“We are not cultural experts in Japan, we recognize this.”
For Ghost of Tsushima, developer Sucker Punch is taking a hard left from the modern day Seattle setting it explored in the last inFamous game, going instead to feudal Japan—which is, in time and in space, as well as culturally, is far away from Seattle as you can get.
Japan has a rich culture and history of its own, and unlike with inFamous: Second Son, it seems like Sucker Punch are trying to remain grounded with Ghost of Tsushima. How does Sucker Punch, a western developer, try to stay true to the culture and history of Japan when developing the game? Speaking to GamesIndustry, creative director Nate Fox talked about how the development team is trying its hardest to ensure it can bring the rich setting to life as authentically and accurately as possible.
“We rely on all these people to let us know where we’re going astray,” said Fox. “Sucker Punch is good at making gameplay, but we are not cultural experts in Kamakura-era Japan. We recognise this, and we’re grateful to have the help.
“It’s been interesting working on this game because in past titles we’ve been able to make it up, frankly. For a superhero game set in Seattle, we knew what we were doing, but in this game we are constantly learning about Japanese culture or the norms of samurai. And it’s exciting because it changes the way you work to learning in the same way that players get to learn about these things, and in fascinating detail.
“Things were surprising us all the time. But that’s part of the joy of the discovery of making the game. Hopefully it’s something that will translate into the game as a player, that you will discover a lot of the beauty of feudal Japan.”
It’s great to see they are making so many efforts at trying to accurately realize the setting, rather than trying to simply live up to the established image and stereotype for it, which would almost be a safer route to go for from a commercial perspective, when appealing to a western audience. Ghost of Tsushima comes out on PS4, but has no set release date yet. If you are interested in the title, make sure to check out the development diary delving into the making of the game.