Sucker Punch gave many of us a surprise when they announced Ghost of Tsushima. Its departure from the modern cities of the Infamous series to 13th Century feudal Japan is quite the leap, one the studio is well aware of. In an interview with GamesIndustry.biz, creative director Nate Fox lent his voice to discuss the challenges of making such a thematic change:
Sucker Punch is good at making gameplay, but we are not cultural experts in Kamakura-era Japan. We recognize this, and we’re grateful to have the help.
The aforementioned help being experts in various fields regarding life in 13th Century Tsushima, an island situated between Japan and the Korean peninsula. Sucker Punch had also spoken to fellow developers in Japanese studios to receive advice on cultural norms, as well as receiving additional help with audio recordings. The game has gone as far as adding Japanese audio for players to fully immerse themselves within that setting and time period. Specialists were also consulted with to maintain an authentic feel to wielding a katana, on top of other fighting forms used in the year 1274. Fox expressed his appreciation for the challenges that diving into such unknown territories provided for the team:
It’s been interesting working on this game because in past titles we’ve been able to make it up, frankly. For a superhero game set in Seattle, we knew what we were doing, but in this game we are constantly learning about Japanese culture or the norms of samurai. And it’s exciting because it changes the way you work to learning in the same way that players get to learn about these things, and in fascinating detail.
Fox recognizes that games have been evolving exceptionally with the likes of Horizon Zero Dawn, God of War, and Red Dead Redemption 2, expressing that “as a gamer, I really wanted to play an open-world samurai game.” He is most assuredly preaching to the choir, there.
A release date for Ghosts of Tsushima has yet to be revealed, so we’ll all just have to hang tight for the moment. If you’d like, you can check out the many sources of inspiration Sucker Punch is drawing from to create its vibrant world. You might discover something to ease the wait. You can also read our preview of the game from E3 this year.
How does everyone feel about Sucker Punch’s dedication to authenticity? Let us know in the comments!