The recent 18-minute Sucker Punch presentation on Ghost of Tsushima revealed a lot, especially aspects of combat and the game environment. The footage also raised questions about Jin’s defense of Tsushima Island against the Mongol invaders.
We talked to director Nate Fox, delving into more facets of the game, about Jin’s progression as a warrior to some of his secrets.
The ghost warrior
The ghost warrior
Honor is a big part of the samurai trope, but the principle alone will not defend the island. During the presentation, Fox called Jin’s stealth combat moves “dishonorable”, consisting of “dirty tricks”. However, deception and stealth killings are not prohibited, but additional tools that the player can use as they see fit, depending on how they want to approach a situation.
“Our hero is a samurai raised in the samurai code, trained to fight enemies by looking directly at them,” says Fox. “And then the Mongols invade, and all of his samurai comrades, most of them, are all wiped out. Now he is radically outnumbered by the enemy, and the people he loves are all threatened So we have to give up some of the things he was trained for throughout his life, in order to find new ways to fight back. “
As the game progresses and Jin’s legendary status increases through the achievement of mission objectives, he is superimposed on more stealth attacks (from dagger throws to smoke bombs and beyond) to his already refined sword skills, which also continue to grow. How you build Jin’s skill tree and use his combat skills is entirely up to you, and the tree also unlocks non-combat aspects such as the ability to use a grapple to facilitate crossing. In addition, certain combat skills can be learned and adapted from the enemies themselves, and charms and different pieces of armor also contribute to its prowess by providing stat bumps.
One of the combat techniques that Jin can use is the standoff command. It is a pure style of samurai, skill and bravery. You walk up to your enemies, intimidating them before you even draw your sword. The interviews relate to precise and minimal movements, and the gameplay and controls around the interviews are different from the normal sword game. As effective, fun and dramatic as it can be – allowing you to take down multiple enemies in a single burst – Sucker Punch doesn’t want them to be overpowered. Once the melee begins, no deadlock can be initiated.
In general, the enemy A.I. attempts to coordinate his attacks, using not only their numerical advantage, but also their technological advantage, including gunpowder. “If you think you can wind up and fight the sword in an entire camp, “says Fox,” you will die. “
A living island
A living island
Jin’s quest to rid the island of invaders naturally takes him far (Fox notes that if you can see a place, you can go there), and exploration is just as important in the game as bringing the Mongols ‘sword.
Outside of certain areas closed for historical reasons, Tsushima is open to investigation. This can reveal side quests and resources, and like other accomplished open world titles, Jin can engage in random encounters to further flesh out the experience. The game works on a dynamic system of day, night and weather, and the animals and the meetings follow their own routines so that they are not locked in a time and a place, giving a natural flow to the events.
“Along the way,” says Fox, “especially when you go there and explore Tsushima, you’re going to meet all these different people who are struggling to survive in this war environment. And all of these stories lead to the invasion of life…”
Discovery is a key part of Ghost of Tsushima, and as a result, there were things Fox wouldn’t tell us, preferring to leave them as surprises. In the distance, during the presentation, we noticed a port with boats moored and floating in a bay and a mission instructed Jin to destroy a Mongolian ship. Fox won’t reveal, however, if we do manage to take control of a ship during our adventure, then I hope this is an indirect way of saying yes.
When it comes to combat, there are more secrets left, such as a particularly enticing incitement to stealth combat called “massacre”. This option (along with the ability to perform chain killings) first appeared when Jin sneaks up on unconscious enemies in a camp. The eliminations are added to a meter at the bottom left of the screen, apparently resulting in an action performed by hitting L1 and R1 simultaneously. Whatever that triggers, Fox would only say, “There are some moves the hero can do that are really sharp you find when exploring the world of Tsushima.”
Finally, in one of the many bucolic moments of the presentation, Jin peacefully plays a flute. Does this lead to anything else or is it just for the pleasure of the players? Fox told us that he had a “specific role” in the game.
The way of the samurai
The way of the samurai
The story of Ghost of Tsushima is based on real events, but not linked by them – the defense of the island in 1274 was a failure. However, the game is centered on the island and Jin’s actions as a samurai, rather than on supernatural issues. You will not fight monsters or dragons, for example.
Instead, the game delves into our perception of samurai through movies and pop culture, using Akira Kurosawa’s films such as Seven samurai and Yojimbo and comics, as a source of inspiration.
“Everything was chosen because it was another accessory in the basic identity of being a samurai, to the leaves moving with the wind so strong,” says Fox. “We did it very early because in these classic samurai movies you often see the wind beating the leaves and the trees, but there is a stoic samurai who does not move with his sword up. And c ‘is the juxtaposition of an individual still with a dynamic environment that really makes them feel powerful. “
The visual principles of samurai battles and their fighting skills meet throughout the game, and none more striking than in the so-called boss battles when two legendary swordsmen meet. The action is dramatically prefaced by cinematic framing and a mailbox, and combat requires knowledge of your opponent’s tactics so that you can effectively chain the right attacks.
The game could also inform our vision of the samurai through the characters that Jin meets throughout his journey. Although Fox did not develop this point, the Jin we have seen so far easily evokes the vision of legendary actor Toshiro Mifune as a masterless samurai in a classic Akira Kurosawa film. Kurosawa’s Seven samurai, among others, evokes the theme of class differences between samurai and peasants, and Yojimbo presents Mifune as a cunning and enigmatic samurai as he expertly confronts two rival gangs to help a city.
It will be interesting to see how Jin interacts with those around him and if side missions, for example, tell us more about Jin as a person outside of his combat prowess.
Maybe Jin as a character and warrior could be contrasted by players controlling another person, but when asked about this possibility, Fox only said, “I can’t tell you, because I could ruin the experience for you. “
To learn more about Ghost of Tsushima (released on PS4 on July 17), check out our recent video podcast about the game, as well as more information we’ve learned so far.