Before today's extended gameplay demo, most of what we've seen of Ghost of Tsushima has been focused on its storytelling and combat flair, all drawing heavily from samurai cinema. Today, Sucker Punch opened the demo of Tsushima with a look at its exploration—you know, what you do when you're not in standoffs or slicing up soldiers—and by contrast, that gameplay is almost Ghibli-esque.
A while back, Sucker Punch alluded to ways players will navigate Ghost of Tsuhima's world beyond waypoints on maps, and in addition to following the gales of wind that rustle the grass and trees, Tsushima will be populated with friendly, helpful guide animals that point to areas of interest and secrets.
Sucker Punch's Jason Connell, narrating the Tsushima State of Play stream, says players should be on the lookout for animals "trying to get your attention." Sure enough, we then see a bird fly alongside player character Jin Sakai, flitting in the direction of a stranger in need. Later, a precocious fox leads Sakai to one of the many shrines dotted across Tsushima.
Trailers past and the later showcase of Sakai's "Samurai" and "Ghost"-style fighting abilities make Ghost of Tsushima look like a brutal-if-striking game, but the open world interactions with nature show that'll all be broken up with calmer, more meditative stretches of exploration. Hopefully, in practice, they're not just a way of repackaging aging open world tropes-but even if they are, we'll surely get some very pretty Photo Mode captures of Jin at peace with the animals of the forest.
The latter half of today's gameplay stream focused on the combat and customization on offer in Ghost of Tsushima as well as some neat features, like expanded options for Sucker Punch's trademark Photo Mode and a black-and-white filter for gameplay that really drives home the Akira Kurosawa inspiration. Ghost of Tsushima will come out on July 17, having been delayed a few weeks to accommodate COVID-19 pandemic-related changes and, perhaps, to leave a little elbow room for The Last of Us Part 2 in June.