Ghost of Tsushima: release date, gameplay, and everything else we know so far

By Heidi Nicholas,
After quite a lengthy silence on the game, Ghost of Tsushima is now planned for a July release date, meaning there's only months to go before we can get started on Sucker Punch’s biggest ever project: an action-adventure game set in feudal Japan. We’ve rounded up all the most important facts, everything we know, and a few other things we’ve guessed about Ghost of Tsushima.

E3 trailer screens

Ghost of Tsushima releases this summer

Despite worries that we’d have to wait for the PlayStation 5 for this, Ghost of Tsushima is a PS4 game, and will be releasing this summer. Originally planned for release on the 26th June, Ghost of Tsushima now has a new release date of 17th July.

Everything we've seen so far about Ghost of Tsushima has focused on Jin Sakai, the game’s protagonist, and the isle of Tsushima after it's already been invaded by the Mongol forces. This story trailer gives the first look at what happened during the invasion. We've heard that Jin has to forget his Samurai training and learn the ways of the Ghost to face the Mongols, but this trailer also shows how that's going to be a moral problem for our protagonist. It focuses on a character we haven't yet seen: Jin's uncle Shimura, who Andrew Goldfarb, the Communications Manager for Sucker Punch Productions, says is "the jito (lord) of Tsushima and a father figure to Jin." This would make Jin a member of the island's nobility. His uncle has "trained Jin since childhood in the traditional ways of the samurai, and grows increasingly concerned by the tactics Jin starts to adopt as he abandons his teachings and becomes The Ghost."

What is Ghost of Tsushima?

Ghost of Tsushima is an upcoming open world action/adventure game from Sucker Punch. It’s set in late 13th century Feudal Japan on the isle of Tsushima. The Mongol Invasion has been steadily eliminating nations in their quest to conquer the whole of the East, and the island is the last buffer between the mainland of Japan and the Mongolian invading fleet. The Mongol forces reach Tsushima in 1274, where they conquer the island’s population and wipe out nearly all of its samurai — except for Jin Sakai, the game’s protagonist.

Jin’s been trained as a samurai. Yet the Mongol invasion causes a crisis point in Jin’s life — their defeat of the samurai shows him that if he carries on as he’s been taught, he’ll be fighting a war he can’t possibly win. The game is about Jin’s journey to become a new type of warrior; to set aside his samurai training and embrace the way of the Ghost. The game’s site makes it pretty clear that unconventional tactics will be the way forwards for Jin. It seems as though his first and foremost aim might not be to seek revenge and annihilation, but to protect the island and its people.

Sucker Punch have been keeping details close to their chest. As such, we don’t yet have the Ghost of Tsushima trophies — but we’ll update here when we do.

Ghost of Tsushima is being developed by the makers of inFAMOUS

It’s being developed by Sucker Punch, the studio behind the inFamous and Sly series, and published as a PlayStation exclusive by Sony Interactive Entertainment Europe.

Can I pre-order Ghost of Tsushima?

Yes! PlayStation has now announced the different editions of the game, besides the standard. There's a Digital Deluxe Edition for $69.99 USD/89.99 CAD MSRP on the PlayStation store, a Special Edition, also available for $69.99 USD/89.99 CAD MSRP, and a Collector's Edition available for $169.99 USD/$219.99 CAD MSRP.

The Digital Deluxe Edition for $69.99 USD/89.99 CAD MSRP includes a digital copy of the game, the Hero of Tsushima skin set, which itself includes the Golden Mask, Body Armour, Sword Kit, Horse, and saddle, one technique point, the Charm of Hachiman's Favour, a Samurai PS4 dynamic theme, a digital art book, and the Director's commentary, which Sucker Punch's communications manager Andrew Goldfarb says involves the game's creative team sitting with "a renowned Japanese historian to look at the world of Ghost of Tsushima and how it compares to the real-life events that inspired it."

pre-order editions

The Special Edition, also available for $69.99 USD/89.99 CAD MSRP includes a SteelBook case, the Charm of Hachiman’s Favor, one technique point, the Director’s Commentary, and the digital mini art book, as well as a voucher for an in-game Hero of Tsushima mask and sword skin — although it's not clear whether this also includes the armour, horse, and saddle.

pre-order editions

The Collector's Edition, available for $169.99 USD/$219.99 CAD MSRP, includes a replica mask — a re-creation of one of Jin's in the game, made from polyresin and intended to be kept on its individually-numbered display stand, which is also included. This edition also comes with a sashimono, or war banner, a traditional-style furoshiki, or wrapping cloth, a SteelBook case, a 48-page mini art book, and "an artistic rendition of the full world map printed on cloth".

pre-order editions

Pre-ordering any of these will get you a mini soundtrack, a Jin PS4 dynamic theme, and a Jin PS4 avatar.

Ghost of Tsushima has no waypoints

In an interview with PlayStation, Creative Director Nate Fox and Creative / Art Director Jason Connell spoke about their aims with their open-world game. They talked about back when they hadn’t yet come up with Ghost of Tsushima, and were still deciding on what to do with their next project: “When we were looking at our next project, we wanted to stay open-world because we’re giving authority and power to the player...we think it’s integral to modern gaming”, said Fox. When discussing the world of Tsushima, Connell said, “I think player choice in this game will mean something very different than other games we made in the past. We really want you to have that choice of, ‘Hey, that cool bamboo forest over there, I really want to check it out. I want to head in that direction and I want to see what it is.’ There’s no waypoint. There’s nothing that says go here and look at this bamboo forest....That’s your adventure choice, like, where do I want to go.” It seems that players will be left entirely to their own devices when it comes to where they want to go and what they want to do; the lack of waypoints hopefully adding another level of immersion to a game. You won’t know what’s important and what’s not; you can just explore.

E3 trailer screens

Ghost of Tsushima will have a HUD, but developers want to make it "minimal"

There was no HUD in the demo gameplay trailer, but Cinematics and Animation Director Billy Harper says that this was a choice made to offer a more cinematic experience, and there will be one in the game. “But one thing we did learn internally was that people reacted very positively to not having it there so we are going to look for ways to make it minimal,” Harper said.

Ghost of Tsushima's big baddie is Khotun Khan of the invading Mongols

Khotun Khan, leader of the Mongols, and responsible for the devastation of Tsushima, is described by Game Director Nate Fox as “an uncomfortably reasonable killer”. It’s his voice you can hear in the reveal trailer: “I learned. I learned your language. Your traditions. Your beliefs. Which villages to tame, and which to burn", and Fox says “it’s all there, right in that little scene. The power and confidence of the Mongol Empire coming face to face with pure, lethal, samurai determination.” He also mentioned that Jin, the protagonist, is played by Daisuke Tsuji and that the Khan is played by Patrick Gallagher.

Tsushima island will have diverse geographic regions

We know that Ghost of Tsushima will have numerous different regions: fields and lush countryside, stark mountains, shrines, ancient forests, bamboo forests, castles, villages, mountains, and more. It’s “a huge island filled with a lot of different places, towns, people,” says Fox. “There’s so much to learn, there’s so much to see.”

So, we know Ghost of Tsushima is set on a version of the real Tshushima island. From the game’s page on the PlayStation site, which says that you’ll “explore meticulously-crafted regions showcasing diversity of life on the sprawling island”, it seems that the game’s map will be set mostly, if not entirely, on the island. The island itself is apparently massive; various interviews with Sucker Punch have them referring to its size and diversity in natural biomes. That’s not to say the game couldn’t take you elsewhere; it would certainly be a good twist to think you’re on the island for the whole game, only to find near the end that you’ve got to follow Khotun Khan to mainland Japan. We’re yet to find out whether Jin will be able to access the whole island, but the map is being described as massive.

Plus, Andrew Goldfarb, Communications Manager for Sucker Punch, has already said that it’s “the biggest game Sucker Punch has ever made by a wide margin”, and Sucker Punch’s website mentions that it’s a “vast open-world adventure”. Meanwhile, Harper mentions, when discussing the Otsuna Grasslands area of the game visible in the demo, that the hill in the trailer was the first place they went on one of their research trips, and that “in the game, you’ll be able to go anywhere you can see from here”.

E3 trailer screens

Since the game will apparently be so big, how will we be getting around? The clearest answer to that is Jin’s horse, shown in several of the trailers and screenshots. It’s yet to be made clear whether fast travel will be an option, or how it’ll work, but his horse would make sense as his primary method of crossing the vast open areas on Tsushima Island. Meanwhile, it seems Sucker Punch want stealth travel to be an option available in the game. We know Jin will be studying new methods of stealth and assassination, and that some of this is shown in trailers for the game. But Harper says that most things in the game should be climbable: “We have that fluid motion through the environment that Sucker Punch is known for, and these stealth opportunities you can engage in...If you see something and you expect to be able to climb on it, then we want you to be able to climb on it”.

E3 trailer screens

Assassination, sword play, bows at range – Jin has many combat options

From the various trailers and interviews, it’s possible to begin building up the different methods of fighting available to Jin. We know that, overall, he’s got to learn to adapt or abandon the Samurai method of fighting in favour of the way of the Ghost, but it seems that he’ll also have a katana for close-quarter combat, a bow for range — possibly a six-foot-tall samurai long bow, according to Fox — and the stealth and deception tactics he learns as he undertakes new ways of combat. Assassinations will be one of these tactics, and Harper says there’ll be some sort of “fear factor” here: “If you do successfully assassinate someone then it stuns the other enemies around you and gives you an opportunity to perform follow-up attacks”, Harper said. There’s also some sort of bomb or projectile shown in the trailer, which could perhaps be used both for deception and for outright combat.

It’s safe to assume there’d be some sort of levelling system in a game like this, but Goldfarb says that the box art recently announced for the game actually gives a peek at some of the gear and upgrades available to Jin and which he’ll acquire throughout the game.

Box art

That epic, emotional battle with Masako in the Ghost of Tsushima gameplay trailer? It was only a side quest

Masako is introduced in the longer gameplay trailer. She’s another skilled warrior. Whilst her interaction with Jin looks intense and important, Harper says that all the footage in the gameplay demo is actually from a sidequest: “It was important for us to have this first experience of gameplay for viewers to be through the lens of what a sidequest is, to show the depth of the game and how seriously we are taking the open world experience.”

Ghost of Tsushima

That’s all we know so far, but we’ll keep updating back here each time we get new information about Ghost of Tsushima. It releases this summer, on 17th July.
Heidi Nicholas
Written by Heidi Nicholas
Hey, I'm Heidi! I've just finished studying a Masters in English Literature, but I've been obsessed with gaming since long before then. I began on the PS2 with Spyro, before graduating to the Xbox 360 and disappearing into Skyrim. I'm now a loyal RPG fan, but I still like to explore other genres — when I'm not playing Assassin's Creed Odyssey, or being lured back into Red Dead Redemption 2 or The Witcher 3!