|Ghost of Tsushima|
|Developer(s)||Sucker Punch Productions|
|Publisher(s)||Sony Interactive Entertainment|
Ghost of Tsushima is a 2020 action-adventure game developed by Sucker Punch Productions and published by Sony Interactive Entertainment. The player controls Jin Sakai, a samurai on a quest to protect Tsushima Island during the first Mongol invasion of Japan. Jin must choose between following the warrior code to fight honorably, or using practical but dishonorable methods of repelling the Mongols with minimal casualties. The game features a large open world which can be explored either on foot or on horseback. When facing enemies, the player can choose to engage in a direct confrontation using Jin's katana or to become a legendary warrior known as "the Ghost" by using stealth tactics to assassinate opponents. A multiplayer mode titled Ghost of Tsushima: Legends was released in October 2020 and made available separately in September 2021.
Sucker Punch began developing the game after the release of Infamous: First Light in 2014, as the studio wanted to move on from the Infamous franchise to create a game with a heavy emphasis on melee combat. The studio collaborated with Japan Studio and visited Tsushima Island twice to ensure that the game was as culturally and historically authentic as possible. The team was heavily inspired by samurai cinema, particularly films directed by Akira Kurosawa, as well as the comic book series Usagi Yojimbo . The game's landscape and minimalistic art style were influenced by Shadow of the Colossus , and locations in the game were designed to be "the perfect photographer's dream". While the in-game landmass is similar in shape to Tsushima Island, the team did not intend to create a one-to-one recreation. Ilan Eshkeri and Shigeru Umebayashi composed the game's soundtrack.
The game was released for PlayStation 4 in July 2020, and an expanded version for PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5, subtitled Director's Cut and featuring the Iki Island expansion, was released in August 2021. The game received positive reviews upon release, with critics praising the game's melee combat, story, characters, performances, and music, though it received some criticism for its implementations of stealth gameplay and open world structure. The game was a commercial success, selling more than 9.73 million copies by July 2022 and was one of Sony's fastest-selling original games. It was nominated for several end-of-the-year awards, including Game of the Year at The Game Awards 2020. A film adaptation is in development as of 2022 [update] .
Ghost of Tsushima is an action-adventure video game played from a third-person perspective. The player has a variety of gameplay options to reach objectives they are given. They can engage in a direct confrontation with enemies using their katana, called a standoff, which can result in a series of fatal strikes against a number of different enemies.  In combat, Jin adopts different combat stances when facing different types of enemies: stone stance for hostile swordsmen; water stance for shielded enemies; wind stance for spearmen; and moon stance for brutes.  Eventually the player unlocks ghost stance, which makes Jin invincible and allows him to kill enemies with a single hit for a limited period of time. To activate ghost stance, players must kill a number of enemies without taking any damage or assassinate a Mongol leader.  The player needs to stagger enemies or land a successful parry to break their defense before attacking to deplete their health.  The player has access to bows, which can fire multiple types of arrows. At certain points in the game, Jin must duel against non-playable characters (NPCs) who act as bosses with unique offensive tactics and attack animations.  The game's highest difficulty is a more realistic mode in which the player and enemies do large amounts of damage to each other, with all non-boss fights ending in one or two successful attacks. 
Alternatively, using stealth allows the player to evade enemies and strike them silently. As the player progresses in the game they can unlock chained assassination, which allows Jin to strike several enemies consecutively. To this end, Jin has a large arsenal of ghost weapons. These include firecrackers and wind chime bells to create distractions, smoke bombs to disorient alerted foes, kunai for striking multiple enemies, and explosives to kill groups of enemies.  Players will eventually unlock a blowgun that allows them to shoot poison darts and causes victims to hallucinate and attack their peers.  When the player restores Jin's health or uses special combat techniques, they deplete their "resolve", which is gained by performing feats of finesse such as assassinating or parrying an enemy. 
The game features a large open world which can be explored with or without guidance based on wind direction.  The three islands of Tsushima are unlocked gradually as the player progresses. The island of Izuhara is unlocked first, followed by Totoyama and Kamiagata.  Players travel to different parts of Tsushima on horseback and can use an item that acts as a grappling hook to access difficult-to-reach areas.  As the player explores the world, yellow birds will guide Jin to locations of interest. These include hot springs which increase Jin's maximum health, "Bamboo Strikes" which increase Jin's maximum resolve upon completion, "Pillars of Honor" which contain additional cosmetic designs for Jin's weapons and armor, and locations in which Jin will meditate and compose haiku. [lower-alpha 1] By following torii gates and completing a platforming challenge, the player will find Shinto shrines and unlock charms that grant the player passive perks such as decreasing damage taken, reducing enemy detection speed, and increasing how much health is recovered when healing.   Foxes will also lead Jin to Inari shrines, which increase the number of charms Jin can equip. 
The game features side quests and NPCs with whom the player can interact.  Players can also liberate Mongol-controlled villages and camps by eliminating all the enemies stationed in the area. Combat stances are unlocked after Jin observes or kills Mongol leaders.  Completing side quests or helping NPCs grants players minor charms  and gifts which can be collected at altars.  In particular, completing "Mythic Tale" side quests will unlock unique armors and special combat techniques.  Each armor set has different properties that provide various benefits during combat. Most sets of armor and clothing can be upgraded by collecting materials found in the game's world. Jin's appearance can also be further customized with masks, helmets and headbands. 
A multiplayer mode titled Ghost of Tsushima: Legends was released in late 2020. Players can access this mode from the menu or by reaching the NPC Gyozen the Storyteller in the single-player campaign, which will transport the player to Legends multiplayer lobby. Unlike the single-player campaign, Legends is based on Japanese mythology, featuring otherworldly realms and supernatural enemies. Legends features four classes: The samurai is the group's tank character who can deal and sustain a large amount of damage, the hunter is the group's sniper who specializes at using ranged weapons such as bows and arrows, the rōnin has the ability to summon dogs to aid combat and revives the group, and the assassin can deal a massive amount of damage with one attack and has the "Shadow Strike" ability which allows them to teleport short distances.  As the player plays more matches and progresses in the game, they will earn "rank" which allows them to unlock class-specific upgrades and cosmetic items. A player's combat performance is dictated by the "Ki" level of their gear. The higher the player's overall "Ki" level, the more lethal they are, making them better at completing missions with higher difficulty levels.  Legends features a variety of game modes:
The protagonist Jin Sakai (Daisuke Tsuji / Kazuya Nakai) is the head and sole remaining member of Clan Sakai and a samurai warrior. He is the nephew and ward of Lord Shimura (Eric Steinberg / Akio Ōtsuka), the jitō of Tsushima. He meets several friends and companions, including a thief named Yuna (Sumalee Montano / Yu Mizuno), her blacksmith brother Taka (Eddie Shin / Kappei Yamaguchi), a female warrior named Lady Masako Adachi (Lauren Tom / Mabuki Ando), renowned Kyūdō archer Sensei Sadanobu Ishikawa (François Chau / Shigeru Chiba), merchant and con artist Kenji (James Hiroyuki Liao / Setsuji Sato), Buddhist warrior monk Norio (Earl T. Kim / Mitsuaki Kanuka), Clan Sakai's elderly caretaker Yuriko (Karen Huie / Yuri Tabata), and Jin's childhood friend and leader of the infamous Straw Hat rōnin, Ryuzo (Leonard Wu / Youhei Tadano). The main antagonist is the ruthless and cunning General Khotun Khan of the Mongol Empire (Patrick Gallagher / Tsutomu Isobe), cousin of Kublai Khan, grandson of Genghis Khan.
In 1274, a Mongol fleet led by Khotun Khan invades the Japanese island of Tsushima. Local samurai Lord Jin Sakai and his uncle Lord Shimura lead the island’s samurai in an attempt to repel the invaders. However, the battle ends in disaster with the samurai killed, Shimura captured, and Jin severely wounded and left for dead. He is found and revived by Yuna, a thief, who informs him that the island has fallen to the invaders. Jin storms Khotun's stronghold at Castle Kaneda in an attempt to rescue Shimura, but is defeated by Khotun in combat and thrown off of the castle bridge.
Realizing he cannot defeat the Mongols alone or with traditional samurai tactics, Jin travels around the island to recruit allies and learns guerilla warfare. He recruits Yuna, her blacksmith brother Taka, sake merchant Kenji, master archer Sadanobu Ishikawa, female samurai Masako Adachi, and his mercenary friend Ryuzo along with Ryuzo's Straw Hat rōnin. As Jin disrupts Mongol activities and liberates villages across the island, the people begin to refer to him as "The Ghost", a samurai spirit that has risen against the Mongols. Taka crafts a grappling hook for Jin to scale Castle Kaneda’s walls, and Jin attacks the site with his allies. Destitute and starving due to harsh wartime conditions, Ryuzo and the Straw Hats betray Jin to collect the bounty issued on him by Khotun. Jin manages to fend them off, free Shimura, and retake Castle Kaneda. Despite their victory, Khotun has already left to conquer Castle Shimura with Ryuzo.
To retake Castle Shimura, Jin recruits Norio, Norio's warrior monks, and the Yarikawa Clan. He also recruits local pirate Goro on Shimura's behalf to carry a petition for reinforcements and a request to be adopted as his heir to the Shogun. With a new army being assembled, Jin recovers his family's ancestral armor from caretaker Yuriko, who teaches him how to create poison. Under orders from Shimura, Jin and Taka try to infiltrate a fortress where Ryuzo is located but are ambushed and captured by Khotun. When Jin refuses to submit to his rule, Khotun kills Taka. Jin then escapes with Yuna’s help. The Shogun's reinforcements arrive and Shimura leads the assembled army in an assault on Castle Shimura, driving the Mongols into the inner keep. As the Mongols retreat, they detonate explosives on the bridge leading to the inner courtyard, inflicting huge casualties on the advancing samurai.
Knowing that another frontal attack would only result in more losses, Jin decides to infiltrate the keep and sneak poison into the Mongols' airag . He also encounters and kills Ryuzo after he refuses to surrender. However, he again misses Khotun, who has left to campaign further north. Despite the castle being taken without the samurai suffering any further losses, Shimura is furious with Jin, as his actions have severely violated the samurai code of honor. Knowing the Shogun will have Jin executed for insubordination, Shimura urges him to use Yuna as a scapegoat, but Jin refuses and embraces his persona as "The Ghost". Shimura regretfully has Jin arrested for treason. With some help from his remaining allies, Jin manages to escape captivity, but his horse is fatally shot by archers in the process. Jin travels north and learns that the Mongols have learned how to craft his poison, which they intend to use in their assault on the Japanese mainland. Before gathering his allies and assaulting Khotun's final stronghold in Port Izumi, Jin leaves a note for Shimura in his castle asking him to join the effort with the samurai, which he does. With the bulk of the Mongol forces distracted, Jin infiltrates the port and kills Khotun on his flagship.
With Khotun dead, the Mongol invasion loses its momentum and the tide turns in favor of the samurai. Shimura informs Jin that the Shogun considers him a threat to the island's stability and status quo of obedience of the people to their leaders. He states that the Shogun has therefore disbanded Clan Sakai and ordered Shimura to kill Jin. Reminiscing about what they have both lost, Jin and Shimura reluctantly duel each other, with Jin emerging victorious. Jin has the option to either kill Shimura to give him a proper warrior's death or to completely abandon the samurai code and spare his life. Regardless of the decision, Jin becomes the enemy of the Shogun.
Sometime after his duel with Shimura, Jin comes across a community of villagers who have been driven insane by a poison described as "sacred medicine". It was administered to them by a warband of Mongols whom Jin has never previously encountered: members of the Mongolian Eagle Tribe, led by Ankhsar "The Eagle" Khatun (Anzu Lawson). Defeating the warband, Jin learns that Khatun is engaged in a conquest of Iki Island, where his late father Kazumasa had once led an unsuccessful military campaign against the island's raiders. The samurai withdrew from the island after Kazumasa was ambushed and killed by the raiders. Jin was there during the campaign as a boy; he witnessed his father's death and still blames himself for not saving him. Made cognizant of this new threat to Tsushima, Jin sails to Iki Island to stop Khatun and face his past.
A thunderstorm destroys Jin's boat, but he survives and eventually arrives on Iki. Discovering Khatun's base to be his father's former stronghold, Fort Sakai, Jin storms the fort but is subdued and captured by Khatun's second-in-command, Khunbish. He and Khatun force-feed Jin the "sacred medicine" in an attempt to convert him into one of the tribe's shamans. The poison causes Jin to frequently hallucinate visions of Khatun, his deceased father, and many of his past failures. He is rescued by the raider Tenzo, who reluctantly accepts Jin's help and takes him to the raiders' leader, Fune. Jin works with the raiders to weaken Khatun’s hold over the island, eventually retaking Fort Sakai and killing Khunbish. After fending off retaliation by Khatun’s forces, Jin hears Tenzo say "may your death benefit all beings" to a dying Mongol — the same phrase a masked raider spoke to Kazumasa before killing him. Realizing that Tenzo killed his father, Jin nearly kills Tenzo before controlling his anger. He proposes re-enacting the ambush that killed his father in order to lure out Khatun and ultimately kill her. Although suffering from near-continuous hallucinations, Jin overcomes the effects of the "sacred medicine" by acknowledging his father's faults and at last coming to terms with his death. Jin kills Khatun in a duel, turning the tide in the raiders' favor. Jin and Tenzo forgive each other before parting ways.
Ghost of Tsushima was developed by Sucker Punch Productions, which had a staff count of 160 at the time of development.  Development of the game started in 2014 after the studio completed Infamous Second Son and its expansion, First Light . After working on the Infamous series for nine years, the studio believed that it was time to create something new.  During the conceptualizing phase, the studio decided to create an open world game with a heavy emphasis on melee combat. Before deciding on the setting as feudal Japan, Sucker Punch considered various other settings and themes such as pirates, Scottish outlaw Rob Roy MacGregor, and The Three Musketeers. They later found a historical account of the Mongol invasion of Tsushima in 1274 and "the entire vision clicked into place."  In 2020, a prototype for one of Sucker Punch's cancelled projects, Prophecy, was leaked. Set in a steampunk setting, Prophecy featured gameplay elements that were later carried over to Ghost of Tsushima.  Sucker Punch worked on the game for six years, the longest ever for a game developed by the studio.  The game's development was completed on June 22, 2020, with Sucker Punch confirming it had been declared gold, indicating it was being prepared for release.  Nate Fox served as the game director,  while Jason Connell was the creative director and art director.  
The Mongol invasion of Tsushima was chosen as the setting because the conflict was "easy for people to immediately conceptualize". As the Mongols at the time had the world's most advanced military, there were high stakes that required Jin, and therefore the player, to intervene.  To ensure that the game's world was authentic, the team consulted SIE Japan Studio, a fellow Sony game development team, early in the game's development. Japan Studio was excited about the idea and helped fly approximately 10 members of Sucker Punch to Japan and Tsushima Island for a 10- or 11-day guided tour with a historian.  The team visited Japan twice to research Tsushima, once during the summer and again in November, during the anniversary of the invasion.    Japan Studio also helped connect Sucker Punch with historians who the team consulted on the history of the invasion and local Japanese customs and traditions. Experts on Japanese dialects, religions during the 13th century, and the recreation of 13th century kanji were also consulted.   The team invited Ide Ryusetsu and Kuwami Masakumo Shike, experts from a samurai martial arts school, to perform motion capture for the game and advise the team on sword-fighting.   Seattle-based historical sword fighting expert David Ishimaru was also involved in the creation of the game's combat style.  While the team initially considered introducing real-life historical figures into the game, they refrained from doing so after being told by experts that it would be insensitive.  Jin's samurai armor and katana are not historically accurate, with his armor based on that of the Sengoku period during the 16th and 17th centuries. According to Chris Zimmerman, one of Sucker Punch's cofounders, samurai armor from the 13th century was "jarring looking" and did not align with players' expectations of what samurai armor would look like.  The katana was included in the game since it was considered to be the "quintessential icon of samurai".  One of the game's Japanese localizers also suggested to the developers that the game's "haiku" side quest be replaced with a less anachronistic waka side quest, but this was rejected based on the relative recognizability of haiku outside Japan. 
One of the core objectives of the developers was to have strong and well-developed characters.  Unlike the Infamous games, Ghost of Tsushima does not have a character karma system. Its absence allowed the team to tell a more cohesive story which better reflected Jin's transformation from a honorable samurai to a legendary warrior who must sacrifice everything he knows about honor and tradition in order to save Tsushima. Instead of the player being presented with binary choices as in Infamous, the world and characters react dynamically to Jin's choices in the story, either disapproving of his actions or encouraging them.  The team believed that the story would be relatable, as they considered Jin's journey of relinquishing who he was to "become something new" a universal message that would resonate with modern-day players.  Despite this, the player can still switch between the ghost style and samurai style seamlessly, as Jin's roots as a samurai do not change despite his transformation to become the ghost.  While the game does not have a karma mechanic, the weather in Tsushima Island becomes more stormy when the player uses ghost techniques more frequently.  The game's antagonist, Khotun Khan, does not undergo any transformative change. While he is a ruthless invader, he has a "bureaucratic aspect" as he attempts to conquer Tsushima Island with minimal bloodshed. Patrick Gallagher joined the cast in 2017 and prepared for the role as Khotun Khan by watching The Godfather and drawing on his experience portraying Attila the Hun in Night at the Museum . 
While Fox said that the game was "entirely grounded in reality", the team took the liberty to create a fictional narrative. The initial real-world Mongol invasion was foiled by a hurricane, and the team acknowledged this with Jin's katana which is engraved with storm wind designs.   13 Assassins from Takashi Miike and films directed by Akira Kurosawa such as Seven Samurai , Sanjuro , Yojimbo , Red Beard , and Ran , served as major sources of inspiration for the team.  The ending of Sanjuro directly inspired the game's "standoff" gameplay feature, in which a warrior must wait for their counterpart to make their first move and then kill them with one strike. The team tried to replicate the samurai code depicted in Seven Samurai in the game. Additionally, the team reached out to the Kurosawa Estate in order to use the director's name for their black-and-white gameplay mode.  The comic book series Usagi Yojimbo , which features a soft-mannered rabbit samurai solving various problems for ordinary citizens, also influenced the team. Fox read this comic series when he was working on the Sly Cooper games.   The last name of the game's protagonist was a tribute to Stan Sakai, the creator of Usagi Yojimbo.  A number of video games also inspired the development team: many of the game's items were inspired by Tenchu , while the option to play as both the ghost and an honorable samurai was influenced by Onimusha: Warlords . Karateka and Red Dead Redemption were also cited as sources of inspiration. 
Ghost of Tsushima was designed to be a challenging game. Jin is frequently outnumbered by his enemies, and basic enemies can kill Jin fairly quickly. The team hoped that through the game's difficult combat, players would grow more appreciative of minor incremental growth. Fox stated that the three pillars of the game's combat were "mud, blood, and steel". The team wanted the game to be grounded, visceral and challenging.  Fox added that they strove to keep swordfights deadly so that each combat encounter would be reminiscent of those seen in samurai movies.  The combat system was reportedly the most difficult feature to implement in Ghost of Tsushima, as the team had to build multiple versions of it and modified its design frequently during the game's development.  Early playtesters complained that the enemies were "sword sponge" (i.e., they absorbed a large amount of damage before they died), breaking immersion. The team responded to this criticism by adding "hit points" and "armor points", but ultimately decided that all enemies would be defeated within a certain number of hits. Health of enemies would not change regardless of the selected difficulty. Instead, enemies would adopt more defensive tactics such as parrying and blocking at higher difficulties. Early prototypes of this design was described as overkill, as enemies would deflect all attacks. As a result, the stagger system, which allowed players to break their enemies' defenses while remaining offensive, was introduced. The team allowed combat to take longer in the game's 1v1 duels, as players likely expected them to be boss fights and these encounters could not end too quickly.  The ghost weapons were designed to be "exceedingly lethal" and generally more effective than the samurai weapons. This further complemented the story and Jin's emotional dilemma between maintaining samurai honor and saving the island through dishonorable means. While players may enjoy playing the ghost path, the narrative would remind them that these techniques are dishonorable and loathed.  Fox compared the Mongol enemies to packs of wolves which attacked the players from all sides. He further likened the game's combat to a dance, in which the player must seamlessly "weave between Mongol swords" as multiple enemies attack simultaneously. 
One of the goals of the studio was to create a "beautiful, serene, and nature-filled open world feudal Japan". During the game's reveal at Paris Game Week, Connell went off the script to announce that the game would not feature any waypoint mechanics and that the game's exploration would be primarily driven by the player's curiosity. This announcement was unexpected to the team, and they had to add additional features in order to fulfill Connell's promise.  Sucker Punch strived to ensure that the game had moments of calm in which players can slow down and be fully immersed in the world. This is achieved through having a minimalistic head-up display, nature-guided objectives, and relaxing open world activities that are not tied to progression or the overarching story.   Side-quests in the game were likened to an anthology of stories, and Jin meets characters who are simply trying to survive the brutality of war.   Connell added that ultimately, the studio wanted players to get lost in the team's recreation of feudal Japan.  
The team decided early on that "wind blowing around literally everything in the world" would be Ghost of Tsushima's "visual calling card". This was inspired by early Chanbara samurai films, which often feature movement in the background in the form of dust, smoke and wind. The team took one and a half years to ensure that foliage and other objects would react properly to wind. The team initially added icons and a compass to the game to aid the player's navigation, but they realized they spent an excessive amount of time looking at them and ignored the in-game world itself. The team then decided to use wind to guide players to their objectives, forcing the player to observe the world. The team took about a week to create the feature and spent roughly another year further refining it.   While implementing the feature, they were inspired by Shadow of the Colossus , in which the player is shown the direction of their objectives when they hold up their sword. Connell added that "nature is a symbol for Jin's home", and guidance using wind served as an important tool for players to "connect" with Jin's home. According to Fleming, guiding winds also evoked a feeling that "nature herself is on [the player's] side".  This aligned with real-world history as well, as Mongol forces were decimated by a typhoon that was seen by the Japanese as "divine wind" sent to protect their home.   Many of the game's particle effects and systems were imported from previous Infamous games. 
"The fern forest has tons of ferns. Not a fern and a bush and two trees, it's just "Let's flood it with ferns first, like make that be the big read." And I think that that whether it's pampas grass, or ferns, or gingko trees, or spider lilies, or beech trees—this is a theme we went back to countless times."
—Jason Connell, creative director and art director 
The team did not intend to create a one-to-one recreation of Tsushima Island. While the in-game landmass is geographically the same shape as that of Tsushima Island, Sucker Punch took the liberty of creating the game's individual biomes, ensuring that each region is artistically distinct. This allowed the team to create a unique identity for each area, allowing players to recognize them easily even when viewed from afar.  This is achieved through the use of bold and vibrant colors when modelling nature. The team also chose the dominant foliage in each area and significantly exaggerated its presence, creating "little pockets of massive boldness and beauty".  For instance, the team focused on orange and yellow hues for the trees when they were creating the Golden Forest, one of the game's locations, instead of including all the types of trees that would realistically grow there.  Connell described these locations as one's imagination of what an area would look like and "the perfect photographer's dream".  Fox added that the landscape featured in the in-game island is more diverse than its real-world counterpart,  as the team also incorporated the aesthetics of mainland Japan when they were recreating Tsushima Island. 
According to Fleming, "everything in Japan tends to celebrate negative space". As a result, the team pushed for simplicity from the design of the game's architecture and interiors to the minimalistic HUD.  Connell added that the art and environment teams had a hard time switching to Ghost of Tsushima after working for nine years on the Infamous games, which features a "punk rock" visual style.  Shadow of the Colossus and The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild both inspired the game's minimalistic landscape and aesthetic, though the team strived to have more photorealistic visuals to highlight the game's picturesque setting.  Much of the game was designed to be "serene" and "tranquil" so that it more sharply contrasted with moments of violence throughout the game's combat and story.  The game also features a black-and-white filter mode named "Kurosawa mode" in order to pay tribute to the late director. To design this mode, the team playtested the game repeatedly using features commonly found in accessibility modes designed for colorblind individuals. 
Jin's armors were heavily inspired by the armor designs of the Kamakura and Heian periods. These armors were designed to be bulky and colorful, radiating "a sense of regality" while contrasting with the darker and more agile ghost outfit. The team intentionally avoided the traditional assassin design in which characters are dressed in all-black fully-cloth clothing for the ghost outfit in order to make it appear more realistic. Parts of some outfits, such as capes and tassels, respond to the wind, further connecting the player and Jin to the game's world. Peasant recruits wear leftover armor and have a more ragtag appearance than typical samurai characters. Peasants frequently wear clothes with geometric patterns that reflect their origins. For instance, people living on Northern Tsushima wear clothes with snowflake patterns. The game's antagonist, Khotan Khan, has two armors, one of which is completely void of color and angular in shape to further signify his oppression and brutality.  
Brad Meyer served as the game's audio lead. To record the sound of swordfighting, the team used sword blanks previously used in recording sessions for God of War , which was developed by Santa Monica Studio, another Sony developer. According to Meyer, the team spent a lot of time "scraping them against each other, clanging them together, swinging them, suspending them from the ceiling and spinning them around" in order to record interesting sounds. The team also used them to cut through fruits, vegetables, and cloth to create the sound of a sword cutting through a human body. Combat sounds are deemphasized when the player is exploring and not engaged in combat. Jin's wind chimes were recorded using a Japanese fūrin. The black-naped oriole was chosen as the game's guide bird because it can be found in Japan and Meyer had the opportunity to record its sound during a vacation in Sri Lanka in 2018.  The audio and music system was initially based on that of Infamous Second Son, in which combat music will gradually intensify over three different states. However, due to additional gameplay elements found in Ghost of Tsushima such as ghost stance and standoff, the team was required to create additional states for the combat music. 
British composer Ilan Eshkeri wrote the game's music. Eshkeri extensively researched Japanese musical styles in the 13th century, including Gagaku , Shōmyō Buddhist chanting, and the biwa hōshi .   A group of consultants also helped translate lyrics written in English to Japanese. Eshkeri was approached by the team after they listened to his work on Coriolanus . The team was particularly impressed with how he was able to recreate Japanese music using western instruments. Eshkeri was initially hesitant since he was not familiar with scoring music for fighting games, but he agreed after being briefed on the game's narrative.  Eshkeri learned Japanese scales, played Japanese instruments, and listened to music from Tsushima Island. He also met with Junko Ueda, one of the few surviving musicians who can play a biwa , an instrument used by samurai in the past. It was used in the recording of "The Way of the Ghost", Jin's personal theme.  Several ancient Japanese melodies, including The Tale of the Heike , were also quoted and rearranged by Eshkeri.  However, he deliberately avoided listening to the musical scores of Kurosawa's films in order to keep his music original. The most difficult track for Eshkeri to write was the one for the final battle, as the track needed to be simultaneously action-packed and emotional.  Eshkeri ultimately wrote double the amount of music that was actually needed.  The game also features five musical suites by Japanese composer Shigeru Umebayashi, who was responsible for creating the game's exploration music.   The full soundtrack of the game was released on July 17, 2020. A four-track remix EP titled "Sound of the Storm – Ghost of Tsushima Soundtrack: Reimagined" features contributions from TOKiMONSTA, Tycho, The Glitch Mob and Alessandro Cortini. It was released on July 10, 2022, via Milan Records. 
The game's marketing campaign began in October 2017 when a trailer was shown at Sony Interactive Entertainment's Paris Games Week press conference.  Sony opted not to announce the title too early since many of the game's systems were tentative and subject to change.  A gameplay demo was shown at E3 2018 along with a live shakuhachi performance by Cornelius Boots.  The game was released for PlayStation 4 on July 17, 2020,  having been delayed from its original June 26 release date due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  Sucker Punch announced four editions: standard, digital deluxe, special, and a collector's edition.  Different editions came bundled with different collectors' items as well as in-game items, equipment, and unlocked abilities, in addition to a bonus for pre-ordering the game.  Sony also partnered with the Tourism Board of Tsushima Island and the Nagasaki Prefecture to launch a website that educates readers on the history and culture of the real-life Island.  Art prints, produced by Cook & Becker, were released in November 2020. 
A multiplayer expansion titled Ghost of Tsushima: Legends, was released on October 16, 2020, alongside the addition of a new game plus feature to the base game.   Unlike the main game, Legends features prominent supernatural elements drawn from Japanese mythology.  While Legends was introduced as a post-launch update, Sucker Punch decided early on that some form of cooperative gameplay would be included in the final game. Development of the mode started in 2016, and the studio experimented for six months to a year when designing the multiplayer mode.  The team ultimately chose supernatural elements as the focal point of Legends, which gave the team more creative freedom when they were designing the characters and their abilities. A storyteller character was introduced to tie the mode thematically back to Jin's journey and the world of Tsushima. According to Darren Bridge, the senior game designer leading Legends's development, the visual style of Legends was unrefined until the final nine months of the expansion's development. The final boss fight was also completed relatively late in the game's development, with the team once considering delaying its addition or completely removing it from the game.  In December 2020, Legends introduced four character outfits based on other PlayStation franchises: Bloodborne , God of War, Horizon Zero Dawn , and Shadow of the Colossus.  Legends received a standalone release on September 3, 2021, and was one of the free games offered to PlayStation Plus subscribers in March 2022.  
Sucker Punch released Ghost of Tsushima: Director's Cut on August 20, 2021, for both PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5. The PlayStation 5 version includes exclusive features such as full Japanese lip sync, haptic feedback and adaptive trigger support, 3D audio support, dynamic 4K resolution, and decreased loading times.  The PlayStation 5 version also includes an expansion in which Jin visits Iki Island to stop a Mongol tribe led by a shaman named Ankhsar Khatun. The size of Iki Island is similar to Act One of the main game, and players can access the island once they have reached Act Two of the main story. Iki Island is drastically different from Tsushima Island as it is mostly populated with bandit, raider, and criminal NPCs. When designing Iki Island, the team continued to use bold colors, though it used a different color palette so that players could easily differentiate between it and the main Tsushima Island.  According to the team, the story also delves into Jin's past and the history of Clan Sakai, exploring a different viewpoint of the Mongol invasion.   Iki Island also added new combat skills, such as the ability for the player's horse to charge at enemies, new side quests and open world activities including visiting animal sanctuaries where Jin can pet various animals,   and music composed by Chad Cannon and Bill Hemstapat, both of whom had previously worked with Umebayashi for the arrangement and orchestration of "Tsushima's suite".  An armor set inspired by Aloy from Horizon Forbidden West was added to Director's Cut in February 2022.  In April 2022, Sucker Punch announced that they have stopped working on further patches and updates for both the main game and Legends, as the studio shifted developmental resources to other projects. 
|Metacritic||(PS4) 83/100  |
(PS5) 87/100 
|Game Informer||9.5/10 |
The game received "generally favorable" reviews according to the review aggregator Metacritic.  It received a combined 40/40 score from four editors of the Japanese video game magazine Famitsu ,  the third Western-developed game to do so. [lower-alpha 2] It also received praise from Toshihiro Nagoshi, the director of the Yakuza series, who applauded Jin as the game's protagonist, adding that Japanese studios were unlikely to greenlight a game starring a middle-aged man due to marketing reasons.  Fox and Connell were named as tourism ambassadors to Tsushima Island in March 2021 for spreading "the name and history of Tsushima through their works". 
The story received a generally positive reception. Matt Miller from Game Informer wrote that Ghost of Tsushima offered "a tale about the contradictory ideals of honor and revenge", praising the side quests for offering a somber contemplation on the brutality of war and how it affects the everyday life of ordinary peasants.  IGN 's Mitchell Saltzman praised Tsuji and Gallagher's performances. He described Jin's struggles as "compelling", and called Khan a memorable antagonist whose "soft intensity" is "oddly calming despite his terrifying intentions". Critics applauded the game's cast of side characters, adding that their personal stories impacted the overall story and Jin's own character development.    The side quests, however, were largely considered to be repetitive and forgettable.    Eurogamer 's Chris Tapsell compared them unfavorably to The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt and considered them to be an "afterthought", criticizing their basic framework and inadequate rewards for completion.  While the performance of the voice cast was praised,     several reviewers noted the lack of lip-syncing for the Japanese audio, which was later rectified in the Director's Cut version of the game.    Edmond Tran, writing for GameSpot , noted that the characters have a "noticeable lack of bodily expression", hindering the delivery of certain emotional scenes, but remarked that the emotional impact of these scenes was frequently heightened by the game's musical score and cinematography.  In a mixed review, Keza MacDonald of The Guardian felt that the story lacked intrigue and wrote that Ghost of Tsushima adhered "so closely to the tropes and storylines of classic samurai fiction that it sometimes forgets to have a personality of its own". 
Critics generally praised the gameplay. Miller enjoyed the variety in enemies and added that combat remained challenging and riveting even when the player was approaching the end of the game. He felt that the game's two playstyles were both satisfying, and lauded Sucker Punch for allowing players to freely choose their approaches to objectives and missions.  Writing for GamesRadar , Rachel Weber agreed that the game was challenging. She added that it "flowed like a dance" and remarked that the combat had a large emphasis on the timing of attacks and parries.  Standoffs were particularly praised for evoking the feelings of Japanese samurai movies.    Saltzman appreciated the combat system and compared it to the early Assassin's Creed games, the Batman Arkham series, and Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice . He also enjoyed the progression system, as players are not required to grind for experience to level up and difficulty does not suddenly ramp up as the player progresses.  Mike Williams from USgamer felt that combat was "decent", but the camera angle and the lack of a lock-on system mean that players cannot easily control the battlefield as opponents swarm in on Jin from various directions with different styles of attacks.  Several critics were disappointed by the stealth gameplay as they felt it was too rudimentary.    Both Williams and Saltzman noted that the artificial intelligence was inadequate.  
Weber described the game's world as a "work of art",  Miller described it as a "painter’s vision of feudal Japan",  and Saltzmann wrote that its visual landscape was one of the best ever for an open world game.  Critics particularly praised how the game used elements of nature like wind and birds to guide players to their objectives,    with Williams describing the guiding wind system as a "major innovation".  Tran wrote that guiding wind encouraged players to explore the game world and made them more likely to "follow winding roads around mountains and along river bank" instead of simply choosing the most direct route.  Critics also enjoyed the way that the game offered moments of relief and calmness.    Miller liked the world design for encouraging players to explore, but lamented that some of the platforming sessions were too static and limiting.  Chris Carter, writing for Destructoid , enjoyed some of the open world activities, singling out the composition of haiku and bathing in hotsprings as examples of unique optional content;  conversely, Tapsell was disappointed by the game's open world structure and found it to be unimaginative and outdated.  Tapsell added that the side content and points of interest lacked variety and a sense of mystery.  Andrew Webster from The Verge felt that these repetitive open world activities undermined the game's innovative ideas.  Kirk McKeand from VG247 also criticized the game's open world activities for hindering the pacing of the story and deemed the structure of some quests "archaic". 
Ghost of Tsushima was the best-selling physical game in its debut week of release in the United Kingdom  and sold 373,473 copies in the country by the end of 2020.  It was also the best-selling physical game in July 2020 in the US and became Sucker Punch's fastest-selling game there.  The game also topped the download charts in both Europe and the United States.  It went on to become the seventh-best-selling game of 2020 in the US.  The Director's Cut version was the best-selling game in the UK in its week of release  and the second-best-selling game in the United States in August 2021 behind Madden NFL 22 .  Worldwide, the game sold through more than 2.4 million units in its first 3 days of sales, making it the PlayStation 4's fastest-selling first-party original IP debut.  It was reported in November 2020 that it had sold over 5 million copies.  By July 2022 the game had sold 9.73 million copies. 
In Japan, the game was also the best-selling game during its debut week, with 212,915 copies being sold.  The game was out of stock in some stores in Japan during its launch month.  The game remained in the top 30 best-selling video games in Japan for more than 15 consecutive weeks, totaling over 412,000 copies sold.  It had the second-highest lifetime sales for a Sony first-party video game, only behind Marvel's Spider-Man . 
In addition to the following awards, the game was selected by PlayStation Official Magazine – UK and Hardcore Gamer as their Game of the Year.  
|2020||Golden Joystick Awards||PlayStation Game of the Year||Nominated|| |
|Best Visual Design||Nominated|
|Studio of the Year||Nominated|
|The Game Awards 2020||Game of the Year||Nominated|||
|Best Game Direction||Nominated|
|Best Art Direction||Won|
|Best Performance (Tsuji as Jin Sakai)||Nominated|
|Best Audio Design||Nominated|
|Best Action/Adventure Game||Nominated|
|Titanium Awards||Best Narrative Design||Nominated|||
|Best Art Design||Nominated|
|2021||24th Annual D.I.C.E. Awards||Game of the Year||Nominated|| |
|Adventure Game of the Year||Won|
|Outstanding Achievement in Original Music Composition||Won|
|Outstanding Achievement in Art Direction||Won|
|Outstanding Achievement in Audio Design||Won|
|Outstanding Achievement in Story||Nominated|
|Outstanding Technical Achievement||Nominated|
|Outstanding Achievement in Game Design||Nominated|
|Outstanding Achievement in Game Direction||Nominated|
|Visual Effects Society Awards||Outstanding Virtual Cinematography in a CG Project||Nominated|| |
|Outstanding Visual Effects in a Real-Time Project||Won|
|17th British Academy Games Awards||Artistic Achievement||Nominated|| |
|Performer in a Leading Role (Tsuji as Jin Sakai)||Nominated|
|Performer in a Supporting Role (Gallagher as Khotun Khan)||Nominated|
|EE Game of the Year||Nominated|
|21st Game Developers Choice Awards||Game of the Year||Nominated|||
|Best Visual Art||Won|
|Japan Game Awards 2021||Game Designers Award||Runner-up|||
|Award for Excellence||Won|
|Golden Joystick Awards 2021||Best Game Expansion (Iki Island)||Won|||
On March 25, 2021, Sony Pictures and PlayStation Productions announced the development of a film adaptation of the game, directed by Chad Stahelski. The film will be produced by Stahelski, Alex Young, and Jason Spitz of 87Eleven Entertainment alongside Asad Qizilbash and Carter Swan of PlayStation Productions. Sucker Punch will serve as executive producers, with Peter Kang overseeing production on the studio's behalf. On April 12, 2022, Takashi Doscher was brought on to write the screenplay.  
Year 1274 (MCCLXXIV) was a common year starting on Monday of the Julian calendar.
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