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IGN: The Unforgettable Ghost of Tsushima Opening That Almost Wasn't

IbizaPocholo

NeoGAFs Kent Brockman

Ghost of Tsushima introduced players to the story of Jin Sakai, a trained samurai defending his home against Mongol invaders using unconventional means. The PS4/PS5 open-world adventure from Sucker Punch was hailed by its audience, and among its many notable achievements was its opening title card sequence, commonly referenced in discussions about Ghost of Tsushima's artistry.

But were it not for a simple piece of feedback, that beloved moment in Ghost of Tsushima which has brought streamers to tears wouldn't have existed the way it does. We spoke to members of the Sucker Punch team, and the PlayStation executive who offered the feedback that inspired them, on how Ghost of Tsushima's beautiful title sequence came to be. Ahead of the Ghost of Tsushima: Director's Cut launch, learn from the developers themselves about the title card's surprising development process, how it affected Ghost of Tsushima's broader opening, and how everything came together into the magical moment that introduces Ghost's open world to players. This is Art of the Level.
 

Topher

Gold Member
Sucker Punch really leveled up with GoT. I couldn't care less if they never went back to Infamous.

Adam Devine Hbo GIF by The Righteous Gemstones
 

RoadHazard

Gold Member
Such a good opening, such a good game. I didn't play it until the PS5 version was released, but it's my favorite Sony exclusive of the entire PS4 generation I think, or at the very least in the top 3. It gave me a similar level of open world joy as Spider-Man and BotW, and I liked it much more than Horizon.
 
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BennyBlanco

aka IMurRIVAL69
I agree. I think it’s the setting too. We were just discussing open world fatigue somewhere in another thread and it’s a tough thing to do right. But the world setting striking the right cord helps.

Yea but after the opening they fell into the same traps as every ubisoft game does. Everything is just stretched too thin over a dead (but pretty) open world. I kinda wanna go back and see the multiplayer stuff but the main game just got too boring and samey.
 

FrankWza

Member
Yea but after the opening they fell into the same traps as every ubisoft game does. Everything is just stretched too thin over a dead (but pretty) open world. I kinda wanna go back and see the multiplayer stuff but the main game just got too boring and samey.
I can see that if you frequently play open world games. I don’t so that could be why it didn’t for me. Back when HZD came out I had been playing more open world games and it soured me on the whole thing. I didn’t enjoy it much. Open world is tricky nowadays. It’s tough to separate yourself but I loved the samurai setting of GoT and I think that helped my experience.
Also I stopped playing AC many releases back.
 
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RoadHazard

Gold Member
Yea but after the opening they fell into the same traps as every ubisoft game does. Everything is just stretched too thin over a dead (but pretty) open world. I kinda wanna go back and see the multiplayer stuff but the main game just got too boring and samey.

I really don't agree. I've certainly felt that in other games (it's why I haven't played an AC since IV), but with GoT I never felt that overload of meaningless chores. Most of the side content actually felt worth doing. Especially the great side stories (which were very well integrated into the main story), but I also actually enjoyed clearing out camps, cutting bamboo, and platforming up to the Shinto shrines. Sure, the fox dens and haikus got a bit old after the first ten or so, but they are very quickly done away with and give you meaningful rewards (well, maybe not the haikus), and I just naturally came across and did most of them during my main playthrough. Clearing out what was left to get to 100% after beating the story was a breeze (I did everything both in the main game and Iki), especially with the instant fast travel in the PS5 version.

But part of it is also that, like with Spider-Man and BotW, it just feels great to move around in the world, the gameplay is very polished, and there's minimal open world jank.
 
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RoadHazard

Gold Member
Same, they would have to greatly reboot it with different characters, settings, writers for me to be happy about them revisiting it

That's exactly what they did with Second Son. Unfortunately it was a step back from Infamous 2 in most other ways. Still a great looking game though.
 

A.Romero

Member
Probably an unpopular opinion, but I thought the Ghosts of Tsushima didn't really convey the brutality of the Mongol invasion as well as they could have in the open world.
Don't know much about it but I thought it captured the horrors of war well enough. A lot of the side stories are filled with tragedy like Norio's ending.

Also they showed a lot of corpses bloodied and burned.
 

assurdum

Member
Are the dialogue and the cutscene still unskippable? Game is fun to replay but rewatch all the story is a torture.
 
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EDMIX

Member
Probably an unpopular opinion, but I thought the Ghosts of Tsushima didn't really convey the brutality of the Mongol invasion as well as they could have in the open world.

Agreed. Reading about this event and playing the game shows a massive disconnect. Its even more odd cause the game is already rated M and its not as if Sony is a publisher scared of that level of violence as I'd argue they are more open to allowing that kind of thing to push the medium. I feel it was a miss opportunity and it feels like history on training wheels on a Saturday morning cartoon show. I don't know what they were going for tbh.

Don't know much about it but I thought it captured the horrors of war well enough. A lot of the side stories are filled with tragedy like Norio's ending.

Also they showed a lot of corpses bloodied and burned.

Trust me when I'm telling you this, that event was so disturbing, the game could pass as a cartoon show with like 2 changes. I simply can't honestly say they captured that event well considering many games exist that truly show the brutality of man.

We are talking about an event with children killed, raped, people beheaded, dismembered in all sorts of ways. The game literally has a Mongol's um "screaming" at people they capture in this weird way, as if they don't want to take the narrative of the game far enough to show anything in terms of what would be done to those people.... So the things done to by the Mongol's during this time, was not conveyed in this game.

They choose the training wheels cartoon show route on this one and its one of the many reasons why gaming is even seen so lessor to other mediums.
 
Yeah, I remember the opening running on a PS4 OG and just going "yep, this hardware is way too old."

Everything past that was as buttery smooth as possible running on old hardware though, as the Sucker Gods intended.
 
Probably an unpopular opinion, but I thought the Ghosts of Tsushima didn't really convey the brutality of the Mongol invasion as well as they could have in the open world.

Not at all. I thought the mongols were a bunch of dumbasses in the game and they felt too gamey/eh. I never felt a threat against them. The straw hats you fight tho. Now that was tough.
 

Thirty7ven

Sony make cringe trainers.
They need to be careful with the sequel, give them the time and resources to make a worthy one and not go the Ubisoft sequel route.
 

shamo42

Member
Probably an unpopular opinion, but I thought the Ghosts of Tsushima didn't really convey the brutality of the Mongol invasion as well as they could have in the open world.
So far I've encountered

  • piles of burned bodies, probably burned alive
  • severed heads on spikes
  • people used for archery practice
  • suicide
  • implied rape

and I'm just halfway done with the game.
 
Yea but after the opening they fell into the same traps as every ubisoft game does. Everything is just stretched too thin over a dead (but pretty) open world. I kinda wanna go back and see the multiplayer stuff but the main game just got too boring and samey.
I think one of the major problems is that they added too many of the same side quest objectives especially like Fox shrines and a yellow birds. There should have been maybe only one or two of these per island so they would be more surprising and wouldn't get old.

The bamboo strikes and Haiku's are good to have a lot of though. As each Haiku is different enough from the last and the bamboo strikes get progressively harder.

All of the actual side storylines were excellent though. Something that no Ubisoft game is capable of doing.

And of course the world is incredible looking.
 

A.Romero

Member
Agreed. Reading about this event and playing the game shows a massive disconnect. Its even more odd cause the game is already rated M and its not as if Sony is a publisher scared of that level of violence as I'd argue they are more open to allowing that kind of thing to push the medium. I feel it was a miss opportunity and it feels like history on training wheels on a Saturday morning cartoon show. I don't know what they were going for tbh.



Trust me when I'm telling you this, that event was so disturbing, the game could pass as a cartoon show with like 2 changes. I simply can't honestly say they captured that event well considering many games exist that truly show the brutality of man.

We are talking about an event with children killed, raped, people beheaded, dismembered in all sorts of ways. The game literally has a Mongol's um "screaming" at people they capture in this weird way, as if they don't want to take the narrative of the game far enough to show anything in terms of what would be done to those people.... So the things done to by the Mongol's during this time, was not conveyed in this game.

They choose the training wheels cartoon show route on this one and its one of the many reasons why gaming is even seen so lessor to other mediums.
What game do you think captures the horrors of war well? (I mean in the AAA space)
I think one of the major problems is that they added too many of the same side quest objectives especially like Fox shrines and a yellow birds. There should have been maybe only one or two of these per island so they would be more surprising and wouldn't get old.

The bamboo strikes and Haiku's are good to have a lot of though. As each Haiku is different enough from the last and the bamboo strikes get progressively harder.

All of the actual side storylines were excellent though. Something that no Ubisoft game is capable of doing.

And of course the world is incredible looking.
I just got the trophy for getting all that stuff last night. It was annoying because there is an onsen and a haiku that don't show on the map.

I also found the fox dens excessive.

My favorite part were the side quests as well. Great way to make a repetitive task seem different.
 

EDMIX

Member
What game do you think captures the horrors of war well? (I mean in the AAA space)

I just got the trophy for getting all that stuff last night. It was annoying because there is an onsen and a haiku that don't show on the map.

I also found the fox dens excessive.

My favorite part were the side quests as well. Great way to make a repetitive task seem different.

Not many tbh. The Last Of Us and Red Dead Redemption series gets very close in terms of the level of violence.

This medium in general seems to stuck in this fisher price area where artist are scared to actually use this medium to express those ideas.

Shows, books , films etc have all captured those ideas better then games cause they actually dare to go that far and that raw. There is no excuse, we are also talking about a medium where some of these titles can go into hundreds of hours and actually capture those ideas THE BEST compared to other mediums.

So long as we keep calling it "gaming" and keep making sound like its lessor and should be treated with kid gloves, you'll see people look down on the medium and I can't even disagree with them. Who is really fucking suggesting someone play this game to get a good understanding of this event vs a book, film etc that ACTUALLY really fucking states what occurred?

So when we get an American History X, Cape Fear, The Grey Zone, Straw Dogs, Because Of The Cats.....Rashomon etc level of content in a "game" then we can get that proper telling of this event, until then....we'll continue to see this training wheels, fisher price type content where a game rated M, is acting as if its a Teen, PG 13 light hearted cartoon. The fact that the fucking game has a black and white mode named after a legendary director, yet fail to even make the game's theme even fit Rashomon despite wide spread rape happening during the Mongol invasion is hilariously tone deaf. The irony of being a game made in 2020 failing to even meet the dark theme of a fucking 1950's film....

This is where we are at with the medium and though we have progressed greatly with technology, we haven't moved that far in terms of subject matter.
 

Dream-Knife

Member
I agree. I think it’s the setting too. We were just discussing open world fatigue somewhere in another thread and it’s a tough thing to do right. But the world setting striking the right cord helps.
Funny enough, it was this game that made me tired of open world games. I enjoyed what I played, but it was too much IMO.
 

Represent.

Gold Member
Not many tbh. The Last Of Us and Red Dead Redemption series gets very close in terms of the level of violence.

This medium in general seems to stuck in this fisher price area where artist are scared to actually use this medium to express those ideas.

Shows, books , films etc have all captured those ideas better then games cause they actually dare to go that far and that raw. There is no excuse, we are also talking about a medium where some of these titles can go into hundreds of hours and actually capture those ideas THE BEST compared to other mediums.

So long as we keep calling it "gaming" and keep making sound like its lessor and should be treated with kid gloves, you'll see people look down on the medium and I can't even disagree with them. Who is really fucking suggesting someone play this game to get a good understanding of this event vs a book, film etc that ACTUALLY really fucking states what occurred?

So when we get an American History X, Cape Fear, The Grey Zone, Straw Dogs, Because Of The Cats.....Rashomon etc level of content in a "game" then we can get that proper telling of this event, until then....we'll continue to see this training wheels, fisher price type content where a game rated M, is acting as if its a Teen, PG 13 light hearted cartoon. The fact that the fucking game has a black and white mode named after a legendary director, yet fail to even make the game's theme even fit Rashomon despite wide spread rape happening during the Mongol invasion is hilariously tone deaf. The irony of being a game made in 2020 failing to even meet the dark theme of a fucking 1950's film....

This is where we are at with the medium and though we have progressed greatly with technology, we haven't moved that far in terms of subject matter.
PREACHHHH.

Finally someone that gets it. Im so fucking *sick* of people acting like this medium is tapped out, or that stories in game dont matter, or that presentation/production values dont matter. Or that all a game needs its good combat and its great. Where are the games focusing on the true tragedies mankind is capable of? Why is sex still so taboo in fucking games? When the fuck will the writing mature? People that think The Last of Us Part II was too dark and depressing, too violent, why did they kill joel, etc, are a fucking plague to the medium.

Shut the FUCK up with all of that.

Gaming has so much untapped potential. But the average gamer is too easily impressed by shitty writing, and doesnt value games that try to push the medium forward in areas that other games arent.

People want the same old cookie cutter bullshit with no substance. I feel like Neil Druckmann is the only director in the AAA space with fucking balls to make a game DARK. Ghosts of Tsushima.. Im playing it right now for the first time. Its alright, could have been much more special with a darker tone and a focus on the true horrors of war.

But no one in this industry has fucking vision or balls.
 
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