A day before the launch of Ghost of Tsushima, Sucker Punch Productions co-founder Brian Fleming admitted that the studio had tried a number of pitches before landing on the tale of ancient samurai. "Early on, we concluded that we wanted to build a large, open-world experience—and one that featured melee combat," wrote Fleming on the PlayStation Blog. "Pirates? Rob Roy? The Three Musketeers? All these were considered—but we kept coming back to feudal Japan and telling the story of a samurai warrior."
Now it seems one of those pitches has been revealed. One internet sleuth at ResetEra found the personal website of Sucker Punch lead character artist Max Chapman. On that site, which has since been taken down, there was character art and a vertical slice trailer for a game called Prophecy. The vertical slice trailer shows a medieval fantasy world starring a lead character named Able Tevorah (guessing at the spelling here), dubbed the most infamous man in that world. The main character looks to be played by Simon Kassianides, who was the villain Sunil Bakshi in Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D..
Some aspects of the Prophecy vertical slice were carried forward into Ghost of Tsushima. The movements of Able recall Jin's general movement and parkour. Other bits like sneaking through small crevices in first-person and coming up through a hatch in the floor, also make an appearance. If you thought Ghost of Tsushima felt like an Assassin's Creed game, the far more urban composition of this Prophecy trailer hews even closer to Ubisoft's open-world franchise. There's also a bit of Uncharted in there when Able takes an arrow through the leg and goes tumbling off a roof.
One unique element is some powder that apparently burns through metal. Able uses that powder to escape through a metal grating covering a window and melt a guard's armor off. Toward the end of the trailer, the main character also mentions chambers beneath the city, and the test art shows inhuman monsters that the player would likely have come into contact with. Judging by the filenames, it's likely that this project was in development at Sucker Punch in 2015 or 2016, some time after the release of Infamous First Light.
The website has been removed and a YouTube version of the trailer was removed due to copyright strike by "MUSO TNT LTD". Muso is a copyright watchdog company, who was also named in removing leaked videos related to Naughty Dog's The Last of Us Part 2.
This is a vertical slice, so there's no indication of how far along Prophecy was in development, but this does explain why there was such a large gap between Infamous Second Son and Ghost of Tsushima. A canceled game and Ghost of Tsushima's scale—Fleming admitted that "the game got away from us a little bit"—would explain a generation-long gap in releases.
Regardless, we now have Ghost of Tsushima, a title that turned out pretty well. If you haven't picked it up yet, you can check out our review. If you have and you're a little stuck, I'd recommend our extensive set of guides for the game. And once you're done with Ghost of Tsushima, perhaps you want to take a look at some of the samurai chanbara films that inspired its creation.