Ghost of Tsushima E3 2018 First Look: Mud, Blood and Tempered Steel

While it was great to get more details on The Last of Us 2 and Spider-Man, the game that captured my attention the most at Sony’s E3 Conference was none other than Sucker Punch’s Ghost of Tsushima. The slice of gameplay showcased that night looked stunning, from the dynamic environments that reacted to every footstep of the wandering Ronin and his horse to the raw power and precision that was on display every time this character drew his blade. With a notebook of questions in hand, it was time to get more details on the project from Sucker Punch’s Brian Fleming.

Ghost of Tsushima E3 2018 Hands-Off Preview: Mud, Blood and Tempered Steel 1
Ghost of Tsushima – E3 2018 Preview Images courtesy of Sony

The behind closed doors appointment started with Fleming taking a room full of journos and influencers through the E3 demo again, this time with photo mode enabled so we could slow down the action and get right up close with the protagonist, Jin Sakai. Fleming described that the core three tenants of Ghost going forward into its development were mud, blood, and steel. Hearing those three simple words, it was easy to understand the tone the studio is aiming for. After just one encounter with three enemies, Jin was covered from head to toe in dirt and grime, his enemies were cut to bloody pieces and his now blood soaked katana still shined just as brightly as when Jin had first drawn it.

Because this is a Sucker Punch project, I had to ask about the karma system. Would it return? Can players mould Jin’s personality and turn him down a less honourable path? No. Sucker Punch is dedicated to making Ghost of Tsushima with a set in stone character and I couldn’t be happier. Despite only seeing Jin in action for less than ten minutes, viewers can really get a handle of his personality. He feels just like a samurai straight out of a timeless Kurosawa film, like Seven Samurai or The Hidden Fortress. Jin is stoic, honourable, and hardened from a life of battle, but it’s the extra detail that Fleming shared with us—Jin is on the run and seemingly can’t be killed by the Mongol invaders—that brought all the elements together and sold me on this wanderer. The last detail I know some people will appreciate is that this demo also confirmed that there will be a Japanese voice track. While it wasn’t subtitled for the appointment, just hearing Jin’s true voice brought another layer of authenticity to the experience and will definitely be how I personally play the game upon release.

Ghost of Tsushima E3 2018 Hands-Off Preview: Mud, Blood and Tempered Steel 2
Ghost of Tsushima – E3 2018 Preview Images courtesy of Sony

Sadly, there weren’t many more details to extract from Fleming’s mind. The game is in full production mode, the emotional scenes we witnessed were only part of Masako, the female samurai’s, line of side quests, and despite the game’s wintery looking box-art, Ghost of Tsushima is apparently set entirely during the Fall season of the Mongolian Invasion of Japan in 1274. The last question I asked was if Jin would be able to use a more diverse array of weapons, but like many of the other questions that were asked, we’re just going to have to wait patiently for more details to be announced.

Ghost of Tsushima is shaping up to be a very exciting exclusive for PlayStation 4 users, yet I wonder if it has the strength to stand out from the pack. With the announcement of Nioh 2 and Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice coming out of this year’s E3, the market is quickly getting saturated with samurai-themed action games. While From Software and Tecmo Koei are experienced in their respective styles of difficult combat, I’m looking forward to a refreshing and new combat system from the studio that brought us the Infamous franchise.

Ghost of Tsushima E3 2018 Hands-Off Preview: Mud, Blood and Tempered Steel 3
Ghost of Tsushima – E3 2018 Preview Images courtesy of Sony

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