During a live panel form PlayStation Experience in Anaheim, California, Sucker Punch provided more information about Ghost of Tsushima.
Creative Director Nate Fox, Art Director Jason Connell, Animation Director Billy Harper, and Associate Producer Ryuhei Katami were on stage to talk about the game.
First of all, we heard that the trailer we saw at Paris Games Week was made in-house at Sucker Punch, so all the locations in it are actually part of the game.
According to Harper, the biggest challenge in creating a trailer is to find “the voice of the world” and in this case, this meant finding the voice of the Mongol Khan.
There is a team in Japan that helped a “huge deal” with the trailer and made sure that the representation was respectful of Japanese culture. Katami-san mentioned something that was removed but did not specify what it was.
That being said, every single shot in the video was very intentional. For instance, the first shot depicts an incoming storm, and that’s a sign of things to come.
For the trailer, Sucker Punch actually performed motion capture of live horses. Four horses were involved in the shoot, and there were three people following them around to pick up the mocap markers falling off their coat.
This actually wasn’t just a one-off experiment. It was a test to see if it was possible to do it for the game. Turns out that it is, so Sucker Punch is continuing to work on it.
Below we can also see some notes on how the protagonist appeared in the trailer, compared to the storyboard.
The reason why Sucker Punch moved away from inFamous and created something completely different is that they have done something for a long time, and they wanted to try something else. It was a “huge risk,” but according to Harper it was “so worth it.”
Connell mentioned that “The whole studio kind of lit up” when the project was launched, and a lot was done in a single month of pre-production because everyone was creatively excited.
Fox explained that there is something to learn every day while making the game, as they’re trying to recreate a place in a foreign country in a past era. Katami-san himself added that he’s learning as well despite being Japanese, given that Tsushima is a rather obscure place even in Japan.
Connell loves samurai movies, and many of them are set during the Edo period. The reference material for costumes and characters for that era is awesome, which makes him very excited to work on it.
The game is inspired by the time period and historical reality, but it’s still an original story set in Sucker Punch’s version of that world. It’s not a “historical simulation,” so there are fictional characters and events, but it’s still important to capture the tone of the era.
Below you can see some new concept art, which looks absolutely fantastic.
The team went to Tsushima twice with two different groups of developers. The second time, it was during a festival commemorating the Mongol invasion, and that was an “amazing experience” according to Harper. They even visited a local high school to see historical Mongol artifacts.
During the trip, they met by chance Nagamasa Sou, who is the direct descendant of the Sou clan, that governed the island during the invasion. Sou-san gave Harper his business card, and Harper politely provided his own as well (as is customary in Japan). Below you can see the newspaper clipping from the local newspaper Tsushima Shinbun, that actually published the business card and details about the visit, risking to leak the game.
Harper thought for a moment that he’d lose his job, and Fox describes it as the “freak-out moment” at Sucker Punch, but luckily no one else picked the news up. The much-feared leak mentioned yesterday by Shuhei Yoshida did not happen.
In the gallery just below, you can check out some of the reference photos taken by the teams during the aforementioned trips.
The team is collaborating with many people outside of the studio, providing help in several fields. This includes an expert in Buddhism and Shinto.
The mon (family crest) in the logo of the game is actually fictional. It was selected among a few different options designed by Connell, while Katami-san made sure that it was the most authentic and believable for the time period, and matched the mountains of Tsushima. It’s the family crest of “Jin Sakame”. I don’t believe this has been officially confirmed just yet, but this is probably the name of the protagonist.
Interestingly, Nate Fox asked the audience at the end of the panel if they would be interested in playing the game with Japanese dialogue, and the response was overwhelmingly positive. Fox followed up with “noted.” Looks like my wish might actually come true.
If you want to learn more about Ghost of Tsushima, you can check out the first trailer shown at Paris Games Week. You can also read some more info provided yesterday by Shuhei Yoshida.