Sucker Punch’s Infamous franchise is known for presenting players with two key options when approaching major decisions. They can either choose to proceed as a villain or as a hero, which impacts Infamous‘ morality meter. In Ghost of Tsushima’s recent gameplay showing, it appears as though that dichotomy has evolved in some respects, since the protagonist, Jin, can either assume the role of Samurai or the Ghost. However, black and white choices on this scale won’t feature in Sucker Punch’s latest. Though the studio toyed with the idea of a karma system akin to Infamous, the team ultimately moved away from such a staple.
In an interview with IGN, Creative Director and Art Director Jason Connell divulged that a morality meter for Ghost of Tushima was once an idea. However,
…we realized it was more important to us that we wanted to tell a human story of someone who is this way and has to evolve into something else, versus transform completely into something else. He doesn’t flip flop back and forth, it muddied it up for us. We really wanted the story to reflect his transformation.
Instead of telling two stories about a singular character who’s either good or bad, Sucker Punch chose to invest in the storytelling of one single tale. As a result, Jin has one path. He’s born into a certain way of life, taught to abide by it at all costs. When war ravages the world around him, Jin feels he has no choice but to challenge those teachings. According to Connell, not everyone’s going to love the character’s defiance.
Still, players will get to make decisions of their own in terms of playstyle, choosing between Samurai and Ghost. They aren’t different modes, however. For instance, Jin can standoff against an enemy even when players are moving about as a Ghost. The naming of the two styles, then, is simply reflective of Jin’s various facets as a character. Connell added,
There’s definitely important story moments that are more reflective of this change than others. But the reality is that even as you have gotten to some story moments, you can still play the game as this Samurai, you may just be more potent or more powerful. We don’t make you choose between [samurai and Ghost].
When he’s a Ghost, he can turn around and play as a samurai because he’s always a samurai. All his training, using the Katana, that stuff is buried in him deep. On the stealth [State of Play segement], if you wanted to jump off the roof and start fighting like a samurai, you could totally do that. We don’t spec you out and suddenly you can’t play as a samurai. He’s always at his core, his heart of hearts, a samurai. The Ghost is this legendary warrior that he’s evolving into.
Ghost of Tsushima will launch this summer on July 17th for the PlayStation 4.