Ghost Of Tsushima Head Says Swords Should Be Lethal, Or “Its A Nerf Tube”

Ghost of Tsushima is coming very soon, and Sony finally gave us a lengthy look at gameplay with the latest State of Play presentation. That included a detailed section on combat, and in an interview with GameSpot Sucker Punch creative director Nate Fox explained how the studio is aiming to make swordplay feel authentic.

In the demonstration, we saw both stealthy, distraction-based gameplay and more direct combat, as the hero Jin took down a half-dozen Mongols with a few strokes of his katana. Instant-kill animations are common for stealth games, but quickly dispatching enemies in open combat looked much different. Fox explained why that was important.

“One of the things that we strive for really, really diligently is to keep swords lethal,” he said. “To feel like those samurai movie battles, enemies have to die with a few strokes of a katana, otherwise it’s not a katana, it’s a Nerf tube. That means that when they hit you with swords, you also are going to die in a few strikes. It’s very challenging.”

To that end, most of the combat we saw in the demo was counter-based, as Jin waited patiently for enemies to strike and then quickly countered and defeated them. Fox said that requires careful timing, but it’s not the only way to approach an encounter. You can also be the aggressor and strike first.

Fox also pointed out that it’s not a binary choice to go stealthy or combat-focused. You’ll retain both skills throughout the game, and while you can lean into one or the other with skill points, you’ll still have both options.

Ghost of Tsushima is coming on July 17, roughly a month after Sony’s other big summer release, The Last of Us 2. For much more on Ghost of Tsushima, including its unexpected connection to a classic comic book, check out our full interview with Nate Fox.

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