Sucker Punch Productions discusses how they manage to capture the heart of a Samurai and explains the key elements behind making the Katana combat in Ghost of Tsushima.

In a lengthy blog post on the PSBlog, Sucker Punch’s co-founder, Chris Zimmerman opens up on the gameplay of Ghost of Tsushima, specifically the Katana combat.

Our goal with Ghost of Tsushima has always been to capture the heart of the samurai fantasy — to transport you back to feudal Japan, to live through the beauty and danger of Tsushima Island under attack. Our hero, Jin Sakai, has trained his whole life in the samurai way — watchful, precise, disciplined, deadly. He’s a master of the katana, a confident horseman, and skilled with the bow… but those skills aren’t enough when faced with thousands of Mongol invaders. He needs to be something more than the perfect samurai if he wants to save his home. That’s what Ghost is about.

Our hopes of achieving our goal, of creating the time machine we were after, rested on capturing the right feel for the katana. Without katana combat that looked right, sounded right, and felt right, Ghost wouldn’t succeed. We could look for inspiration in the great combat examples in classic and modern samurai movies — my personal touchstone is the 2010 remake of 13 Assassins — but the things that work in movies don’t always work in games, so there was work to do.

Chris goes on to detail the three core elements that the team kept in mind when designing the gameplay for the Kitana, which are: speed, sharpness, and precision.

Speed:  We wanted your attacks to be fast. Katanas aren’t heavy — roughly two to three pounds — so quick slashing attacks are at the center of most katana fighting styles. All the attacks in the game are captured on our in-house motion capture stage, so they represent realistic movement speeds.

Sharpness: Sharp weapons and aggressive enemies mean that death is always nearby. That sense of danger, that you’re never more than a few mistakes away from dying, is crucial to Ghost of Tsushima’s tone. Players have plenty of techniques to defend themselves, and even more, ways to attack. If you concentrate, if you stay focused, you’ll survive the fight. If you lose focus, you’ll die. We’re trying to put you in Jin Sakai’s footsteps; those are the rules he is forced to live by, and they apply equally to you.

Precision: Our final big focus area was precision. The katana is a weapon that rewards precision — a lifetime of discipline and practice to make exactly the right cut at exactly the right moment. It was important that the player got the same sense of precision — and those same demands of discipline and practice.

Down below you’ll also find a new gameplay clip showing off both the Water and Stone Stances that Jin can perform.

Really cool stuff right there! Ghost of Tsushima is officially launching July 17, exclusively for the PlayStation 4.The game will be rated M, if you are interested be sure to read up on the official ESRB rating here:  Tsushima ESRB Rating Summary Mentions Decapitated Heads, Butts and More