Even though Ghost of Tsushima abandons contemporary cities for 13th century Japan as its open world setting, there are still ties and cues to clue you in that this is a game from Sucker Punch, makers of the Infamous series. Still, Ghost of Tsushima is concerned with the duality of its hero, and we now know that on top of abandoning an Infamous-like karma system, it'll let players freely pick between the samurai and "Ghost" fighting styles.
Sucker Punch opened up about moving away from a karma system back in 2018, but in a new interview with IGN, Creative Director and Art Director Jason Connell specifies that there'll be no hard divide between protagonist Jin Sakai's samurai combat skills and his newly acquired "Ghost" maneuvers and stealth tricks. Though the two seemed so separate as to perhaps be an either-or divide in a recent Ghost of Tsushima gameplay demo, Connell says the opposite is true.
"When he's a Ghost, he can turn around and play as a samurai because he's always a samurai," Connell says. "All his training, using the Katana, that stuff is buried in him deep. On the stealth [section from the demo], if you wanted to jump off the roof and start fighting like a samurai, you could totally do that. We don't spec you out and suddenly you can't play as a samurai."
This should come as welcome news for players who see some Assassin's Creed influence in the "Ghost"-style gameplay but who also want to engage in tense, Kurosawa-esque standoffs every once in a while. Even that particular move, Connell notes, is one that Sakai can pull during combat whenever. For some, going right from sneaking around to waltzing up to an enemy and calling them out will probably be the most satisfying way to play.
That is a pretty significant departure in design philosophy from the good-versus-evil ability sets that defined Infamous, and it's nice to get confirmation ahead of Tsushima's release that players don't have to make any decisions of the sort in order to dabble with all of Sakai's tools and abilities. Of course, we've also learned that there are plenty of other ways you'll be able to mold your experience in Tsushima, from a Japanese vocal track to a black-and-white film grain filter for gameplay. However you want it to look and sound, you'll also be able to play Ghost of Tsushima your way—leaning samurai, Ghost, or settling in-between—when it releases for the PS4 on July 17.