Ghost of Tsushima has turned out to be a major hit for PlayStation. Leading up to the game’s release date there were concerns that its homage to samurai cinema would be too niche or that it would ape other open world games too closely. Spurred on by the lockdown-induced gaming fever many of us fell victim to in the summer of 2020, Ghost of Tsushima would crush expectations to become on the PS4’s must-have exclusives. Having since launched on PS5 alongside the Iki Island DLC and after debuting its superb multiplayer expansion, it’s become an all-time great and a perfect title to help headline Sony’s revamped PlayStation Plus service.
Development on Ghost of Tsushima hasn’t been publicly announced by Sony and Sucker Punch Productions, yet the original game’s critical and commercial success – combined with the spotting of certain studio job listings – point to a sequel currently in the pipeline. Where will this sequel take us and, more importantly, will it replace original protagonist Jin Sakai?
We won’t delve into spoiler territory here. What we will say is that – like most open-world video games – Ghost of Tsushima leaves the door open for players to continue exploring and complete side content even after those final credits have rolled.
By the end of the game, Jin has become a one-man war machine, having successfully pushed back the invading Mongol hordes. Unless you’ve been digging into the real-world history that inspired Ghost of Tsushima, you may not know that the Mongols actually won, carving a path towards the Japanese mainland after ravaging Tsushima and Iki. They would advance to the northwestern Hakata Bay but would go no further. Prepared to wheel out the same monstrous tactics, the Mongols simply vanished overnight, their warships believed to have been scattered by a great storm.
Something else you may not know is that there was a second Mongol invasion just years after. This would prove just as devastating for the residents of Tsushima with their home once again used as a stepping stone as the invaders lunged for Japan. However, once again, the Mongols would be scattered, this time by a legendary kamikaze, or “divine wind”.
This kamikaze could be a metaphor for Jin Sakai’s efforts to thwart the Mongols yet again in Ghost of Tsushima 2. If Sucker Punch decides to stick with this setting and time period, we could see an opening where Jin’s homeland is annihilated by the invaders, forcing him into refuge, where he rebuilds his ragtag resistance.
That’s if Sucker Punch doesn’t decide to replace Jin. We’ve seen the studio fold away lead protagonists before with inFamous replacing Cole McGrath for Delsin Rowe. However, Sony is currently trying its best to create mascots for the PlayStation brand, with Jin often seen shoulder to shoulder with Horizon’s Aloy, Kratos, as well as Nathan Drake and others.
Still, there’s a good argument for Sucker Punch drawing a line under Jin’s journey. Not only would the developers have to make one of the original game’s endings canon, its players have already scoured the island of Tsushima from its highest peak to its lowest valley. If a sequel were to follow the second Mongol invasion, that inherent sense of deja vu would make a sequel less impactful.
Perhaps Sucker Punch could take us to a completely different era in Japan’s storied history. It’s easy to forget that the Mongol invasion took place hundreds of years before the Warring States – or Edo – period where many great samurai are set amidst the bloody clash of warlords. Focusing on a conflict within this era presents numerous narrative and gameplay opportunities with more advanced weapons and a wealth of historical personae.
Then again, that’s what made Ghost of Tsushima such a brilliant game in the first place. Instead of sweeping battles, it favoured tactical skirmishes that gave players a choice between stealth, skilled swordsmanship, or all-out carnage.
Wherever Ghost of Tsushima 2 takes us, and whoever leads this likely sequel remains to be seen. What’s most important, however, is how Sucker Punch evolves each pillar in its samurai simulator formula. Having set the bar for other open world action games, we’re curious to see how the sequel will top the studio’s previous efforts.