Some of the loading times in Ghost of Tsushima were intentionally extended to give players slightly more time to read on-screen tips.
Lead engine programmer Adrian Bentley explained the conundrum in an interview with Kotaku. Even on a base PS4, the load times in Ghost of Tsushima are exceptionally fast, especially for an open-world game of such scale and detail. Bentley says this is largely thanks to the way the game's tailor-made engine reads and remembers data and assets, particularly with regards to post-death loading times.
"When you die, we only need [to] re-run this quick ‘spawn’ process with most of the data already loaded," he says. "In contrast, many other engines use serialization-based approaches, which require reloading a substantial amount of data to run again."
As a result, it only takes a few seconds to respawn after you die, which is great. However, like many games, Ghost of Tsushima shows on-screen tips during loading screens to help remind players of various story and gameplay elements. The trouble is, the game's post-death loading times were so short that players didn't have time to properly read any tips. So, to give inquisitive players "more than a fraction of a second" to read these tips, Sucker Punch did the unthinkable and deliberately extended its loading times. They were still blazing fast even after the extension, but not so short that you'd get whiplash trying to read any tips.
Console games become more optimized as consoles age and developers become more familiar with them, so it's no coincidence that Ghost of Tsushima, one of the PS4's swan song exclusives, has best-in-class load times for open-world games. The fact that developers like Sucker Punch can draw this level of performance out of a PS4 hard drive makes us even more excited for the PS5 SSD tech coming later this year, which has been pushed as a defining feature for next-gen games.
Here are some Ghost of Tsushima tips to help you avoid post-death loading screens in the first place.