Developer Sucker Punch Productions took to the PlayStation Blog to unload some details about its upcoming PlayStation 4 exclusive Ghost of Tsushima. Studio co-founder Chris Zimmerman went in-depth on the game’s combat, discussing how stances affect gameplay, as well as sharing some new PS4 Pro-captured screenshots.
Fast, Sharp, and Precise Combat
Ghost of Tsushima’s combat, according to Zimmerman, hinges on three core values: speed, sharpness, and precision. As such, the studio went to great lengths to ensure the game conveyed the lethality of the katana. This includes fine-tuning the game’s responsiveness so that it registers player input as quickly as possible. This attention to detail allows Jin to cancel attacks into other movements, such as evasion or combo extensions.
“Quick attacks happen quick. We work hard to make our animations fluid, to flow naturally between movements–but if forced to make a choice, responsiveness wins out over physical accuracy,” Zimmerman said, “Jin does have slower, more powerful attacks, but they can be instantly [canceled] at any point, leaving Jin free to respond to unexpected events, like the shout of a Mongol charging in to attack.”
The philosophy of responsiveness also carries over to Sucker Punch’s commitment to combat precision. Zimmerman talked about how Ghost of Tsushima’s block works–simply hold L1 to defend against an incoming attack–and, that by being precise, players can open enemies up to devastating counter-attacks.
“We also wanted to reward the player for precise execution of Jin’s abilities. Take Jin’s ability to block most incoming attacks. Basic execution of blocking is simple–hold L1, block the attack. But there are levels beyond that. Waiting to press L1 until the attack is about to hit changes the block into a parry. The attacker isn’t just stymied, he’s spun past you, vulnerable to a counter-attack. And Jin earns a little bit of Resolve, Ghost’s measure of the samurai spirit that lets him push through the pain and injury he sustains. With the right upgrade, a third level of success opens up–press L1 just as the attack is landing, and the parry becomes a perfect parry, stunning the attacker and leaving him open to special, devastating counter-attack, and earning Jin a big dose of Resolve.”
Both responsiveness and precision are necessary when Jin faces multiple enemies at once. Because Sucker Punch wanted to transport players into the character of Jin, Zimmerman said the studio tweaked enemy aggression so that their attacks overlap. This will lead to some frantic decision-making, as you’re tasked with deciding to press the attack or step back and evaluate the lethality of the sword.
Different Stances “Amplify” Jin’s Deadliness
Another element Sucker Punch briefly talked about was stances. While it’s unclear how many Ghost of Tsushima has, it seems there are three available based on the game’s UI: Stone, Water, and an unknown one. Switching between them seems simple enough, maybe something akin to Team Ninja’s Nioh franchise, and Zimmerman said that each stance “amplifies” Jin’s deadliness based on who he is fighting.
“[The lessons Jin learns] are distilled into new Stances, collections of new attack techniques, which the player can switch between at any point,” Zimmerman said. “Each Stance is designed to be particularly effective against a subset of the dozens of enemy types Jin faces; switching between Stances based on who Jin faces amplifies his deadliness.”
It’s unclear exactly how these stances are “effective” against Ghost of Tsushima’s enemies, but based on Zimmerman’s detailing, it seems they may provide some kind of bonus if used against properly. For example, the Stone stance–strong and powerful, Jin’s “ancestral style developed to fight other swordsmen”–works better against Mongol swordsman than the simpler and more free-flowing Water stance.
New High-Res Ghost of Tsushima Screenshots
While breaking down how combat and stances work in Ghost of Tsushima, Zimmerman shared some high-resolution screenshots that were captured on a PlayStation 4 Pro. The pictures see protagonist Jin Sakai training in an empty field, dressed in what looks to be the Ghost garb shown in early promotional announcement trailers. Zimmerman also posted some videos showing Jin in combat, battling against a handful of Mongol invaders at one time. The videos effectively illustrate how overwhelming combat can be in Ghost of Tsushima, which drops on July 17 for PlayStation 4.
Earlier this week, Sucker Punch announced that Ghost of Tsushima had gone gold, meaning it’s ready for its July release date. Be sure to check out our Ghost of Tsushima pre-order guide to learn about the bonuses you get for buying the game before it comes out.
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