Sucker Punch’s Ghost of Tsushima is one of the best games in the PlayStation 4 library, and it will soon make its way to the PlayStation 5. Set on the island of Tsushima in feudal Japan, the game follows the adventure of samurai Jin Sakai. The open-world game is filled with details many players may have missed, and its development is no less fascinating. Here are our personal picks of the more interesting obscure facts about Ghost of Tsushima.
Jin’s katana features a reference to the real story of Tsushima
While the Ghost is the one repelling the Mongol troops from Tsushima in the game, it didn’t exactly happen the same way in real life. During the conflict the game’s events are based on, the Mongol forces managed to capture the islands of Iki and Tsushima and headed to Kyushu, the third-largest island of Japan. But the samurai were waiting for them, and the Battle of Bun’ei began. What ended the battle was not the intervention of Jin Sakai’s allies, but a huge typhoon which sank most of the Mongol fleets. The Japanese called this typhoon a kamikaze, which translates to “divine wind.”
Giving a nod to the real story of the island of Tsushima, Sucker Punch hid a small detail on Jin’s sword. His katana features storm and wind designs, a direct reference to the hurricane which helped defeat the Mongols.
Many Ghost of Tsushima voice actors also dubbed One Piece characters
The Japanese voice actor of Jin is Kazuya Nakai. His voice may sound familiar to some of you, as he is also the voice actor for Roronoa Zoro in One Piece and Toshiro Hijikata from Gintama.
But Jin is not the only one who shares his voice with a One Piece character. Lord Shimura is Blackbeard (Akio Ōtsuka), Khotun Khan is Douglas Bullet (Tsutomu Isobe), Taka is Usopp (Kappei Yamaguchi), and Ishikawa is Buggy (Shigeru Chiba).
In Ghost of Tsushima, Mongol archers always scream before firing their arrows. They yell “Dooshoo!” to warn their allies before shooting, which can be translated to “Get down!” or “Crouch!”
During the development of Ghost of Tsushima, testers reported that sometimes hitting enemies felt like fighting with a foam sword. Players requested a feature now known as a Lethality Contract, to make the game more realistic. Sucker Punch then added a maximum hits-to-kill criteria for all enemies, no matter the difficulty level.
To increase the difficulty of fights without changing the lethality of weapons, Sucker Punch added several behaviors to Jin’s enemies. When their health is low, they will parry and block attacks more often. There are also more enemies roaming around Tsushima on higher difficulty modes.
Sucker Punch hired real samurai to create the fights
To make fights as realistic as possible, Sucker Punch invited two real-life samurai to help with their research. Kuwami Masakumo and Ide Ryusetsu from the Tenshinryu Dojo provided their experience of samurai fights to help Jin Sakai come to life.
— Ghost of Tsushima 🎮 Director's Cut Out 8/20! (@SuckerPunchProd) August 30, 2018
Ambassadors of Tsushima Island
Following the success of Ghost of Tsushima, game director Nate Fox and creative director Jason Connell became permanent tourism ambassadors of the real Tsushima Island in Japan. This honorary appointment is part of a new tourism campaign the city is organizing in partnership with Sony Interactive Entertainment.
Snapshots of real environment
To make Ghost of Tsushima feel as realistic as possible, Sucker Punch took several trips to the island of Tsushima and worked closely with their team in Japan. The leaves we can see in the game are photo-scans of real leaves from Tsushima Island. Sucker Punch’s Japanese audio team recorded the sounds of the birds and deer we can hear in the game in a nearby park.
Playing the flute can change the weather
Playing the flute is one of Jin’s favorite hobbies. But did you know that it could change the weather? When Jin plays a song from start to finish, the in-game weather will change. Singing crickets unlock new songs, each changing the weather in a different way.
Jin’s actions also affect the weather. The weather in Ghost of Tsushima changes as Jin Sakai leaves the path of samurai to embrace the power of the Ghost. If Jin decides to disregard the code of Samurai and kill enemies stealthily, then storms will break out more often on Tsushima.
Sly Cooper & Infamous Easter Eggs
As Ghost of Tsushima is a Sucker Punch game, there are many references to their prior work. For instance, the Crooked Kama Headband is a reference to Sly Cooper, and the Band of the Second Son is a direct nod to the latest Infamous game.
Jin can wear a full cosplay of Sly Cooper by combining the Crooked Kama Headband and the Sly Tanuki Sword Kit while wearing the Gosaku armor in the Ocean Guardian color scheme. This will unlock a hidden trophy, called Cooper Clan Cosplay.
Bowing interacts with the environment
Across the island of Tsushima, there are 10 hidden altars where Jin can honor the fallen. Bowing to these altars can trigger a special animation in the environment, like lightning striking the ground, or a fish jumping out of the water.
Jin can bow anytime in the game. While the game often shows a wooden sign in the areas where you should bow, there are also a few Easter Eggs you can unlock by bowing. For instance, bowing to a frog statue on the Isonade Coast Island summons a swarm of frogs. Bowing can also sometimes unlock specific voice lines. Bowing to a dead body, like a fallen samurai or even a boar, will have Jin pay his respects and say a few words.
Golden birds are immortal
The golden birds guide Jin throughout Tsushima to discover the island’s points of interest. The birds can lead Jin to haiku spots, hot springs, enemy camps, or side missions. If the birds annoy you, you may be tempted to try to scare them away by firing an arrow their way. Don’t waste your time: arrows and attacks cannot hit the golden birds, even when they stand still.
Differences in translation
The path of the Ghost is similar to the way of the ninja. However, this term didn’t exist in Japan until the 15th century. The Japanese audio of the game does refer to the path of the Ghost as actions of a Shinobi, while this notion skipped the English version.
Along his journey, Jin sometimes stops to write haikus, a popular form of Japanese poetry. However, haikus did not yet exist in 1274. The English version of the game still refers to them as haikus, while the Japanese version of the game replaces the word “haiku” with “waka,” which means poem.
Mongols sometimes have eagle companions with them, birds they have raised and taken care of since hatching. If Jin kills a Mongol but leaves the eagle alive, he will land near the corpse and mourn his master, before flying away, never to return.
PS4 exclusives Easter eggs
Ghost of Tsushima is one of the last major games released on the PlayStation 4. Several games defined this console, and Ghost of Tsushima wanted to pay them tribute. After the end credits, you can find some of these Easter Eggs in Jin’s house. There are a dozen origami pieces on a low table, representing games like Gran Turismo Sport, Horizon Zero Dawn, Shadow of the Colossus, and The Last of Us 2.
Composers Ilan Eshkeri and Shigeru Umebayashi only had 18 months to create an entire musical universe around 13th century Japan. To amp up the realism of the game’s music, they incorporated notes of biwa, a Japanese flute favored by some samurai. They also used Taiko drums, a traditional instrument played by an ensemble. When creating the music of Ghost of Tsushima, the composers unintentionally created “rude music” by combining the wrong sets of notes together. Japanese Taiko players noticed, and Sucker Punch quickly changed the notes.
Speaking of music, Eshkeri created two ending versions of the score for last battle in Ghost of Tsushima. Depending on how the fight goes, the game plays one musical ending or the other, to reflect Jin’s feelings in that moment.
That wraps up our selection of interesting and obscure facts about Ghost of Tsushima. The game is getting a major update on Aug. 20 with the Director’s Cut, featuring the island of Iki to discover, and new secrets to unveil.