Exploring the ‘Akira Kurosawa Mode’ in new video game ‘Ghost of Tsushima’
Sucker Punch Productions is already a big name in the video game industry because of their popular Infamous series. They have been in the business for the last 20 years and with their latest release, Ghost of Tsushima, the company has once again announced to the world that they are, indeed, masters of the craft. Released on July 17 of this year, Ghost of Tsushima is an open world action-adventure game set in feudal Japan during the first Mongol invasion of Japan in 1274. Users play as Jin Sakai, one of the few remaining samurai on the Tsushima Island, a character who tries his best to uphold the revered samurai code of honour while caught up in various conflicts, both physical and psychological.
Fans of classic cinema will especially enjoy this game because of a special gameplay mode that the developers decided to add to give the game an interesting dimension. Called the ‘Kurosawa Mode’, a feature which was specifically “inspired by the movies of the legendary filmmaker Akira Kurosawa”. Ghost of Tsushima’s director Nate Fox confirmed that it was meant as a tribute to Kurosawa, saying: “We really wanted to pay respect to the fact that this game is so totally inspired by the work of this master.”
Adding: “We tried to show the Kurosawa estate the tone of the project‚ that it wasn’t meant to be a fantasy game, and that we took the characters very, very seriously.” True to its name, selecting the aforementioned mode enables the player to experience the samurai epic in the style of Kurosawa’s samurai films like Throne of Blood (1957), Seven Samurai (1954) and Yojimbo (1961), complete with stunning black-and-white visuals, Japanese dialogues and monaural sound effects.
Gameinformer’s Jeff Cork speaks highly of the gameplay mode, saying, “Kurosawa mode is, in a word, breathtaking. Even though I doubt the game’s visual design was cobbled together with black-and-white visuals in the front of the team’s mind, you might be able to convince me otherwise.” He added that “Vistas are striking and atmospheric, with events such as thunderstorms and dramatic showdowns losing little — if any — of their visual appeal.”
Ghost of Tsushima is testament to the fact that new interactive forms of media like video games can push the boundaries of the aesthetic achievements of cinema.
Watch the beautiful gameplay in the ‘Kurosawa Mode’, below: