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Ghost Of Tsushima’s Black-And-White Mode Is More Than A Simple Filter, Says Dev

A lot of work went into the alternative visual mode.


ghost of tsushima

We just a few weeks away from the official release of Ghost of Tsushima. The game will serve as the first party swansong for the PS4, and promises us an open world filled with samurai action. Anyone with even a small familiarity of old school samurai films can see the influence here, and Sucker Punch isn’t hiding it, specifically the influence from one specific filmmaker.

In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Creative Director John Connell talked about the influence of late Japanese Director Akira Kurosawa. In fact, the game’s black-and-white mode that was revealed earlier is an homage to his early samurai films such as Sanjuro and Seven Samurai. It’s more than just a fun black and white filter, too. The team went to great lengths to actually get the black and white levels right and accurate, something most of these types of filers don’t bother with, and they even went to older medium to emulate the sound and visual quality to make the game feel as close to those old samurai movies as possible. They are even dubbing the mode Kurosawa Mode after getting permission from the estate.

“We have this great game that transports people back to feudal Japan and Akira Kurosawa was one of our reference guides, especially early on about how we wanted it to feel,” Connell explained. “As we got closer and closer to making that a reality, we were like, ‘What do we call this special mode that we created, this black-and-white throwback?’ We threw out a bunch of different words and we thought, ‘What would be awesome would be if we could call it Kurosawa Mode.’ In order to do that, we felt that we needed to reach out to the estate and see if that’s something they’d be interested in. We sent a short video showing what it generally looks like, what it feels like.

“We actually did some research on the curves that may have existed on that kind of film that [Kurosawa] might’ve used. How deep were the blacks? How bright were the whites? And lastly,” he said. “We actually toyed with the audio a little bit. Our audio team have an internal tool that mimicked sounds of old TV and, specifically, megaphones, radios, TVs back to the ’50s.” 

Ghost of Tsushima will release only on the PlayStation 4 on July 17th. The review embargo will lift a few days before that on the 14th, so keep your eyes open.