Ghost of Tsushima: Your Questions Answered
Following our big Ghost of Tsushima-focused episode of State of Play earlier this month, we invited folks on Twitter to pitch in any questions they still had. We collected a series of those questions and put them in front of Nate Fox and Jason Connell from Sucker Punch.
Hopefully this helps make the wait until July 17 just a bit easier.
Watch the full State of Play episode to get your closest look yet at Sucker Punch’s new adventure.
Are there different types of weapons apart from a sword, like axes and spears?
Jason Connell: Jin’s katana is a family heirloom and will be with him from the beginning to the end. As a lethal samurai, this is his main weapon in fighting against the invaders. The Sakai blade is something that will grow with Jin throughout his journey.
As Jin grows into becoming this feared samurai warrior known as the Ghost, so too will some of his abilities and tactics. Learn to use a bow for picking off enemies at a distance or use throwable kunai and smoke-bombs at close proximity. We won’t share all of these abilities before launch, we’d like to have something for players to discover.
In the gif Jin’s playing a flute so I automatically assume that’s something you can do while you’re on your travels right?
Nate Fox: You can play the flute whenever you like, it’s the perfect way to create a serene moment and take in the view.
At what point did you guys come up with the wind as a guiding mechanic? It’s really unique, and gorgeous, but I’m sure it didn’t come easily.
Jason: Fortunately for us, one of the earliest Art Direction goals was to incorporate wind and a sense of movement in everything possible. It both had historical connections as well as film reference overlap. A couple years into production, the game started to look stunning and we wanted to create a way to keep people in the world. Since we had achieved those early art goals and the wind was visually striking, we decided to see if it could actually point you to a new location. It totally worked!
We’ve refined it a bunch since then and expanded on it as an exploration tool to not only bring you to your next tracked location or objective, but also to help you find hidden collectibles if desired.
Does choosing to fight like a Samurai or like a Ghost/Ninja have consequences? Was thinking it might be like the Good/Evil karma system?
Nate: There is no karma system. There’s one story we’re telling here, one journey for Jin.
As for the player making a choice, we want to be clear that there isn’t a binary choice for the player, it’s more about the player having freedom to play through any encounter in the style they prefer and wearing whichever armor they prefer, mixing and matching pieces of different armor sets. Your actions also aren’t limited by your armor – for example, you may have seen that the “Standoff” prompt appeared even in the Ghost section. You can still use tools like Smoke Bombs even if you’re wearing samurai armor. As we showed in the State of Play, that one scenario with the Shipyard played out very differently based on how the player approached the situation.
Jin begins as a samurai, strong in sword combat. As he develops more ways of fighting he comes to be known as the Ghost, but he never loses his skills with his sword. This is a story of Jin growing to become a new kind of warrior, who uses every weapon he has to save his home. No matter what your preferred means of attack, be it swords or stealth, the legend of the Ghost will grow.
Will there be a day/night cycle and dynamic weather?
Jason: Yes to both. There are dynamic weather conditions that you will experience throughout your adventures in Tsushima. Some of them are tied to specific regions to give more flavor and personality to them, while others are tied to story moments. Along with weather, we also have a full day and night cycle.
Is there a difficulty slider for those of us that want more challenging experiences? If so, are enemies more aggressive at higher difficulty levels or do they simply have larger health bars?
Nate: The game does feature three levels of difficulty — Easy, Normal, and Hard. On HARD, the game is fair, but very challenging. Mongols are more aggressive, and players must be precise to pull off extraordinary moves. By comparison, EASY is for players who want to explore the island, enjoy the story and still be occasionally tested by a worthy opponent.
No matter which difficulty players choose we never increase the health of enemies; this is to maintain the lethality of the katana. Our combat is all about the player’s skill.
Will enemies be more aggressive in the final game compared to what has been shown?
Nate: Some have watched the State of Play footage and concluded that Ghost of Tsushima is an easy game, which isn’t the case. Combat is designed to be lethal both ways, not just for the player versus enemies. Jin’s foes can definitely take him out quickly, too.
The gameplay we showed was captured by one of the test leads on Ghost, and he’s very skilled with the katana. Plus, Jin had some abilities unlocked that he doesn’t begin the game with. We wanted to show what combat can look like when the player has mastered the controls and abilities — when Jin is at his best. We think most will find the combat satisfyingly challenging.
Fantastic gameplay, however could you perhaps look at changing the physics of an arrow headshot? The backwards force was a tad unrealistic and over the top, otherwise an excellent demonstration!
Nate: This is something we’ve seen a lot of users comment on. You may have noticed that Jin uses two different bows in our demo – the Halfbow in the Samurai portion, and the Longbow in the Ghost portion. The Longbow packs a much heavier punch, and has the power to knock enemies back as you saw in State of Play.
Are there villages or towns? Side missions? Content besides the main story?
Nate: Jin’s transformation from Samurai into the Ghost is the main story of the game, but while on that journey he’ll run into a number of other characters with stories of their own. If players choose, they can dive deep into these side stories, forging a tighter bond with other brave people fighting to save their home. Not only do these stories provide a greater perspective on the invasion, but they offer some of the best rewards in the game.
While traveling, Jin will come upon a number of towns which are full of vendors and the opportunity to find more side stories.
Will it feature different endings based on the fighting style the players use more often (Samurai or Ghost)?
Nate: The game tells the human story about Jin’s sacrifice to become the Ghost. Players can choose to primarily fight with a sword, bow or stealth; either way Jin becomes a legend to the people of Tsushima, and a terror to the Mongol Invaders.
How long is the game?
Nate: Always a hard/impossible question to answer for an open world game… Players should expect a scope that’s markedly larger than our previous work for certain… If you’re the type who’ll occasionally get distracted by something in the distance, or nearby commotion, you’re going to find a world you can get lost in and spend dozens of hours within. There are also players who really only want to focus on the main story, and they can certainly play and enjoy the game a ton, though they’ll get to the end of the story a bit faster.
Let’s put it another way: Most of our play testers would spend a full week on Ghost and not finish the storyline. We know everyone wants a number, but we’re confident to say that if you want a satisfying story in a big, content-rich world with lots to do and see and lots of characters to get to know, you’ll find what you’re looking for in Ghost of Tsushima.
What happens when you hit L2 + R2? What are the circles in the life bar?
Nate: The “circles” are Jin’s Resolve, which he uses to heal or to perform his most intense attacks. Players will have to make the tough tactical choice between healing or landing a crucial strike.
Can you swim to those boats in the water?
Nate: Jin gets around Tsushima on his trusty horse and his own two legs, he can’t swim out to boats and start sailing on them.
Can you chop people’s heads off or cut them in half?
Nate: Players won’t be able to target specific body parts, Jin’s goal is just to dispatch his enemies as quickly as possible with whatever means available. Our motto for Ghost’s combat is “Mud, Blood and Steel”; it’s gritty, visceral, and above all lethal. It doesn’t take many slashes with katana to kill an enemy, just like it doesn’t take many hits from a Mongol’s sword to kill Jin. It’s a challenging environment to stay alive in — use every weapon you have.
Are side quests unique and offer essential rewards?
Jason: Ghost of Tsushima is a story driven open world game. An anthology of stories surrounds Jin’s main story in the form of side tales. Some of these are brief and some wrap Jin up in interesting characters, giving players an opportunity to learn more about his island and his new friends.
We want to reward players for exploring the open world of Tsushima, So, all content outside of the main story offers a variety of rewards. It could be collectibles, resources, or charms like we’ve shown in our State of Play video. There are even a few side missions that offer sets of armor as a reward.
Will the swords have stats/abilities?
Jason: Jin’s Katana is incredibly important to him. It’s also his main weapon of choice from beginning to the end of the game. There are ways to improve this weapon, both the stats and the appearance.
Will we be able to dual-wield both swords at the same time while attacking?
Nate: No, Jin was trained to fight with a single sword in a traditional style. But when Mongols invade he often finds himself radically outnumbered; to even the odds he begins to use thrown weapons in the middle of a fight, mixing ranged and close quarters attacks with deadly results.
Will we have the same horse throughout the game, or will there be different horses?
Jason: Jin’s partner in this journey is his horse. Early in the game, there is an opportunity to choose the horse you want to go on this adventure with.
Do the armor sets consist of different pieces? Meaning can we mix and match different pieces for head gear, torso etc., or is it all just one set you can equip on Jin?
Jason: Yes. In the State of Play video we showed interchanging different helmets and body elements of the armor.
Also, while no one tweeted these exact questions with the #AskSuckerPunch hashtag, we saw a bit of confusion around these points, so we decided to ask Sucker Punch ourselves:
In Ghost can you play as another character other than Jin?
Nate: No, Jin is the hero of this story. Players are there, each step of the way, guiding Jin as he transforms from the honorable Samurai he was brought up to be, into the Ghost that Tsushima needs him to become.
Are you able to hunt animals for materials/crafting?
Jason: While there are unique animals in Tsushima that are there to help guide Jin in his adventures, there are also a few predators that will be aggressive. Upgrade resources can be collected from these specific animals once defeated.