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

By Heidi Nicholas,
After quite a lengthy silence, there have now been several waves of Ghost of Tsushima details in readiness for the game's July release date. This includes new information from the 20 minutes of gameplay footage and from Sucker Punch's Ghost of Tsushima Q&A, and so we thought we'd go back through and consolidate everything we know about Sucker Punch’s biggest ever project. Below, we've listed 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 release date

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.

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 uncle Shimura, who Andrew Goldfarb, Communications Manager for Sucker Punch Productions, says is "the jito (lord) of Tsushima and a father figure to Jin", has trained Jin as a samurai. Yet the Mongol invasion and defeat of the island's samurai seem to cause a crisis point in Jin’s life, and 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. This involves less "honourable" tactics and combat, and Jin's uncle "grows increasingly concerned by the tactics Jin starts to adopt as he abandons his teachings and becomes The Ghost".

Sucker Punch has 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.

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, and a Collector's Edition available for $169.99 USD/$219.99 CAD.

The Digital Deluxe Edition for $69.99 USD/89.99 CAD 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 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 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, 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.

No waypoints and a "minimal" HUD

In an interview with PlayStation, Creative Director Nate Fox and Creative / Art Director Jason Connell spoke about their aims with their open-world game. “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.”

One distinctive aspect of Ghost of Tsushima is the idea of the "guiding wind", as revealed in Sony's State of Play gameplay footage. When Jin selects a location on the map, there's no obtrusive path or icon popping up onscreen. Jin can instead request to be shown the way by a sudden gust of wind, and this plays right into Ghost of Tsushima's rippling, windswept landscape. Sucker Punch seems to be aiming for the game to be as open to exploration as possible, and it's up to the player to watch the landscape for unobtrusive prompts: birds will lead Jin to places of interest, foxes might show the way to hidden shrines, smoke columns will show people who need help, and even "odd-shaped trees" will be worth checking out. On an unrelated but very important note, you'll be able to pet the foxes.

Ghost of Tsushima

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

Khotun Khan, leader of the Mongols, is responsible for the devastation of Tsushima and is described by Fox as “an uncomfortably reasonable killer”. It’s Khotun Khan's 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 mentions that Jin, the protagonist, is played by Daisuke Tsuji and that Khan is played by Patrick Gallagher. Khotun Khan's comments about "which villages to tame, and which to burn" suggest that perhaps not all of Tsushima will be destroyed by the invasion. Some villages might still be mostly intact, and this could hint at a possible objective for Jin: to remove these villages from Mongol control.

Tsushima island will have diverse geographic regions

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.” 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 you’ll “explore meticulously-crafted regions showcasing diversity of life on the sprawling island”, it seems 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.

Ghost of Tsushima

Goldfarb 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, when discussing the Otsuna Grasslands area of the game visible in the demo, Harper mentioned that the hill in the trailer was the first place Sucker Punch went on one of their research trips, and that “in the game, you’ll be able to go anywhere you can see from here”. There'll be dynamic weather and a day and night cycle. Some weather conditions will be "tied to specific regions" or to story moments.

Jin will be traversing the island mostly on horseback, with Sucker Punch's Jason Connell explaining that you'll have just the one horse, and that you'll be able to choose which one you want in an early part of the game. Jin will also travel by stealth, and will have a grappling hook, with Harper adding 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

Combat, weapons, and armour

Jin's katana, says Connell, is a "family heirloom" and will be with Jin throughout the whole game as his "main weapon", but you'll be able to improve its stats and its appearance. Jin will also rely on weapons such as bows like the Halfbow and the Longbow, "throwable kunai", smoke bombs, and a range of stealth and assassination tactics. Jin can use different combat stances for different advantages against enemy types. We know from the gameplay footage that Jin's reputation will grow throughout the game with the Mongols learning to fear him. Harper adds that this “fear factor” will influence combat in other ways: “If you do successfully assassinate someone then it stuns the other enemies around you and gives you an opportunity to perform follow-up attacks.” Jin will also be able to challenge enemies to standoffs and one-on-one combat.

Ghost of Tsushima

Yet there's no "karma system", says Fox — in other words, there won't be consequences for fighting more as the Ghost or as the samurai. Fox says: "There’s one story we’re telling here, one journey for Jin... As for the player making a choice, we want to be clear that there isn’t a binary choice for the player, it’s more about the player having freedom to play through any encounter in the style they prefer and wearing whichever armour they prefer." You can mix and match armour sets: fighting in Ghost armour, for instance, won't stop you using samurai tactics such as the "standoff", and assassination tactics are still possible even if you enter enemy ground as the samurai. "This is a story of Jin growing to become a new kind of warrior, who uses every weapon he has to save his home," says Fox. "No matter what your preferred means of attack, be it swords or stealth, the legend of the Ghost will grow." The most recent gameplay footage showed off a wide variety of armour types, and in addition to mixing and matching these, Jin will be able to use flowers to dye armour and customise it even more.

Ghost of Tsushima

A wealth of side content

The character of Masako, another skilled warrior, was introduced in a previous gameplay trailer, which focused almost entirely on her interaction with Jin. Yet Harper says all the footage in that gameplay was 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.” After the latest gameplay footage, the Sucker Punch team elaborated on the game's side content, adding that Jin will encounter "an anthology" of side stories, with the opportunity to "dive deep" into them for "some of the best rewards in the game". It was also confirmed that all content "outside of the main story offers a variety of rewards" such as resources, charms, or armour sets, and that there will be vendors scattered throughout the game to provide even more items.

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!