‘Ghost of Tsushima’ black-and-white cinematic mode takes inspiration from Akira Kurosawa films

Ghost of Tsushima

Ghost of Tsushima is Sucker Punch’s latest brainchild which is a game heavily inspired after Samurai era Japan. It’s set at a time when the Samurai code remains in place and a growing threat of the Mongol empire lingers.

For a game that has all the hallmarks of ancient setting, it draws inspiration from classic films for its portrayal. As it appears, the developers at Sucker Punch chose Akira Kurosawa’s creations as the archetype of the game’s visual vogue.

Rebirth of a Concept

Displayed in mostly black-and-white, the developers coined the term “Kurosawa mode” to give tribute to a legendary filmmaker. Like the protagonist of the game who is a lone samurai, some of Kurosawa’s highlights involve films with a similar premise.

More than just the color depiction, however, it also encompasses visual cues that are essential for an engrossing scene, such as the wind. In this note, the Kurosawa mode features a more cranked up presence of wind, making everything it touches move in exaggeration.

Gameplay-wise, we are already made aware that this serves a special purpose in leading players towards in-game goals.

But that level of amplification seems to play more influence in how scenes are displayed during the said mode. Essentially making environmental dynamics as influenced by the wind as exquisite as possible. That is, in order to seemingly compensate for the lack of vividness due to the loss of other distinguishing colors.

Kurosawa Estate Approves

While Kurosawa has long departed, the developers took to those who look after the estate for the blessing instead. An approval did they get after giving a pitch and showcasing a video of what it would look like.

Adapting classic cinematography has not been easy with modern technology. It might seem to be a simple case of an added filter over a graphics for a “duller” or classic look. But the development team at Sucker Punch had been hard at work at researching the exact science of their undertaking.

Finding the perfect ratio between hues of black and white has been the centerpiece of the research. One that entails watching various samurai feels and finding the commonality among them all.

Making the game appear more authentic to the style it tries to mimic, the developers added a special coat. Through a layer of grain, Ghost of Tsushima’s scene appears as though coming from the early years of filmmaking.

Classic Sound Quality

But to copy an art style from the past is not ever complete with just the visuals alone. For this matter, Sucker Punch already takes effort in producing sounds that jibe with the graphics. Which, too, took research by emulating audio outputs using old technology.

Image used courtesy of Dan Allen Gaming/YouTube Screenshot

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