Off the Beaten Path
Ghost of Tsushima exploration will be helpful to your success in the game, but you won't have to do it. Skip out on wandering around the island, though, and you'll miss out on some pretty cool equipment and abilities.
"[Not] all of the things that we make [...] are going to be seen by every player," said Ghost of Tsushima Game Director Nate Fox in an interview with Press Start. "That is the nature of giving people freedom."
One intriguing aspect of the game that we've recently learned about is the lack of traditional waypoints. Instead, players will be guided along by the wind. Head in the direction it's blowing and you'll progress the game's main story — but you'll also risk missing out on a lot of the game.
Nate Fox, in fact, emphasizes that he'd love for players to "get lost." The theme of a wandering samurai is a popular trope within the genre, and Ghost of Tsushima exploration embraces that with its subtle waypoint mechanics. Taking the time to explore will certainly have some benefits, that's for sure.
"It’s an [open-world] game that gives you a lot of freedom in both how you choose to tackle problems, but also in what order you want to go after different narratives," Fox explained.
"The game is an anthology of stories, it’s not just Jins and that’s part of the reward of going out and seeing what’s over the next hill."
Is Ghost of Tsushima Exploration Required to Win?
A central theme of Ghost of Tsushima and its open world is giving players options. Jin Sakai was originally an honorable samurai who would only ever consider a stand-up, face-to-face fight. The invasion of the Mongols has made this a suicidal proposition — not necessarily a problem for a samurai, but certainly a problem for someone who's concerned with actually defeating an invading force.
As a consequence, Jin will gradually pick up more and more "Ghost" abilities, learning ninja techniques and finding new pieces of equipment to help subtly destroy his enemies. Exploration will be central to uncovering these new goodies, but this also won't be a loot shooter with a samurai flavor tacked on.
"Yeah this is not a game about loot drops," Nate Fox continued. "It is a game about story and exploration. So if you go on Jin’s journey from Samurai to Ghost, you’ll get access to some abilities and some weapons[,] but if you really want the full diversity of possibilities, you have to explore, you have to meet side characters, you have to go places [that] you’re not really even told exist."
Ultimately, the central theme of Ghost of Tsushima exploration is freedom. Players are free to explore and find more techniques and equipment, but you probably won't have to. If you do decide to blaze through the game, though, you'll surely be missing out on a lot of cool stuff.
How do you think you'll play Ghost of Tsushima — will you aim for more of a samurai style or a ninja style? Do you think this game will live up to the hype? Let us know in the comments below!