Ghost of Tsushima Highly Praised by Yakuza's Toshihiro Nagoshi on Seganama (Update)

Toshihiro Nagoshi congratulated everyone who worked on Ghost of Tsushima, commenting on various aspects of the PS4 exclusive by Sucker Punch.

July 28, 2020

This month’s SegaNama had Toshihiro Nagoshi share his feelings on Ghost of Tsushima, the newest Wa Japan-themed PlayStation AAA exclusive from the west. He was asked about the game through a fan letter, in the usual “Ask Nagoshi anything” corner always included in these streams. You can hear him starting the 1:09:48 mark linked right there, for about 6 minutes. We translated what he said below as well.

Update: The original stream was removed and replaced by a slightly edited version. This often happens with SegaNama. The Ghost of Tsushima talk now starts at the 57:50 timestamp linked below:

Toshihiro Nagoshi: “We definitely lost to them. I think it’s a game that definitely should have been made by Japanese people, but I heard they did a monstrous job collecting data and everything. There’s also the Kurosawa Mode, showing how they tried to pursue an artistic movie feel with the game overall. It’s the kind of work made by non-Japanese people that makes you feel they’re even more Japanese than us. I think it’s amazing. We often believe Western people would never get certain Japanese things, but the game shows this way of thinking is wrong in the first place.”

SegaNama MC Ayana Tsubaki added it’s true some Japanese people tend to think that non-Japanese people all believe Japan is: harakiri, samurai, ninja, and nothing else. Playing Ghost of Tsushima shows this is wrong. I’d personally add a lot of people outside Japan do adulate Japan this way, but this way of thinking is on the decline on some places. When it comes to my own home country, France, this kind of thinking has greatly receded these past years. Trends like Vlogging, which could easily spread those misconceptions, interestingly contributed to debunking this. In particular, there are many non-white French YouTubers in Japan who showed the younger YouTube generation that  Japan isn’t some dream anime country, but is just like any other place. With its share of discrimination and problems.

Toshihiro Nagoshi then continued: “The game also has a lot of innovative elements, like how it uses wind really well. I’m sure they worked tremendously hard on all these things too, and it fits the story. It’s amazing. It became the fastest selling new PlayStation IP too. I knew it would sell a lot. But I was wondering whether it’d sell that much or not. Because similar looking games recently released like Sekiro, and some could think they don’t need Ghost of Tsushima anymore.”

Lastly, Nagoshi praised the motion capture for the characters, and the general movie direction and expressiveness of Ghost of Tsushima.

Toshihiro Nagoshi stressed out how the developers didn’t stick with simply doing motion capture work, but also focused on the direction and expressions. He can tell a lot of thoughts and time were put behind it. He most notably said Ghost of Tsushima‘s protagonist, Jin Sakai (voiced by COOL seiyuu Kazuya Nakai in Japanese) doesn’t look particularly cool at first glance. And how “I’m sure in any other company, if the designers showed up with his artwork, it would have got rejected (laughs).” He added what makes it work is how “so many different people put in so much effort” in the game, to bring this “old-looking guy” to life.

Ayana Tsubaki mentioned in particular how the foxes in Ghost of Tsushima went viral on Japanese Twitter. The SegaNama duo said when it comes to Jin’s reactions to Iinari Shrines and foxes, these are the type of things which fit the era the game is taking place well. And these are the types of things some Japanese people nowadays actually don’t know much about.

Nagoshi ended by saying Sucker Punch was courageous to try and make a game set in this era and managed to pull it off pretty well. Toshihiro Nagoshi directly and wholeheartedly congratulated everyone who worked on Ghost of Tsushima.

Personally speaking, I have yet to play Ghost of Tsushima, so I don’t have a particular opinion on the game’s content. I’m not surprised Nagoshi liked it this much though. I don’t like generalizations, but Japanese developers tend to love western-made open-world games like these.

SegaNama is a monthly live stream with Sega Chief Creative Officer Toshihiro Nagoshi and MC Ayana Tsubaki, sharing news on Sega games, chatting and commenting on subjects bought up by viewers. We systematically cover SegaNama streams on DualShockers. You can read about the May stream here. We skipped the June 2020 one though as time didn’t permit us to summarize it and nothing hugely important happened on it either.

Ghost of Tsushima is a PS4 exclusive. Yakuza: Like a Dragon is coming to PS4, Xbox One, and PC in November. The game will be out on PS5 too at some point, and on Xbox Series X.

As a side note, if you’re into Puyo Puyo, you should check out the corner at the 38:15 mark of the stream, with Puyo Puyo Series Producer Hosoyamada.

Iyane Agossah

Living near Paris, Iyane (He/Him) is the head of Japanese content at DualShockers. He speaks Japanese, has been loving anime and Japanese games for over 25 years and plays Genshin Impact for its story and exploration. You can reach him on Twitter at @A_iyane07.

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