Jamie has loved games ever since he got a GameBoy for Christmas when he was five. Since then he's attempted to own every console, play every game, and tell anyone who will listen about the wonderful virtual worlds they can explore. He's still the same now, but he screams gaming nonsense into the internet instead of people's faces.
Recently we finally got a release date for Ghost of Tsushima. The game has been in development for quite a while now, having been revealed during E3 2018. The studio behind the game, Sucker Punch, hasn’t released anything since Infamous Second Son, which was released quite close to the PlayStation 4’s launch date. With all that time in development, the game stands a good chance of being PlayStation’s next big franchise.
In Ghost of Tsushima, players take on the role of Jin Sakai, a samurai warrior learning the art of the sword from his uncle, Shimura. Jin’s uncle is also the jito (lord) of Tsushima, Jin’s homeland, which is under threat from Khotun Khan, a leader with an unstoppable Mongol army at his back.
Khan knows a lot about the samurai and uses this knowledge to overcome them in battle. As a result, Jin begins to use new tactics to fight the overwhelming enemy force, but his uncle doesn’t like it. Eventually, Jin abandons the teachings that are holding him back, opting to become The Ghost, protector of Tsushima.
The game’s story stands out from others set around the same time period, not because it looks like it will be better in any way, but because it seems much far more historically accurate. Nioh 2 just launched, which is said to be an excellent game set in the Sengoku period of Japan. However, it loses all the weight that the historical setting brings with it as soon as yokai (Japanese demons) are brought into the mix.
While there hasn’t been any confirmation that there aren’t demons in Ghost of Tsushima, the lack of them in any marketing material so far indicates that they won’t be making an appearance. Immediately this makes the game more unique than most PlayStation exclusives. Yes, there will be areas where it strays from history, but at its core, this is a story about a lone samurai fighting an overpowering enemy, and not a story about a single swordsman taking on the forces of hell and doing battle with super beings. From what’s been shown, it attempts to keep things as closely as grounded as possible.
As for how it plays, we haven’t really been shown much of it, though from the bits we can clearly tell this will be a slower paced title. Combat looks as if it needs to be carefully planned, fitting with the overall Samurai setting, as one wrong move could mean your demise. It’s also open world as seen in the footage, though from a story view it does appear they’ll focus on more linear sections to push narrative as they mixed with some epic cinematics.
Taking a look at some of the more recent open world PS4 exclusives, we can see there’s a theme to keep things non-realistic, despite trying to maintain that it could all be possible. Spider-man is obviously a superhero game where the whole world plays such an intrical part in the gameplay as you web-swing around. Horizon: Zero Dawn, an incredibly unique take on the post-apocalypse, but one that players still enjoy today. Once again, there’s a massive open world to explore, one that’s filled with activities and collectibles that won’t let players disengage.
Ghost of Tsushima shares all the same traits as both of these games, which are now Sony franchises. Where the game might be able to differentiate itself, is with one on one combat. In previous gameplay videos, we’ve seen that Jin will mainly be fighting one enemy at a time. This doesn’t have anything to do with making the game easier, it’s a matter of honor within the culture of the time. A small, yet huge detail by developer Sucker Punch.
An open-world game that leans this much on historical accuracy would be something very different, which is another reason it stands a good chance of being a major franchise, and not just another PlayStation 4 exclusive.
Sucker Punch’s previous games, the Infamous series, all had huge open worlds. Each one was filled with collectibles, areas to explore, and missions to complete. No doubt they’ve taken note of what has made Sony’s exclusives so successful in recent years and are most likely applying that to Ghost of Tsushima.
2020 will see the release of The Last Of Us Part 2, which promises to be a phenomenal experience. The game will be great, but it won’t appeal to everyone. I know, I know, and I don’t mean this in a negative way at all. It’s just that with the release date announced for Insomniac’s latest, Sony is setting itself in a good position to cater to those who are going to miss out on The Last of Us. Most studios are just beginning work on their new games, but Ghost of Tsushima is poised to impress us right when we least expect it.
There will probably be a split in PlayStation fans this summer. Some will enjoy The Last Of Us Part 2, and replay it over and over again. Those who don’t though will find something special in the expansive world of Japan that Ghost of Tsushima offers. There’s so much potential for this game to be great that it’s palpable when you watch the new story trailer. That world is eager to get out, and it’s going to make a grab for game of the year 2020.
Opinions expressed here are solely of the author’s and does not represent the entire SP1st staff.