CS Plays: Ghost of Tsushima — Kurosawa Edition!
Sucker Punch’s Ghost of Tsushima comes with a wide variety of unique features, one of which allows the player to apply a filter to the gameplay that makes it resemble one of those old Akira Kurosawa chambara classics from the 1950s and 60s (Seven Samurai, Yojimbo, etc). The filter essentially just makes the visuals black and white with some film grain added for good measure. Jason Connell and Nate Fox, the creative directors behind Tsushima, recently revealed to Entertainment Weekly the level of detail that went into making this feature possible.
“It’s not just a black-and-white filter,” Connell clarifies. “We actually did some research on the curves that may have existed on that kind of film that [Kurosawa] might’ve used.”
It proved difficult to translate that directly into a game like Ghost of Tsushima with current film-mapping technology, so Connell took various black-and-white samurai films and analyzed scenes from various times of day and weather conditions to track “how deep were the blacks? How bright were the whites?”
For final touches, the team added a film grain to make the mode appear as though it had just emerged from the age of Kurosawa, as well as an increased wind function. In Ghost of Tsushima, the wind serves as the player’s navigational tool; Jin actually follows the wind to find his next destination. In the Kurosawa Mode, the wind is “cranked up,” says Connell. “And lastly,” he adds, “we actually toyed with the audio a little bit. Our audio team have an internal tool that mimicked sounds of old TV and, specifically, megaphones, radios, TVs back to the ’50s.” It all makes for a game with the feel of theatrical entertainment.
Pretty cool, eh? Well, if you need further convincing, here’s a brief video demonstrating that feature in action. It actually fits the game extremely well, though it does rob the viewer of the colorful visuals; and it does make the gameplay a little harder as players can no longer see which attack — red or blue — is coming. At any rate, the look is quite astounding and serves as a fun addition to an already amazing game.