Ahead of the launch of Ghost of Tsushima: Legends we had the opportunity to talk to Creative Director, Nate Fox as well as Legends Lead, Daren Bridges about the new multiplayer mode as well as the major 1.1 update. In case you haven’t heard, Ghost of Tsushima Legends is a new multiplayer mode that will come with the new update. It has co-op story missions, four player wave-based survival missions and will get difficulty raids down the track.
NATE, I THINK WE SPOKE ABOUT A MONTH BEFORE GHOSTS CAME OUT. NOW THAT THE GAME IS OUT AND PEOPLE WHO HAVE PLAYED IT, HOW HAVE YOU FOUND THE REACTION TO THE GAME?
Nate Fox: Well, you know, I’ve never worked on a game where after you ship it, you get to be so close to people’s reaction. Watching streamers play the game, watching them cry in scenes, even watching some of our actors stream the game. It’s been amazing. It feels like the game has this identity. it’s past just making the game, now you get to share the game in a very, very real way with people that we’ve never ever been able to do before in any of our previous products.
IT’S NOT JUST LEGENDS THAT’S COMING IN THE NEW UPDATE, THERE’S QUITE A FEW THINGS IN THE 1.1 UPDATE TOO. HOW MUCH OF THE UPDATE ARE THINGS THAT WERE LEFT ON THE CUTTING ROOM FLOOR AND HOW MUCH IS BASED ON FAN FEEDBACK?
Nate Fox: So our 1.1 update really is in two halves. There’s Legends mode, which is huge and then there is New Game Plus, armour loadouts, and a host of other things. Everything other than Legends is directly in response to what fans asked for. We read all the comments. We know they want New Game Plus, we know that they want armour loadouts, we know that people really want to have a display of how much time they’ve been playing the game, so we’re going to give that to them. I didn’t know this was a feature that people were passionate about, but it turns out it is, so we want to honour that.
Speaking about Legends, I would say that Ghost of Tsushima is quite an isolated experience. I don’t think anybody was expecting the game to get multiplayer. When was this decision made and why?
Daren Bridges: It was from the beginning, actually. From the very first pitch when we were talking we knew that we wanted to have a big, cooperative multiplayer element and we wanted that to be part of the core experience and a pillar of the game Coming to Legends, there’s a lot of stuff that in a single player game, especially an open world game, and especially a very story focused game is harder to adapt to a co-op experience. And so we found this nice marriage. All the missions in Legends are kind of stories told by a storyteller, kind of like the mythic missions in Tsushima. They’re all told by a storyteller and it’s his kind of take on events that have happened, the Mongol invasion, the repelling the Jin and that and ghost repelling this overwhelming force. So it felt like that was a really cool mix up that would allow us to connect it to Jin’s story, but also give us the freedom to really focus on the co op gameplay elements that we wanted to hit.
IN TERMS OF THE STORY IN LEGENDS, DOES IT TOUCH ON ANY OF THE PLOT POINTS THAT ARE LEFT OPEN OR IS IT COMPLETELY SEPERATE?
Daren Bridges: Yeah, it’s completely separate. it has the core elements like the Mongols invading, but he’s exaggerating it to say well also there were Oni and all these other supernatural things and then he’s saying and the Ghost is repelling them but actually there’s more than one Ghost and it’s not a human, it’s the spirit of our fallen warriors that have risen to defend the island, so you’ll see elements of things that carry over from single player but it all the two player story missions are unique stories and there’s an arc that carries forward to the raid that will release in the weeks ahead.
IT WAS MENTIONED THAT THERE WOULD BE A HIGHER CHALLENGE LEVEL IN NEW GAME PLUS. IS THAT JUST ENEMIES TAKING MORE DAMAGE OR DEALING MORE DAMAGE OR IS THERE MORE TO IT?
Nate Fox: So when you start New Game Plus, we knew that you would have already gone through the story once and your hero would be tough as nails. You would have gotten all this resolve and all these amazing abilities. Moreover, you would have gotten very skillful with the combat as it is, so you’re very powerful. So we ramped up all of the beginning enemies to be equally challenging and that doesn’t mean giving them a bigger stack of hit points, it means making them more aggressive, making them harder to get a hit in on. In this way, when you start a New Game Plus, you’re not just going to be in God Mode walking over everybody. The villains are going to be at you level. If players want it easier, they can always dial it down and if they want it harder, they can dial it up.
PHOTO MODE WAS HUGE WHEN THE GAME LAUNCHED? THAT WAS ONE OF THE THINGS I SAW AT LAUNCH ALL OVER MY SOCIAL MEDIA? WHAT’S BEEN IMPROVED THERE?
Nate Fox: There absolutely are some improvements to photo mode, different letterboxing options, new stamps, and my personal favorite is you can add a glint to the sword, so no matter which way you’re shooting your shot, you’ll majestically have that Katana just pop off the screen.
Daren Bridges: We’ve also adapted it for Legends mode, so you can actually do co-op photo mode. This is something everyone has to opt into, but you can take group photos. You can pose together, or time things together. You can also switch, so if one person has a really cool moment they’ve captured, so everyone could do a photo mode of that specific hero, so I’m super excited to see what people come up with.
A LOT OF PEOPLE WERE REALLY EXCITED TO SEE THAT YOU COULD PET YOU DOG IN THE NEW UPDATE. WHAT OTHER THINGS MIGHT SURPRISE PEOPLE?
Nate Fox: So when you’re going through New Game Plus, we wanted to make sure that you got a fresh experience. So no matter what you do, you get rewarded with ghost flowers that you can then use to purchase new armour dyce, but also new charms and these charms when you equip them, they change the game, so you mentioned one that allows you to sneak up on Mongal dogs, pet them, and then they fight alongside you. You couldn’t have done that in the first time through because we’re being very realistic and you can’t just pet a dog and have it want to kill it’s master, but we’re gonna let you do that in New Game Plus, so that you get a fresh experience. There’s another charm, if you use the Heavenly Storm, while there’s a storm going on, a bolt of lightning will come out of the sky and torch the enemy, and it makes you feel like a god. It changes the way that you play. We have some cursed charms that make the game radically harder if you’re a masochist, of which I am one and so it just gets to be brutally difficult, should you be that kind of person.
WHAT DOES THE FUTURE OF GHOST OF TSUSHIMA LOOK LIKE AFTER THIS UPDATE?
Nate Fox: Well, I know for me, it’s so exciting just to see people play the game and give us feedback. We said at the start of the interview, all of our features outside of Legends mode came from people asking for them, so things like our armour loadout feature that we’re putting in, where you can put any sorts of charms you want on particular armour to really tweak a particular build like your stealth build then swap armour so that you can be in your melee build very, very quickly. We just hadn’t thought of that. It took the players giving us the feedback for us say, what a great idea, let’s build it. So I want to take a good, long look at all of the feedback that people give us from this 1.1 build and particularly look at all of the feedback and photos that come from Legends mode, and then use that to kind of read the tea leaves for what the future will be.
Ghost of Tsushima: Legends launches exclusively on PS4 on October 17th as a free update for existing owners.