Gamasutra: Sukhraj Johal’s Blog-Ghost of Tsushima

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Ghost of Tsushima is one of the only open worlds in recent memory, where open world content has nailed the player experience that can distract players from the main quest line of the main character. Many of the side quests the game has to offer are not hollow fetch quests. They often provide players with rich narrative content. To name just a few, you may find a former student lost, hunt a murderer, or investigate a disappearance.

I would like to explore how the developers of Suckerpunch Productions created a living world. Let’s analyze one great example of a game that effectively attracts players. Mythical story: Yarikawa’s Revenge Heart..


I found a musician sitting on the road where the body was found at the Yarikawa ruins. He learns about the ancient spirit of demanding the brutally killing of Yarikawa villagers’ enemies. The samurai must track and take care of his revenge!

Quest flow

The quests mapped to the flow diagram are:

Repeated elements, such as looking for white smoke, are used as a means of advancing the story, slowly understanding the vicious acts that this spirit is doing until you reach the limit where you, as a player, have to fight the spirit. To do.

Quest tutorial

* Credit to The Ninja Guy Don for walkthrough video *

1.1. Offer openYou have completed the quest goal for filling out the checklist

A common trend in side quests in other games is the idea of ​​”complete the checklist.” Whether to execute a series of events in chronological order or fetch a specific number of items. For example, collect 5 feathers to complete the quest.

The quest progresses linearly, but the developers of Suckerpunch have packaged it so that players feel like they’re slowly solving a mystery. This is done by drip-feeding new goals as the player progresses. For example, when a player investigates something, he may gather clues that lead to something else. This approach continues to intrigue the player, rather than laying out all the goals that need to be achieved before the quest begins. By presenting everything in advance in the commentary dump, players can see how the mission will be resolved. Something more free, such as “Investigating the Spirit Killing People,” will provide some mystery and conspiracy.

2.2. Remix an existing game system/Assets for making distinctions

During AAA game development, side quests often don’t have a large budget to create custom content compared to the main quest. This can cause the side quests to start to feel very repetitive due to the official quest structure. However, Suckerpunch developers have sought to effectively remix existing in-game systems to present their own scenarios and storybeats.

For example, in the Ghost of Tsushima, we often follow someone to get to a place of interest or overlook a Mongolian hideout. However, this quest turned over the idea that designers had to follow someone. Untrusted. This simple prerequisite switch creates a different player experience that can cause players to feel the edge, as NPCs can lead to ambush. For the system, we didn’t need any custom code, but the designers used it in their own way to create a unique experience.

3.3. Design quests specific to your character’s motives and goals

The best quests in the game often involve moments when Jin struggles and has to fight for his internal goals. One is to save Tsushima Island and its people from external threats.

What makes this quest interesting is that Jin is not trying to save his care. In this quest, the people of Tanigawa want to kill him because of the bloody history his family had in the past. Jin must confront the concept, and overall, this quest creates a distinction by exploring different aspects of the meaning of protecting people.

4.4. Providing meaningful rewards

Quest rewards are skillfully woven into Mythic Tales. At the beginning of each myth story, an animated description of the myth is shared, often showing the powerful rewards players will receive for completing the quest. Providing meaningful rewards that empower players in some way adds motivation to watch the quest to the end!

thank you for reading!

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Sukhraj Johal -Game & Level Designer




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