Sony is closing out the PS4 era with the highly anticipated Ghost of Tsushima, an action-adventure title that has potential to be developer Sucker Punch’s biggest hit. While the developer has had its fair share of critical and commercial success with both the Sly Cooper and Infamous series, it has yet to have a title that can compete with Sony’s best.
Sony has always had excellent support from its first-party developers. Santa Monica Studios, Naughty Dog, Insomniac, and Guerrilla Games have all crafted titles that can vye for the best of the generation. As it relates to Guerrilla Games, it took the release of Horizon Zero Dawn, the excellent post-apocalyptic open world adventure that was a far cry from the Killzone series, the first-person shoot series in which the developer were most known for.
One title was all it took to drastically alter the image of Guerrilla Games and Sucker Punch has a chance to replicate that with the success of Ghost of Tsushima. While historical fiction set in an open-world isn’t breaking any new barriers, it has not stopped or limited the hype surrounding the game. Allowing the player to switch between fighting as a traditional samurai or a brutally efficient ninja is already an intriguing concept. Pair it with an island that it is in the middle of a Mongol invasion and it creates a sandbox filled with encounters that the player will have direct control over.
Players will be able to customize the main character Jin Sakai to suit their playstyle and this will help create enemy encounters that will feel organic and player driven. This type of experimentation is always welcome in open-world titles as those games that stick to a certain genre can become stagnant quickly. Keeping the player engaged in open-world titles is difficult as it is because of most experiences are very similar, so the contrasting combat styles should create a unique gameplay loop. Its also pretty cool that depending on your style will force enemies to react differently, similar to how enemies adapted to your play style in Metal Gear Solid V in which enemies would alter their routines and outfits based off your aggression.
What’s most interesting is that Ghost of Tsushima will heavily resemble Breath of the World in regards to its approach to mission objectives. Players will be given little to no guidance and are allowed to move about Tsushima as they please. This is something that may make or break the game for some and I’ve always felt this is a bold choice in terms of design because getting lost in an open world could result in the player losing sight of the overarching goal. But, if we’re being honest, the island of Tsushima looks like it’ll be a lot of fun to get lost in. There will be a number of visual cues to ensure that the player stays on the right track and some of these could lead to secrets and various side quests.
If this game is able to competently blend multiple gameplay mechanics while also hosting an engaging narrative and interesting setting, Ghost of Tsushima should easily live up to the hype and act as a launching point for Sucker Punch Productions. If anything, knowing the studio’s history, the game should be another solid entry in their resume. It will be launching with a number of features including a photo mode and a monochrome filter, allowing players to live out their Akira Kurosawa fantasies. Regardless, all eyes will be on the ghost Jin Sakai when the title releases on July 17th. Hopefully, its the IP that pushes Sucker Punch into the stratosphere as another first-party developer that Sony can tout as we move into the next generation.