The open world of the "Ghost of Tsushima" video game is getting bigger with the release of "Ghost of Tsushima Director's Cut."
The new expanded version from Sucker Punch Productions continues samurai Jin Sakai's fight against Mongol Empire invaders in the year 1274. The gamer plays Jin, one of the last surviving samurai, in the action-stealth adventure game.
The expansion takes the gamer to Iki Island, where new enemies and challenges await.
"We designed a story that would fit players' experiences whether they were coming to 'Ghost of Tsushima' for the first time or if they had played the game and beaten it like three times (on repeat playthroughs)," said Patrick Downs, a senior writer on the game.
"We wanted to create a story that would be equally meaningful and exciting for all of those players."
The journey to Iki Island further opens the book on Jin's past and adds layers to the original story.
"The things that made him who he is," Downs added. "And will give meaning to the main story on 'Ghost of Tsushima' but is still accessible to everyone whether you're a new player or you're coming back after dozens of hours."
Judging from thetrailer released this week, Jin lands in hot water almost immediately. He is captured and taken to an enemy camp run by someone known as The Eagle.
"The thing about Iki Island is Jin has had some traumatic experiences there. So going back he's going to have to wrestle with those kind of traumatic memories," said Downs. "And on the other hand, he's going to a place that isn't necessarily welcoming to samurai.
"We created our version of Iki Island to be a place where a lot of pirates and smugglers and raiders have taken refuge. So it's just not going back to deal with this Mongol threat, he's also got to negotiate a way through, with or around these people that live on Iki and have a very specific point view about the samurai.
"That was definitely our intention. It's not a slow burn. Things happen very quickly once you get there."
The new content essentially amounts to a new act to the original game, which had three acts, he added.
The "Director's Cut" comes out Aug 20.
Those who own the original PS4 game can purchase an upgrade to the "Director’s Cut" on PS4. Gamers can also upgrade from the original game on PS5.
For those who don't have the original game, the entire "Director's Cut" is also available for PS4 and 5.
The "Director's Cut" also allowed developers to improve the game in response to gamers' feedback. That includes options for alternate controller layouts and the ability to enable a target lock-on during combat, among other changes.
Some of the tweaks are minor but were requested by gamers. One example is Jin's quiver.
"People wanted an option to hide it," said Jason Connell, creative/art director at Sucker Punch. "Because they wanted to look cooler without it.
"That's a very small, somewhat insignificant thing that meant a lot to somebody."
Those changes will be available on a patch without having to buy the new version of the game.
The original "Ghost of Tsushima" game launched for PS4 in July 2020.
Sucker Punch's portfolio include the "Infamous" and "Sly Cooper" franchises. The developer, based in Bellevue, Wash., was acquired by Sony Computer Entertainment in 2011.
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This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 29, 2021
Neil Davidson, The Canadian Press