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Ghost of Tsushima release date, gameplay, trailer and platform

The last time Sucker Punch Productions took more than two years off between games, it was right after the third Sly Cooper on PlayStation 2, after which it returned with the first Infamous on PlayStation 3. Over five years have passed since its last game, the still-underrated Infamous: First Light, released. What it's coming back with this time is unlike anything the developer has ever done: Ghost of Tsushima.

Even compared to its closest tonal neighbor, FromSoftware's critical darling Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice, Ghost of Tsushima feels like the first truly expansive samurai epic seen this gen. A playable tale of blood, blades, and betrayal stretching across the vastness of feudal Japan, this is a very different beast than you've seen from this genre, to say nothing of this studio.

From the release date to the gameplay, here's what to expect from Ghost of Tsushima.

Is there a release date for Ghost of Tsushima?

For a long time, the only release date given for Ghost of Tsushima was a vague "Spring 2020" tag at the end of the gameplay trailers. That finally changed in March 2020 when Sucker Punch announced via the PlayStation Blog that Ghost of Tsushima would come to PlayStation 4 on June 26, 2020. The announcement also included a few details about the Collector's and Deluxe editions of the game. 

Unfortunately, the original date proved too good to bed true. The delays seen for several major titles in 2020 had many gamers thinking Ghost of Tsushima would follow suit and release at the end of the year. These fears were partially confirmed when Sony pushed the launch back in late April, changing the release date from June 26 to July 17.

Is there a trailer for Ghost of Tsushima?

Sucker Punch has offered a few notable looks at Ghost of Tsushima since it was announced. The first came at the Paris Game Show back in 2017 in the form of a moody little teaser that's more of a statement of intent than anything. The gameplay trailer that followed at E3 2018 that plays out like a trailer for a Kurosawa film that never happened. It loses something without the awesome foreboding live pan-flute performance that prefaced it, but, real talk, most things lose something by not having an awesome foreboding pan flute performance.

The third trailer released during The Game Awards 2019 solidified the impressive visuals and combat possibilities in the game. For some reason, open-world samurai games where you get to have random adventures aren't very common, with samurai often relegated to self-contained killzones or linear quests. Tsushima feels like the kind of thing that could and should have happened in an Assassin's Creed title a long time ago, but Sucker Punch got there first and it's beautiful.

Other trailers, including a Story Trailer and Launch Trailer, have since emerged.

What is the story for Ghost of Tsushima?

Ghost of Tsushima takes place in 1274, the Kamakura era of Japan. It's a comparatively peaceful time for the country, which changes in a heartbeat the second the Mongols show up. 

See, this is around the time Kublai Khan is on his biggest roll as a conqueror, and after sending a bend-the-knee letter to Japan twice with no response, Khan says to hell with it and sends a massive army to Japan to snatch the place up. Their first stop just so happens to be the island of Tsushima. A couple hundred of the island's best samurai attempt to defend it, upholding the code of Bushido and honorable combat along the way. Those samurai were utterly steamrolled by an army numbering in the thousands who absolutely, positively do not give a damn about Bushido.

One of the soldiers still left standing after the massacre is Jin Sakai. After the Mongols have laid waste to everything he loves, he finds himself in need of a new way of fighting off the invaders. Adopting "the path of the Ghost," he sets out for vengeance and to take back his homeland.

Who is the bad guy in Ghost of Tsushima?

One of the more intriguing elements from the footage seen thus far is the game's villain. To put it mildly, the Mongols weren't exactly known for their restraint and gentleness, so it's a bit of a shocker when the cool, calm, and collected voice in the game's teaser turns out to be the man who just burned Jin's village to the ground. That seems to be the very intentional carpet pull here by Sucker Punch, though it's probably no surprise from the folks who gave you Brooke Augustine from the Infamous series.

Here, the Khan has a sort of Thanos-lite composure about him, having studied and respected his enemies just enough to know exactly how to destroy them. The folks at Sucker Punch themselves stated they're looking for far more than just a cardboard cutout villain here. Expect the game to not just be a bloody rampage up to this guy's doorstep. Expect him to hit back in ways you can't even imagine.

What is the gameplay like in Ghost of Tsushima?

Ghost of Tsushima is far from the only game to delve into Japanese history and wartime tradition for inspiration, so anyone who's played the likes of Nioh, Onimusha, Tenchu, or even more stylized takes like Samurai Shodown or Bushido Blade have at least some idea of what kind of experience they're bound to have.

Like all of Sucker Punch's stuff, the game is third-person. Combat will be based around parries and finding moments of vulnerability. Grappling hooks will allow Jin to take to the trees and rooftops, killing from the shadows when able, which is likely what Sucker Punch means by "the path of the Ghost." The developers also mention in previews a means of traversal directly inspired by Infamous. Pretty sure that doesn't mean riding neon signs up buildings this time around, but weirder things have happened.

Where Ghost of Tsushima most differs from other games set around this era is in the scale. The game's rendition of Tsushima island will give players complete freedom to roam the countryside on foot or horseback. Anyone who's ever had a fantasy of riding through golden fields with the wind blowing cherry blossoms through the air, this is your best chance.

Who is developing Ghost of Tsushima?

When Sucker Punch started out, the developers were just a bunch of ex-pats from Microsoft before they got into the PlayStation business. The studio's first game was an N64 title called Rocket: Robot on Wheels, which focused on using the physics of a world for traversal and puzzle solving. It's one of the factors that made that game hard as nails, in fact. It then moved on to the Sly Cooper games on the PS2, considered by some the best of the console's platformers.

Sucker Punch shifted from Sly Cooper to the Infamous series, and while the first two games are fairly interesting open-world experiments, Second Son and First Light on the PlayStation 4 were where the company's ambitions truly got big. Knowing how it took advantage of the freedom afforded by the PS4, it's not out of the question that Ghost of Tsushima has got ambitions beyond just being a historical samurai fantasy.