Ghost of Tsushima (A game that I can confirm I have been playing for a few weeks no, review soon!), draws its sword in a few days as it prepares to deliver one almighty slash of PlayStation 4 first-party power. From the footage shown off so far and the details gleaned from developer Sucker Punch, Ghost of Tsushima isn’t just a samurai sandbox.
It’s a gorgeous slice ‘n dice collection of samurai cinema, a love letter to a genre of films that gave birth to iconic showdowns, contemplative stories and beautiful cinematic tours of Japan. Sucker Punch is wearing that admiration for Japanese filmmaking on their sleeve, even going so far as to reveal that Ghost of Tsushima has a special cinematic filter option called Kurosawa mode, that was shown off back in May’s State of Play livestream.
A reference to famed Seven Samurai, Rashomon and Sanjuro director Akira Kurosawa, the filter isn’t just a lip service homage either, but one that has the blessing of the late pioneer’s family estate. “We have this great game that transports people back to feudal Japan and Akira Kurosawa was one of our reference guides, especially early on about how we wanted it to feel,” Sucker Punch creative director Jason Connell explained to Entertainment Weekly.
As we got closer and closer to making that a reality, we were like, ‘What do we call this special mode that we created, this black-and-white throwback?’ We threw out a bunch of different words and we thought, ‘What would be awesome would be if we could call it Kurosawa Mode.’ In order to do that, we felt that we needed to reach out to the estate and see if that’s something they’d be interested in. We sent a short video showing what it generally looks like, what it feels like.
To get the ratio of black and white just right, Sucker Punch had to analyse Kurosawa’s films down to the smallest degree. “We actually did some research on the curves that may have existed on that kind of film that [Kurosawa] might’ve used,” Connell said, revealing that the team nailed the precise amount of monochrome that would give the game the appearance of it having been shot on old film stock.
But the most subtle addition that this filter gave to Ghost of Tsushima? A sly twist of the ear, with an audio filter that mimics the sound quality of a bygone cinema age. “We actually toyed with the audio a little bit. Our audio team have an internal tool that mimicked sounds of old TV and, specifically, megaphones, radios, TVs back to the ’50s,” Connell explained.
Now that’s something special right there. Ghost of Tsushima will release on 17 July, with reviews going live on July 14.
Last Updated: July 9, 2020