Away from the furor of paying to access PS5 specific features, the Ghost of Tsushima: Director's Cut had my interest piqued for the new expansion alone. Named Ghost of Tsushima: Iki Island, the DLC will see Jin exploring a brand new island away from the shores of Tsushima. That's an opportunity for Sucker Punch to flex its narrative muscles again, this time in a smaller, self-contained environment. For me, that's the real draw of the Director's Cut. It was the narratives the original game explored through side quests that were the real draw of Ghost of Tsushima – the tales the game told between Jin and his allies, alongside the core revenge plot.
**Light spoilers for Ghost of Tsushima follow**
While Jin's quest to take down Khotun Khan is a constant driving force through Ghost of Tsushima, I couldn't help but push all the main quests to the back of my playthrough queue when tackling each of the distinct regions. That's because of the strength of the smaller, more human tales the game hides away. Honestly, Ghost of Tsushima does a bad job of selling these side quests to you. Initially, you're prompted to go speak to Yuna – the first of Jin's allies you'll meet after she saves you from the opening Battle of Komoda Beach – to help her find and rescue her brother, Taka. The game also suggests that you go and find Master Archer Ishikawa, who could serve as a useful fighter against the Mongols.
But these prompts quickly become few and far between, with the game teasing that exploring the side quest might bring you a resource like silk or a minor charm, but not the kind of in-game rewards that the core mission thread will reap. Thus, I bet many players may have missed out on the game's more intimate and interesting tales that really made Jin a more rounded character. Take Yuriko for example, the elderly housekeeper that helped raise Jin after his mother's death, and assisted his father. Through a series of smaller missions, you help the old woman pick flowers for her various potions – a simple task accompanied by stories of Jin's childhood and his family. I won't spoil what happens at the end of this micro-arc, but there's a tenderness and softness to Jin here at the macro level, as the pair explore the ruins of his village. And it's a moment you may well miss if you're bombing through the main campaign.
These side missions offer up chances to explore the relationships between Jin and his core allies, from siblings Yuna and Taka, to the last Monk, Norio, and Master Archer Ishikawa. The motivations and the intricacies of these characters are locked behind side missions, which makes them oh so rewarding to explore in full. Not to mention that there are LGBTQIA+ themes, and sensitively-tackled explorations of love and loss hidden within the side quests too.
Ghost of Ikishima
Ghost of Tsushima: Iki Island is bound to be another chance for Sucker Punch to show off the diverse range of its storytelling capabilities. This will no doubt be a self-contained narrative, which should allow more of these more personal narratives to be explored. Plus, due to the events of the core game, the fact that this is an entirely new island will mean the Iki Island story will have to be set after the original game's ending. Could that give us any hints as to where a potential sequel could take us? I'd certainly hope so.
What we do know is that Iki Island is an archipelago in the Tsushima Strait, not too far from Tsushima itself. It's much smaller than Tsushima (approximately a quarter of the size) but it's a volcanic island, meaning that it should be a much more visually different island to Tsushima – as you'll glimpse in the screenshots we've pulled from the trailer below.
The fact that we're getting more of Jin's story and this world with the Ghost of Tsushima: Director's Cut is exceedingly exciting. Rumors of a sequel in the works continue to emerge, and there's already a Ghost of Tsushima movie in development, so it's clear Sucker Punch isn't done with its new IP yet. And now neither are its fans.