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Making Ghost of Tsushima felt like wrestling an octopus, dev says

Published: 14:38, 17 July 2020
Sucker Punch Productions
Ghost of Tsushima fields, concept art
Ghost of Tsushima definitely stuck to the concept art

Having officially launched Ghost of Tsushima, Sucker Punch earned themselves a well-deserved breather, if only for a moment, as the road to release was anything but easy.

There's no going around it - Ghost of Tsushima's visuals are breathtaking and Sucker Punch has produced one of the prettiest games the industry has ever seen, period. PlayStation 4 couldn't have had a better sending-off present, and the symbolism of it being the platform's most stunning game is not lost on us.

Nevertheless, Jin's enchanting journey makes it incredibly easy to overlook the six years of relentless development, but Sucker Punch, on the other hand, isn't likely to forget anytime soon. 

"At times, the task seemed impossible. The game got away from us a little bit — it felt like we were wrestling an octopus. We had trouble just keeping track of the state of the game. Was it playing better with yesterday’s new changes? It’s a simple question to ask, but hard to answer unless you can cancel all your meetings for a week and play through the game. (Shout out to our amazing QA team who came on and provided excellent counsel in the late stages!)"

Having helped launch PS4 with Second Son, you'd think it would be a good basis for developing Ghost of Tsushima, but no. Quite the contrary in fact - visual effects were the only thing up to scratch, which wasn't much due to tasks rapidly multiplying "5x, 10x, 20x and even 40x in some cases". 

Sucker Punch Productions Ghost of Tsushima's first concept art piece Ghost of Tsushima, the first concept art piece

With nothing but few pieces of concept art and a most general synopsis, Sucker Punch set out to craft a masterpiece. "We kept coming back to feudal Japan and telling the story of a samurai warrior. Then one fateful fall afternoon we found a historical account of the Mongol invasion of Tsushima in 1274, and the entire vision clicked into place", they wrote. 

In their words, never straying from the clarity of the original vision was what made Ghost of Tsushima possible. Combat was reworked, revamped and overhauled countless times. The story evolved. But the idea of the lone Samurai against the Mongol onslaught was held sacred. 

And boy are we glad they did, because love it or hate it - Ghost of Tsushima won't let you forget it. Now if we could only find a way to nail it to a wall like a picture. 

Sucker Punch Productions Ghost of Tsushima's early concept art pieces Ghost of Tsushima, the early days

Ghost of Tsushima, a samurai adventure by Sucker Punch Studios

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A man with an axe running through a forest in SCUM
Ghost of Tsushima

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