Q - Is it possible to stealth kill every enemy in the game besides some bosses? I'm a huge fan of stealth in games!
SP - You would be welcome to try! But some enemies are too strong to be killed in one assassination attempt and will continue to fight back. If you're careful, most enemies can be taken down in stealth... but be sure not to alert their friends!
Q - Ghost of Tsushima has a really cool aesthetic, and a really awesome design that looks like it's designed by old samurai films. What films were the inspiration or were used to help model the game?
SP - The three films that had the most influence were... The Seven Samurai (directed by Akira Kurosawa) This film set our expectations of what samurai were. Noble, understated warriors that were willing to selflessly risk their lives for the good of others. Yojimbo (also directed by Akira Kurosawa) This film perfectly encapsulates the fantasy of being a wandering samurai. Traveling from town to town, solving problems with wits and a strong sword arm. 13 Assassins (directed by Takashi Miike) This film set the stage for how we would construct the sword combat in our game. The tone of this film is gritty and bloody, yet never over-the-top in how it treats violence.
Q - As a fan of not only good games but also good doggos, will we be able to pet a dog in the game?
SP - You can pet a fox.
Q - What was the biggest challenge for the team that they felt they needed to get "just right" for Ghost of Tsushima to be a success?
SP - We set out to make a game about a wandering samurai in feudal Japan. To make that fantasy come to life we knew we had to get combat with a katana feeling just right. Drawing your sword and staring down an opponent is the moment where the game crystalizes into a pure samurai experience.
Q - What was the first thing you remember during development that made you really buy into your own game? No spoilers of course, but was there that kind of moment?
SP - Early in production we made a demo where you played as a samurai riding across rolling grassy hills. Somber music swelled as you galloped along past houses burned down by the Mongols. It was in that moment that, as a player, that I felt something. I was present in the moment, not playing a game.
Q - What was your most emotional moment making this game a reality?
SP - It was incredibly humbling to stand on Tsushima’s Komoda Beach where 80 samurai fought to defend their home when the Mongol’s invaded in 1274. It made a deep impression on all of us that visited.
Q - A ton of Store Associates were dying to know the following question: Are there goig to be any fun Sly Cooper or Infamous easter eggs that we'll come across as we play the game?
SP - If you know what to look for, there are a few Sly and Infamous easter eggs hidden in the game.
Q - What action games inspired you when creating the combat for Ghost of Tsushima?
SP - I'd say the two games with the biggest impact were Red Dead Redemption and Breath of the Wild. Red Dead Redemption did a fantastic job giving players the freedom experience the life of a gunslinger in the old west. We wanted to do the same thing with a samurai in feudal Japan. Breath of the Wild showed us the power of curiosity and discovery, something that we took to heart while designing all the hidden corners of Tsushima.
Q - How did you decide on the name Ghost of Tsushima for the title on this game and were other title names considered?
SP - This game is about a Samurai who has to break his code and become ‘the Ghost’ in order to protect his home, Tsushima, from Mongol invaders. Ghost of Tsushima is a title that says it all. We did toss around other names for the game, but the power of the island's name was too strong to not include. At the end of the day, the player really gets to know and care for the island of Tsushima, it had to be in the title.
Q - What kind of accessibility options will be present in Ghost of Tsushima? Will the game be restricted to Souls-like challenge or will it have scalable options similar Jedi: Fallen Order and The Last of Us Part 2?
SP - We have baseline difficulty settings so you can adjust to the type of experience you'd like. We also have an accessibility options page with a few more variables to tweak.
Q - I know that we have multiple armor looks with stats to them, I was wondering will there be multiple swords with stats tied to them as well or will it be like other games where it's just the one sword from the start of the game? Can't wait to take vacation to play this!
SP - Jin's core melee weapon is his Katana, also known as the Sakai Storm. It's an important part of his heritage and the story so we built our combat to be centralized it. You can put various aesthetic options on it to make it your own, but it's always the Sakai Steel. However, there are various other weapons to augment your playstyle like Tanto, various bows, kunai, and smoke bomb to name a few.
Q - Can you dual wield katanas like Miyamoto Musashi?
SP - 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.
Q - Is horseback only for travel or will there be combat on horseback as well?
SP - Jin can absolutely attack from horseback, but he is strongest while standing on his own two feet.
Q - How freely can Jin switch between the Ghost and Samurai playstyles? And do the playstyles change depending on the mission/quest you're doing? P.S. been a fan since Sly Cooper!
SP - The choice between fighting as a Samurai or Ghost isn’t binary. Instead, players always have the choice to use their sword in a direct assault or to use stealthy tactics. Players can blend between these two combat styles however they see fit.
Q - In the gameplay that has been shown so far it seems most enemies can be defeated with one sword stroke. Is this due to a level-based system (non-armored enemies vs armored) or weapon progression? or for realism?
SP - We set out to translate the feeling of samurai film combat into a interactive format, to do that we eventually came up with two core rules. First, honor the lethality of the sword. A few hits with the blade should kill a man (be it the hero or the villian). Second, a samurai should be still, only moving with quick precision to land those lethal strikes.
Q - Sucker Punch has a long history of great open world games. What was the biggest lesson learned while developing the world of Ghost of Tsushima?
SP - The biggest lesson learned is that not everything has to be packed with action every moment. Enjoy the countryside, look for secrets, maybe get into a brawl, write a haiku... Enjoy playing as Jin adventuring around his home of Tsushima.
Q - How different does the original main-character design appear from the final product?
SP - Jin Sakai, our hero, didn't change much during development. We knew his story was about a Samurai who had to go against his code to save his home by becoming the Ghost. Finding the right look for the Ghost was the most challenging bit.
Q - What is one of Ghost of Tsushima's qualities that you are most proud of or most excited for the world to experience and why?
SP - I'm excited for players to follow their curiosity and get lost in Tsushima. It's a very beautiful place, filled with stories and secrets to discover.
Q - I see some similarities to Sly Cooper in the stealth sections, was there a lot of inspiration from the Sly games that you guys grabbed for this game?
SP - Sly 2 was the first time we'd try to build improvisational stealth set-ups where the player had to make up their path as they went. There weren't many scripted set-ups in that game, you had to think on your feet. The same is true for Ghost of Tsushima’s stealth. Stay in the moment, make sure to look before you leap and you’ll do fine.
Q - What inspired you guys to choose the first mongol invasion as the setting of the game? While i think it's brilliant, it's a part of history often overlooked as the Mongols were very well known for just sweeping over entire nations. The idea of one lone samurai standing to protect his island by any means he can is a cool concept. Was Ghost based off any historical figure? Also was was there anything really interesting you found out while researching and added to the game that you hope fans notice?
SP - While this game was inspired by a real historical event, it’s an original work of fiction. The characters and most of the locations in the game are invented in order to best tell the story of Jin Sakai’s transformation from Samurai to Ghost.
Q - It seems as if Ghost of Tsushima is somewhat reflecting the Good and Evil choices that defined the inFAMOUS series via Jin's decisions to abandon the ways of the samurai he was trained in and to ignore the concepts of honor and dishonor he was likely raised with to take vengeance on the Mongols. How much did your studio learn from the inFAMOUS games that affects this idea, or any other significant aspects of Ghost of Tsushima?
SP - Ghost of Tsushima does not feature a karma system like in Infamous. It tells one story about a Samurai who has to go against his code to save his home. All players will help Jin Sakai become the Ghost, but the gameplay details of how their Ghost fights are up to them. They decide what sort of skills or attacks to develop. We learned while making Infamous that giving players the freedom to chose what how they developed their character lead to a strong sense of ownership, that freedom is completely present in Ghost of Tsushima.
Q - What made your team want to pursue such an ambitious and historically accurate story/game as this one? Like how'd you go from Sly Cooper to Infamous to Ghost?? I've played Infamous in the past and LOVED it so I'm extremely excited to be engulfed again in this upcoming title!
SP - While inspired by a real moment in history, Ghost of Tsushima is an original work of fiction. Our characters and even the terrain diversity of our Tsushima all exist to help tell the story of Jin's transformation from Samurai to Ghost. All of our games, from Sly to Infamous to Ghost of Tsushima, start with a core experience we want to bring to life. For this upcoming game it was to experience the life of a wandering samurai in open world feudal Japan.
Q - Hello Sucker Punch! Im so hype for the game but I do have to ask, as a person who will be looking to 100% platinum this game, about how long is the game in aproximate hours? That may be a broad question, but just as an estimation, with the beautiful world being as big as it is, would there be more of an abundance of exploration or more combat gameplay?
SP - Our game was designed for both people that want to take their time to adventure the island of Tsushima as well as appeal to players that really just want to experience Jin's core story. So, as you can imagine, play-thru numbers range wildly. In our playtests, many people would play through the game over 5 days and only 1 or 2 would finish the story at times.
Q - How big is the Island of Tsushima? Is the entire map ready to be explored from the begining of the game or is it unlocked as you progress in the story?
SP - The game is radically bigger than anything we’ve ever attempted and does feature a couple areas that get unlocked as you play through the central narrative. But the real scale of the Tsushima isn’t the size of the island, but instead the number of stories and unexpected experiences you’ll find there. It’s a massive game brimming with secrets to discover and people to meet.
Q - Will there be a new game plus or free roam mode included? the game is so beautiful and the combat seems like itll be pretty visceral, I would love to be able to play around in this world for hours like I did with the Witcher 3!
SP - If you are looking explore the world with less challenge you can always ratchet down the game's difficult for a while. However the game does not feature new game plus.
Q - To what degree does Ghost of Tsushima feature RPG elements (XP/Level system, Gear, Skill Trees, Branching Stories, Dialogue Trees, etc.)
SP - There are a number of Skill Trees in the game, giving players the freedom to create their ideal Ghost. I personally like to invest in ranged combat, but you might be a straight up sword fighter. Armor variation and weapon upgrades add another level of customization, ensuring that your character is very much your own.