Ghost of Tsushima - Wikipedia

Ghost of Tsushima

Ghost of Tsushima
Developer(s)Sucker Punch Productions
Publisher(s)Sony Interactive Entertainment
Director(s)
Producer(s)
Artist(s)Jason Connell
Writer(s)
Composer(s)
Platform(s)
Release
Genre(s)Action-adventure
Mode(s)Single-player, multiplayer

is a 2020 action-adventure game developed by Sucker Punch Productions and published by Sony Interactive Entertainment. Featuring an open world, the player controls Jin Sakai, a samurai on a quest to protect Tsushima Island during the first Mongol invasion of Japan. The game was released for PlayStation 4 on July 17, 2020, and a Director's Cut for PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5, titled Ghost of Tsushima

Ghost of Tsushima: Director's Cut, was released on August 20, 2021. It received several award nominations and wins, and received praise for its visuals, art direction, and combat, but was criticized for its open world design.Ghost of Tsushimahad sold 8 million copies by January 2022. A film adaptation is currently in development.

Gameplay[edit]

Ghost of Tsushima is an action-adventure game played from a third-person perspective. The game features a large open world, with no visible waypoints on the HUD, which can be explored with or without guidance by wind direction.[1] Players can travel to different parts of the island on horseback. An item that acts as a grappling hook is available to access difficult to reach areas.[2] The game features side quests and non-playable characters with which the player can interact.[3]

Players can engage in a direct confrontation with enemies, called a stand off, using their katana, which can chain up a series of fatal strikes against a set number of enemies.[4] Additionally, the player has access to bows, which can fire different types of arrows. Alternatively, using stealth allows the player to evade enemies and strike them silently, to use tools such as firecrackers to create distractions, as well as use smoke bombs to disorient alerted foes and kunai for striking multiple enemies.[5]

Players can unlock various sets of armor, clothing and charms. Each set has different properties that provide benefits in combat. Some armor reduces damage taken, while another increases total health or melee damage. Most sets of armor and clothing can be upgraded, by collecting materials in the area or by completing quests. Only body armor and clothing have these perks, while headwear and face wear are for visual appeal. Charms are items, acquired through exploration and giving different effects to general gameplay, such as decreasing damage taken, reducing enemy detection speed, or increasing how much health is recovered from healing.[6]

The game's highest difficulty is a more realistic mode in which the player and enemies do massive damage to each other, with all non-boss fights ending in one or two successful cuts.[7]

A multiplayer mode titled Legends was released in late 2020. Players can complete story missions based on Japanese folklore with another player.[8] A horde mode, in which players fight waves of enemies, is also available for a group of four players. A raid was added post-Legends launch.[9][10]

Synopsis[edit]

Characters[edit]

The protagonist Jin Sakai (Daisuke Tsuji/Kazuya Nakai) is the head and sole remaining member of Clan Sakai and a samurai warrior. He is the nephew and ward of Lord Shimura (Eric Steinberg/Akio Ōtsuka), the jitō of Tsushima. He has several friends and companions he meets, including a thief named Yuna (Sumalee Montano/Yu Mizuno) and her blacksmith brother Taka (Eddie Shin/Kappei Yamaguchi), a female warrior named Lady Masako Adachi (Lauren Tom/Mabuki Ando), renowned Kyūdō archer Sensei Sadanobu Ishikawa (François Chau/Shigeru Chiba), merchant and con-artist Kenji (James Hiroyuki Liao/Setsuji Sato), Buddhist warrior monk Norio (Earl T. Kim/Mitsuaki Kanuka), Clan Sakai's elderly caretaker Yuriko (Karen Huie/Yuri Tabata), and Jin's childhood friend and leader of the infamous Straw Hat rōnin, Ryuzo (Leonard Wu/Youhei Tadano). The main antagonist is the ruthless and cunning general Khotun Khan of the Mongol Empire (Patrick Gallagher/Tsutomu Isobe), cousin of Kublai Khan, grandson of Genghis Khan.

Plot[edit]

In 1274, a Mongol fleet led by Khotun Khan invades the Japanese island of Tsushima. Local samurai Lord Jin Sakai and his uncle Lord Shimura lead the island’s samurai in an attempt to repel the invaders. However, the battle ends in disaster, with the samurai killed, Shimura captured, and Jin severely wounded and left for dead. He is found and revived by Yuna, a thief, who informs him the island has fallen. Jin storms Khotun's stronghold at Castle Kaneda in an attempt to rescue Shimura, but is defeated by Khotun in combat and thrown off the castle bridge, though he survives.

Realizing he cannot defeat the Mongols alone or with traditional samurai tactics, Jin travels throughout the island to recruit allies and learns guerilla warfare. He recruits Yuna, her blacksmith brother Taka, merchant Kenji, master archer Sadanobu Ishikawa, female samurai Masako Adachi, and his old friend mercenary Ryuzo and his Straw Hat rōnin. As Jin disrupts Mongol activities and liberates villages across the island, the people begin to revere to him as "The Ghost", a samurai spirit risen against the Mongols. Taka crafts a grappling hook for Jin to scale Castle Kaneda’s walls, and Jin strikes with his allies. Destitute and starving, Ryuzo and the Straw Hats betray Jin to collect the bounty issued on him by Khotun. Jin manages to fend them off, free Shimura and retake Castle Kaneda. Despite their victory, Khotun has already left to conquer Castle Shimura alongside Ryuzo.

To retake Castle Shimura, Jin recruits Norio and his warrior monks and the Yarikawa Clan. On Shimura’s behalf, he also recruits local pirate Goro to carry a petition for reinforcements to the Shogun, as well as a request for approval to adopt Jin as his heir. With a new army being assembled, Jin recovers his family's ancestral armor from caretaker Yuriko, who teaches him how to craft poison. Under orders from Shimura, Jin and Taka try to infiltrate a fortress where Ryuzo is located but are ambushed and captured by Khotun. When Jin refuses to surrender, Khotun kills Taka. Jin escapes with Yuna’s help, killing the remaining Straw Hats and burying Taka's body near Yarikawa. The Shogun's reinforcements arrive, and Shimura leads the assembled army in an assault on Castle Shimura, driving the Mongols into the inner keep. However, as the Mongols retreat, they detonate the bridge leading to the inner courtyard, inflicting huge casualties on the advancing samurai.

Knowing that another frontal attack would only result in more losses, Jin decides to infiltrate the keep and poison the Mongols. He succeeds, sneaking poison into the Mongols' airag. He also encounters and kills Ryuzo when he refuses to surrender. However, he again misses Khotun, who has left to campaign further north. Despite the castle being taken with the samurai suffering no further losses, Shimura is furious with Jin, as his action severely violates the samurai code. Knowing the Shogun will have Jin executed for this, Shimura urges him to scapegoat Yuna, but Jin refuses and embraces his persona as "The Ghost". Shimura has him arrested, but he manages to escape when Yuna learns of Khotun's whereabouts. Jin travels north, and learns that the Mongols have learned how to craft his poison, which they intend to use in their assault on the Japanese mainland. Before gathering his allies and assaulting Khotun's final stronghold in Port Izumi, Jin leaves a note for Shimura in his castle asking him to join the effort with the samurai, which he does. Jin infiltrates the port and kills Khotun on his flagship.

With Khotun dead, the Mongol invasion loses its momentum and the tide turns in favor of the samurai. Shimura informs Jin that the Shogun considers him a threat to the island's stability and status quo of obedience of the people to their leaders. He has therefore disbanded Clan Sakai and ordered Shimura to kill Jin. Reminiscing about what they have both lost, Jin and Shimura reluctantly duel each other, with Jin emerging victorious. Jin has the option to either kill Shimura to give him a proper warrior's death, or completely abandon the samurai code and spare his life. Regardless of the decision, Jin becomes the enemy of the Shogun.

Iki Island[edit]

Sometime after his duel with Shimura, Jin comes across a community of villagers who have been driven insane by a poison described as "sacred medicine". It was administered by a scouting party of Mongols whom Jin has never previously encountered: members of the Mongolian Eagle tribe, led by Ankhsar "The Eagle" Khatun, from neighboring Iki Island. Defeating them, Jin learns that The Eagle is engaged in a conquest of Iki Island, where his late father Kazumasa had once led an unsuccessful campaign to pacify its raiders. The samurai withdrew from the island after Kazumasa was ambushed and killed by the raiders. Jin was there during the campaign as a boy; he witnessed his father's death and still blames himself for not saving him. Made cognizant of this new threat to Tsushima, Jin sails to Iki to stop The Eagle and face his past.

A thunderstorm destroys Jin's boat, but he is able to survive and arrive on Iki. Discovering the Eagle's base to be his father's former stronghold, Fort Sakai, Jin storms the fort but is subdued and captured by the Eagle's second-in-command, Khunbish. He and The Eagle force Jin to consume the "sacred medicine" in an attempt to convert him into one of the tribe’s shamans. The poison causes Jin to frequently hallucinate The Eagle, his deceased father, and many of his other past failures. He is rescued by the raider Tenzo, who reluctantly accepts Jin's help and takes him to the raiders' leader, Fune. Jin works with the raiders to weaken The Eagle’s hold over the island, eventually retaking Fort Sakai, killing Khunbish in the process. After fending off retaliation by The Eagle’s forces, Jin hears Tenzo say "May your death benefit all beings" to a dying Mongol - the same phrase a masked raider spoke to Kazumasa before killing him. Realizing that Tenzo killed his father, Jin nearly kills Tenzo before controlling his anger. He then proposes re-enacting the ambush that killed his father, in order to lure out and kill The Eagle. Although suffering from near-continuous hallucinations, Jin overcomes the effects of the “sacred medicine” by acknowledging his father's faults and at last coming to terms with Kazumasa's death. Jin kills The Eagle in a duel, turning the tide in the raiders' favor. Jin and Tenzo forgive each other before parting ways.

Development[edit]

Ghost of Tsushima was developed by Sucker Punch Productions. After completing Infamous First Light, the team wanted to develop another open world project because they believed that choices made by the player are important to gameplay. As a result, the game does not feature waypoints and players have complete freedom to explore the game's world. According to Nate Fox, the game's director, the team distilled the game's numerous internal pitches into "the fantasy of becoming a samurai" during conceptualization.[1] Before deciding on the setting, Sucker Punch considered various other settings and themes such as pirates, Scottish outlaw Rob Roy MacGregor and The Three Musketeers, but they kept coming back to feudal Japan and telling the story of a samurai warrior. They would later find a historical account of the Mongol invasion of Tsushima in 1274 and "the entire vision clicked into place."[11] Game director Nate Fox said:

This is a game that is entirely grounded in reality. We're trying hard to transport people to 1274 Japan. We're inspired by history, but we're not building it back stone by stone. We're not trying to rebuild Tsushima island. Our protagonist is a work of fiction. We actually thought about using some historical figures, and we asked some people who are more culturally aware than us and they said that it would be insensitive, so we didn't do it.

[12]

Sucker Punch consulted cultural experts to improve the title's accuracy to feudal Japanese culture.[13] Sucker Punch's Infamous series served as an inspiration for Jin's traversal techniques.[13] The game takes inspiration from Japanese cinema featuring samurai, notably Akira Kurosawa films such as Seven Samurai (1954) and Sanjuro (1962).[14][15] The team consulted historical sword-fighting expert David Ishimaru to help create a historically-based foundation for the game.[15] In December 2015, Sony executive Scott Rohde revealed that Sucker Punch's new project was in early development.[16] On June 23, 2020, it was announced that the game had gone gold.[17]

One of the game's Japanese localizers, Daisuke Ishidate (石立 大介) suggested to the developers that the game's "haiku" side-quest be replaced with a less anachronistic waka side-quest, but this was rejected based on the relative recognizability of haiku outside Japan. However, since a game set in the Kamakura period including "haiku" would hurt the immersion of the game for Japanese players, the Japanese version swaps them out for waka.[18] In an interview with Dengeki Online, Ishidate said that the developers had told him that while even haiku are not widely known outside Japan except in certain circles, waka are even less understood,[19] but Jason Connell, the game's artist and creative director, told Dengeki Online that haiku are known outside Japan while waka are not.[20]

Audio[edit]

Sucker Punch sent an audio team to Japan to record different sounds, including birdsongs. The players can either enable Japanese or English dialogue with optional English subtitles.[21] The game's music is composed by Ilan Eshkeri and Shigeru Umebayashi.[22] Pre-orders of the game included a digital mini soundtrack with select songs.[23]

Release[edit]

The game's marketing campaign began in October 2017 when a reveal trailer was shown at Sony Interactive Entertainment's Paris Games Week press conference.[24] Sony opted not to announce the title too early since many of the game's systems were tentative and subject to change.[25] A gameplay demo was shown at E3 2018 and a live shakuhachi performance was delivered by Cornelius Boots.[26] A trailer was teased in the State of Play presentation on December 10, 2019, and was shown at The Game Awards 2019 with a live orchestra performance on December 12.[27] A story trailer was released on March 5, 2020.[23]

The game was released for PlayStation 4 on July 17, 2020,[28] having been delayed from its original June 26 release date due to the COVID-19 pandemic.[23] Sucker Punch announced four editions: standard, digital deluxe, special, and a collector's edition.[23] Different editions come with different collectors' items as well as items, equipment, and unlocked abilities in the game, in addition to a bonus for pre-ordering the game.[23]

Post-release[edit]

A multiplayer expansion titled Ghost of Tsushima: Legends, was announced in August 2020 and was released on October 16, 2020, alongside the addition of a new game plus feature to the base game. Additional trophies were also added.[29] Unlike the main game, Legends features prominent supernatural elements drawn from Japanese folklore and mythology.[30] Players assume one of four available classes, and either take on the two player story missions, or four player wave-based missions, although all missions can also be played solo. There is also a four player raid, that takes place over three chapters. It was released on October 30, 2020, two weeks after the initial launch of Ghost of Tsushima: Legends. The multiplayer expansion alongside the other updates to the game were released for free, for owners of the base game.[29][30]

In July 2021, Sucker Punch announced a Director's Cut of the game for the PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5, titled Ghost of Tsushima: Director's Cut. The new version includes an expansion in which Jin visits Iki Island, and the PlayStation 5 includes exclusive features such as full Japanese lip sync, haptic feedback and adaptive trigger support, 3D audio support, dynamic 4K resolution and improved loading times. The Director's Cut was released on August 20, 2021.[31]

Reception[edit]

[32]

(PS5) 87/100

[33]
AggregatorScore
Metacritic(PS4) 83/100
[34][35][36][38][40][41][43]
PublicationScore
Destructoid9.5/10
Famitsu40/40
Game Informer9.5/10
GameRevolution[37]
GameSpot7/10
GamesRadar+[39]
IGN9/10
Push Square9/10
The Guardian[42]
USgamer4/5
VG247[44]

The game received "generally favorable" reviews, according to the review aggregator Metacritic.[32]

The aesthetics and visuals of the game received significant praise. Mitchell Saltzman of IGN described the game as "an absolutely gorgeous adventure through one of history's most strikingly beautiful landscapes" while criticizing the enemy AI.[40] Chris Tapsell of Eurogamer said the game's "world as a whole is beautiful – utterly, undeniably, oppressively beautiful."[45]

Critics were more mixed when it came to the activities found across the open world. Polygon's Carolyn Petit said that the game "offers a lovely world to explore, and there's value in that, but it should have been so much more than a checklist of activities to accomplish."[46] Kotaku's Ian Walker said "I found myself audibly sighing every time I crested a hill towards a mystery objective only to find another fox to follow or another haiku to compose. These diversions, while unique at first glance, proved to just be busy work as time wore on."[47]

In regards to combat, Rachel Weber of GamesRadar+ said that combat "just flowed and felt right."[39] Destructoid's Chris Carter said that the "rhythm of combat is also a sight to behold" and that "like the small open-world nuances, combat blossoms over time."[34]

Four editors from the Japanese video game magazine Famitsu gave the game a rare 40/40 perfect score. This is the third Western-developed game to receive such a top score, along with The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (2011) by Bethesda Softworks and Grand Theft Auto V (2013) by Rockstar Games.[35][48]

To Polygon's Kazuma Hashimoto, the game is a "well-intentioned homage" to Kurosawa films, as well as being a fairly nationalist interpretation of the samurai class as an "honor-bound and noble group of people that cared deeply for the peasantry." Hashimoto concludes that, "instead of examining the samurai's role, Ghost of Tsushima lionizes their existence as the true protectors of feudal Japan."[49]

Creative leads Nate Fox and Jason Connell were named as tourism ambassadors to Tsushima Island in March 2021, as those "who has spread the name and history of Tsushima through their works".[50]

Sales[edit]

Ghost of Tsushima was the best-selling physical game in its debut week of release in the United Kingdom[51] and sold 373,473 copies in the country by the end of 2020.[52] The game topped the download charts in both Europe and the USA.[53] In Japan, the game was also the best-selling game during its debut week, with 212,915 copies being sold.[54] The game remained in the top 30 best-selling video games in Japan for over 15 consecutive weeks, totaling over 412,000 copies sold.[55] The Director's Cut version was the best-selling game in the UK in its week of release.[56] It was also the second best-selling game in the US in August 2021, only behind Madden NFL 22.[57] It went on to become the seventh best-selling game of 2020 in the US.[58]

Worldwide, the game sold through more than 2.4 million units in its first 3 days of sales, making it PlayStation 4's fastest selling first-party original IP debut.[59] It was reported in November 2020 that it has sold over 5 million copies.[60] As of March 2021, the game has sold over 6.5 million units.[61] As of January 2022, the game has sold over 8 million copies.[62]

Awards[edit]

The game received Special Commendations for Graphics[a] and Sound at the Game Critics Awards in July 2018.[63] In 2018, nominated for Most Wanted Game at the Golden Joystick Awards.[64] At the 38th Golden Joystick Awards in 2020, the game was nominated for Best Audio, Best Storytelling, Best Visual Design, and PlayStation Game of the Year, while Sucker Punch was nominated for Studio of the Year.[65][66] It received several nominations at The Game Awards 2020, including Game of the Year, Best Game Direction, Best Narrative, and Best Performer for Daisuke Tsuji.[67] It won Game of the Year from PlayStation Official Magazine – UK.[68]

[a][b][c]
YearAwardCategoryResultRef
2018Golden Joystick AwardsMost Wanted GameNominated[64]
Game Critics AwardsSpecial Commendation for GraphicsWon[63]
Special Commendation for SoundWon[63]
2020Golden Joystick AwardsPlayStation Game of the YearNominated[66]
Best AudioNominated
Best StorytellingNominated
Best Visual DesignNominated
Studio of the YearNominated
The Game Awards 2020Game of the YearNominated[67]
Best Game DirectionNominated
Best Art DirectionWon
Best NarrativeNominated
Best PerformanceNominated
Best Audio DesignNominated
Best Action/Adventure GameNominated
Player's VoiceWon
Titanium AwardsBest Narrative DesignNominated[69]
Best Art DesignNominated
202124th Annual D.I.C.E. AwardsGame of the YearNominated[70][71]
Adventure Game of the YearWon
Outstanding Achievement in Original Music CompositionWon
Outstanding Achievement in Art DirectionWon
Outstanding Achievement in Audio DesignWon
Outstanding Achievement in StoryNominated
Outstanding Technical AchievementNominated
Outstanding Achievement in Game DesignNominated
Outstanding Achievement in Game DirectionNominated
Visual Effects Society AwardsOutstanding Virtual Cinematography in a CG ProjectNominated[72][73]
Outstanding Visual Effects in a Real-Time ProjectWon
17th British Academy Games AwardsArtistic AchievementNominated[74][75]
Audio AchievementWon
Best GameNominated
Game DesignNominated
MultiplayerNominated
MusicNominated
NarrativeNominated
Original PropertyNominated
Performer in a Leading RoleNominated
Performer in a Supporting RoleNominated
EE Game of the YearNominated
21st Game Developers Choice AwardsGame of the YearNominated[76]
Best AudioNominated
Best DesignNominated
Best NarrativeNominated
Best TechnologyNominated
Best Visual ArtWon
Golden Joystick Awards 2021Best Game ExpansionWon[77]

Film adaptation[edit]

On March 25, 2021, Sony Pictures and PlayStation Productions announced the development of a film adaptation of the game, with Chad Stahelski directing. The film will be produced by Stahelski, Alex Young and Jason Spitz of 87Eleven Entertainment, and Asad Qizilbash and Carter Swan for PlayStation Productions; Sucker Punch will serve as executive producers, with Peter Kang overseeing production on the studio's behalf. On April 12, 2022, Takashi Doscher was brought on to write the screenplay.[61][78]

Notes[edit]

References[edit]

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  • aGarst, Aron (June 15, 2018). "'Ghosts of Tsushima' Mixes History, Fiction, and Open World Action".bVariety. Archived from the original on June 18, 2018. Retrieved June 18, 2018.
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  • Game Spark. September 2, 2020. Retrieved October 12, 2020.ゲーム内で和歌とされているのは日本語だけで、海外では俳句になっています。鎌倉時代には(現在の形の)俳句は存在しないというのは日本では一般的な知識なので和歌にしないかと提案したんですが、世界的に見ると俳句と和歌では認知度が全く違うし、俳句という言葉自体も日本に興味をもっていないと知らないレベルなので、グローバルで和歌にするのは厳しいとのことでした。ただ、日本では鎌倉時代に俳句となると違和感が出てしまうので、英語の音声の尺が長めだったため、それを利用して和歌にさせてもらうことにしました。
  • Dengeki Online. August 13, 2020. Retrieved October 12, 2020.俳句でさえかなりマイナーで知っている人の少ない日本文化なのに、さらに和歌と言われても理解してもらえないよ
  • Dengeki Online. July 14, 2020. Retrieved October 12, 2020.海外では俳句は知られていますが、和歌はほぼ知られていません。
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  • Official website
  • Ghost of Tsushima Tour travel guide from Wikivoyage
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