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Ghost of Tsushima creative director on real-world response to the game: "I couldn't be happier"

Ghost of Tsushima: Iki Island
(Image credit: Sucker Punch)

Ghost of Tsushima racked up accolades, but one of the "biggest joys" for its creative director was bringing more attention to its real-life inspiration.

As the release date for Ghost of Tsushima Director's Cut approaches on August 20, we talked to Sucker Punch creative director Nate Fox about the studio's continued work on the game. We brought up the fact that he and co-director Jason Connell were appointed permanent tourism ambassadors for the island of Tsushima, and Fox said a hand-painted scroll commemorating the ambassadorship is now one of the most prized keepsakes he has for his work on the game.

"To me, that is absolutely the most dear thing,' Fox explains. "Because the people of Tsushima were so kind to us, we went there to do research, and I couldn't be happier that the game is inspiring people to want to visit this beautiful island. It's a circle that I didn't know was going to happen. And it's one of the biggest joys of making this game."

Aside from increasing tourist interest in the island, Ghost of Tsushima's popularity also had a direct impact on one of the island's most important cultural landmarks: a Torii gate at the Watatsumi Shrine in the center of the island was destroyed during a typhoon in September 2020, and one of the shrine's priests started a crowdfunding campaign to repair it. Ghost of Tsushima players caught wind, and it ended up raising 22 million more yen (about $200,000) more than its initial goal of 5 million yen (about $45,000).

Fox says the developers were "very moved" by Tsushima as they made their own digital counterpart, and by the fans who become so invested in the real-life version in turn.

"Who knew that was going to happen? But at the same time, it makes you feel, as a video game creator, that you're not making a piece of entertainment that is just completely disposable because people are getting involved in the real world as a result.," Fox adds. "It's an incredible thing."

Fox also revealed that the new Japanese lip sync for Ghost of Tsushima Director's Cut was made possible by PS5's super-fast SSD - but maybe not in the way you'd expect.

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Connor Sheridan

I got a BA in journalism from Central Michigan University - though the best education I received there was from CM Life, its student-run newspaper. Long before that, I started pursuing my degree in video games by bugging my older brother to let me play Zelda on the Super Nintendo. I've previously been a news intern for GameSpot, a news writer for CVG, and now I'm a staff writer here at GamesRadar.