×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

‘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.

Popular on Variety

“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

  • Riot Games

    Riot Games to Pay $10 Million to Settle Gender-Discrimination Lawsuit

    Riot Games, developer of “League of Legends,” will fork over at least $10 million to settle a class-action lawsuit filed on behalf of women employees alleging the company’s “bro culture” resulted in systemic gender discrimination. Terms of the settlement in the case, reached in August, were revealed in court documents filed last week in California [...]

  • Dreamscape_Dragon vr

    Dreamscape Gets ‘DreamWorks Dragons Flight Academy’ VR Experience (EXCLUSIVE)

    Location-based virtual reality (VR) startup Dreamscape has teamed up with DreamWorks Animation to launch a new “How to Train Your Dragons” experience at its flagship Westfield Century City VR center in Los Angeles later this month. The 11-minute “DreamWorks Dragons Flight Academy” experience allows up to 8 participants to hone their dragon-flying skills together, and [...]

  • YouTube logo

    YouTube Eases Restrictions on 'Simulated' Violence in Gaming Content

    YouTube announced a change to its content guidelines that will be more permissive in allowing depictions of violence in video-game content — as long as it’s not the sole focus of a video. Starting on Dec. 2, YouTube said, scripted or simulated violent content found in video games will be treated the same as scripted [...]

  • Disney’s Frozen 2 and Laika’s Missing

    'Frozen 2,' 'Missing Link' Lead 47th Annie Award Nominations

    Disney’s “Frozen 2” and Laika’s “Missing Link” led the 47th Annie Award nominations Dec. 2 with eight each and will battle it out for best animated feature along with DreamWorks Animation’s “How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World,” Netflix’s “Klaus” and Pixar’s “Toy Story 4” when the ceremony is held on Jan. 25 at [...]

  • Black Friday Deals: Oculus Rift, PlayStation

    The Best Black Friday Deals for VR Headsets, Apps & Games

    Getting your own virtual reality (VR) setup at home used to be costly, requiring not only an expensive headset but also a full-blown gaming PC. Not anymore: The latest generation of all-in-one devices has made VR a lot more affordable, and deep discounts for the holiday season serve as another incentive to finally make the [...]

  • Beat Saber Acquired by Facebook, Company

    Facebook Buys the Maker of the Popular VR Game 'Beat Saber'

    Facebook has acquired Beat Games, the maker of the popular virtual reality (VR) music game “Beat Saber”, the social media giant announced Tuesday. Beat Games will operate as an independent studio under Oculus Studios, and continue to support “Beat Saber” on all existing platforms, according to a blog post penned by Facebook AR/VR director of [...]

  • Kris Bowers, Alan Silvestri, and Catherine

    Alan Silvestri, Cynthia Erivo, Bebe Rexha Among Hollywood Music in Media Award Winners

    The 10th annual Hollywood Music in Media Awards rewarded a diverse crop of composers, songwriters and music supervisors who contributed to film, TV and videogames over the last year, from scorers Alan Silvestri, Hildur Guðnadóttir, Marco Beltrami and Michael Abels to tunesmiths Cynthia Erivo, Bebe Rexha and the Avett Brothers to Quentin Tarantino’s longtime music sidekick, [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content