While the lights of the new generation of PlayStation 5 seem to dazzle everyone, PlayStation 4 still has life ahead. And a clear example of its validity are its exclusive games: launched in 2013 by Sony, in 2020 it continues to deliver great titles that can only be played on your console. AND Ghost of Tsushima is an Akira Kurosawa movie made video game.
This Friday it was the turn of Ghost of Tsushima, the study samurai adventure Sucker Punch who landed as a flourish and is positioned as one of the candidates to obtain the award Game of the Year (Game of the year) delivered in December in the United States.
Ghost of Tsushima is a great proposal of the video game genre in open world in which the player embodies the samurai Jin Sakai on a path of revenge and redemption against the invasion of the Mongol Empire, in feudal Japan of 1274.
To fulfill his objective, the player must perform a series of main missions -which are divided into three chapters-, many others high schools to get special weapons and armor. An already classic scheme for these games.
At the same time we will be able to explore the island of Tsushima, its temples, villas and forts accompanied by visual art that surprises at every moment.
All tinted with a “Kurosawa mode”, referring to the famous Japanese film director, who even allows you to play the entire experience in black and white.
Clarion spoke to Jason Connell, who serves as Creative and Artistic Director at Sucker Punch Productions, in charge of the art of Ghost of Tsushima.
—In Ghost of Tsushima we can see a lot of Akira Kurosawa’s cinema and Japanese art, how did it influence the video game?
—Without a doubt the black and white mode is the most connected… In fact it is called Kurosawa mode and that is because it is a tribute to inspirations. But also in actions. In duels, in many duels. In these movies, not only Kurosawa’s, but generally in samurai movies there is the idea of two people fighting each other, staring at each other, and this tension in the air and discharges … in one fell swoop. Clashes and duels were part of that too.
Ghost of Tsushima features a black and white display mode that evokes samurai movies from Japanese filmmaker Akira Kurosawa.
—What is the work routine like, day to day, in such a great video game?
“Well, it changes a lot over the years.” At first it’s just shape it to the general idea, what it would be like to make a game that is a samurai fantasy, a wandering samurai on a quest in Japan. An exploration. A very general idea. And then as you go further and further in the project, it has less and less to do with the overall idea, and it has more to do with making sure the game features. The quality and power of what we want. So it’s more (confusing) and making sure it gets to port exactly as we expect.
For many of us, the best game we created in our entire career
—And what obstacles did you encounter during the creative process?
“Well, all kinds of obstacles we run into every day.” “Oh, technology doesn’t allow us to do this.” So we have to change the technology. Or creative struggles such as disagreements about which path we should take. But it is all part of the process. I think the most important challenges we face are cultural issues. Understand Japanese culture and hire consultants to guide us in working with Japanese localization teams, to review the scripts and give us feedback in our game, the way we speak, knowing that we have mannerisms, make them feel faithful and respectful.
Ghost of Tsushima art was provided by Jason Connell, Creative and Artistic Director at Sucker Punch.
“Did Sucker Punch ever hesitate to make an open world game?”
I do not. I like open world games, but not all. I like open world games that give you the freedom to do whatever you want and give you the feeling of space and give you time to think for yourself. Because I always wanted to create something like that. Personally, and I think our team too, we wanted to create a feudal Japan that had an incredible sense of beauty, that you could lose yourself in that and enjoy nature and light and go into photographer mode, and enjoy it. And listen to the music before reaching the next combat encounter. Create a world where you can climb mountains and find secrets, while enjoying a beautiful landscape. It was always an important ambition.
Rashomon (1950), one of Akira Kurosawa’s films: the Japanese director is present in the art of the game. (AP)
—They did a great job with the Infamous saga, what resources will gamers find in Ghost of Tushima?
—I think one feels the presence of Infamous when playing this video game, and in fact this is how many Sucker Punch games are: it leaves you feeling that it is easy to control. Controls are fluid, and we are very proud of that. I think it is a strong part of our study. It’s great fun moving around in an environment, whether you’re a superhero with superpowers, or a samurai in feudal Japan, riding a horse. I think the other thing is the artistic technology that we have, like particle effects. In Infamous it was something important since there were superhero powers and things that flew everywhere.
We wanted to craft a feudal Japan that had an incredible sense of beauty
─And how does this logic work in this game?
─In Ghost of Tushima is used more for environmental power: the falling leaves, the wind passing through the trees, the long grass shaken by the wind. The effects of different types of rain, snow, these types of effects are generated with technology that we build at Infamous.
Ghost of Tsushima. Samurai, swords and lots of action in feudal Japan from the early 1200s.
—After The Last of Us Part 2, do you think Ghost of Tushima can win the award for the best game of the year?
– (exclaims a smile) I think there is so much space for so many different types of games. Our goal is always create something that we are so incredibly proud of as a study, and I think we did it. We left the game having created something that is by far the best game we have created in Sucker Punch. For many of us, the best game we created in our entire career. And there are different demographics. Our game speaks to a demographic of people who want to play in the open world of samurai in feudal Japan. It has great beauty, it is one of the central pillars of the game, enhancing beauty, and I think that will attract a lot of people, without a doubt.
—For the one who just started with Ghost of Tsushima and doesn’t want spoilers, can we dream of a sequel?
“Right now we are so focused on promoting the game that gamers can enjoy it at home. I was so focused on this that thinking about what’s next is difficult. I really want to see what the world thinks about this, and really I am very excited that this gets into the hands of the peopleWe worked so long on this, my head has been there all this time until now.
Ghost of Tsushima.
“What will be Jason Conell’s next project?”
─I don’t know what the next project is going to be, but I am very proud of the beautyI am very proud of the wind, of the mechanics, very proud of the samurai fantasy, and to work in our collaborative efforts with Japanese colleagues. That has been incredibly rewarding. And I hope that any game you make in the future will be as rewarding as this one.
“Maybe a vacation?”
“Yes, that too, is going to happen.”