Specifically, we hear from game director Nate Fox and art and creative director Jason Connell.
We learn that the developers were dedicated from early-on to have the most immersive experience possible with a minimal user interface. That begged the question of how the player would get around in the open world.
They looked at a lot of famous samurai films and they noticed that there is a lot of movement and wind, so wind became a natural aesthetic feature in the game very early on. Then they realized that they could use it to guide the player around. It worked like a charm very early and the team kept building upon it.
The goal was to encourage the player to look into the game’s world and not at UI. The wind and the animals keep you scanning the horizon and see things that may spark your curiosity and take you to a new place.
The ultimate goal of all these mechanics is to keep you “tied into the beauty of Tsushima instead of playing it like a video game.” That’s why the UI is so minimal.
We also learn that all the places you see in the open world are places you can traverse to as part of the game’s core design. The developers want the player to get lost in feudal Japan and if you can see it you can get to it.
Speaking of combat, it’s described with the sentence “mud, blood, and steel.” The development team wanted it to feel “really, really grounded.” and “lethally precise.” In samurai movies, combatants cut each other down with a single stroke. Capturing that is different from a lot of games because you and your enemies can die very quickly. It took a while to get right, but the developers are very pleased with the results.
While you can become the “ghost” as you progress through the game, embodying a sort of boogieman to the Mongols, you actually never stop being a samurai and can always choose to fight as such.
As a Ghost, you can perform some actions that can cause the Mongols to become terrified and use it to your advantage. You actually don’t need to kill everyone.
Speaking of the photo mode, as soon as the guiding wind was created, it became clear that the photo mode itself would have motion and the ability to control the wind and change its direction. The player has a ton of control and can also do a lot of new things compared to previous examples of the feature in Sucker Punch’s games like adding black bars and calligraphy stamps to drive home the cinematic feel of the scenes.
Ghost of Tsushima is currently in development at Sucker Punch Productions, which is mainly known for the inFAMOUS series. It has recently been slightly rescheduled to release on July 17, 2020.