The other big samurai game to be announced at E3, Ghost of Tsushima takes a more cinematic approach to the genre. It’s a grittier game than Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice. Although not necessarily as punishing to less skilled gamers.
Creative director Nate Fox describes the visuals as being inspired by the old Kurosawa movies. Particularly focusing on the movements of nature, and how they contrast with the stillness of samurai staring each other down. This focus on Iaido was especially notable during the demo. Seeing that there was more than one scene with two foes in a standoff during the barely five minute showcase.
Samurai drama is perhaps the best way to describe the feel of Ghost of Tsushima. Although, open world action adventure game may be more accurate.
The entire setting takes place on the island of Tsushima, where the Mongols have successfully conquered the land and have subjugated the Japanese people. Sucker Punch Productions has put a lot of work into designing the absolutely gorgeous environments. The vivid colours and soft ambient sounds create a very believable world.
It’s not entirely realistic, but rather presents a very stylised image. All the better to sell Ghost of Tsushima’s tone.
Whether the combat is able to complement these stylistic choices is difficult to say. Seeing that there has not yet been a playable demo. However, what has been seen is certainly very convincing. Showing fluid movements and techniques that flow in precisely the way that one would expect out of a samurai movie.
As Fox says, “there are three words that describe Ghost of Tsushima: mud, blood, and steel”
In fact, this sort of cinematic combat is rapidly becoming the hallmark of PlayStation first party games. It’s also been seen in games like The Last of Us and God of War. Used to sell just how gritty and desperate getting into a fight can really be (although perhaps to a lesser extent in Kratos’ case).
There are still many questions about how Ghost of Tsushima will play out. Since the game is only scheduled for 2019 release, and a lot can change in the mean time. For now, it’s perhaps safe to say that this will at least be a very pretty game to look at. Which is something that Sony Interactive Entertainment has become very good at producing.