners many reasons to upgrade: The renewed game console comes with a better battery that guarantees up to 9 hours of game play, while otherwise sticking with the same design and features of the original Switch. The new model [...]

  • Spotify logo is presented on a

    U.S. Consumers to Spend $26 Billion on Music, Video Subscriptions This Year

    U.S. consumers are expected to spend a combined $26 billion on music and video subscription services this year, according to new estimates from the Consumer Technology Association. That’s up from $20.4 billion in 2018, and nearly twice the amount spent on such services in 2017. Propelled by the continued success of Apple Music and Spotify, [...]

  • Gears 5 - Xbox Game Studios

    'Gears 5' Will Exclude Smoking Depictions After Concerns Raised by Youth Anti-Tobacco Org (EXCLUSIVE)

    “Gears 5,” the forthcoming installment in the “Gears of Wars” third-person shooter game franchise, will be a smoke-free establishment. The game, set for Sept. 10 release, comes from Xbox Game Studios and game developer The Coalition. The decision to remove all smoking references from “Gears 5” came after not-for-profit anti-smoking organization Truth Initiative approached Turner, [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content