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‘John Wick’ director Chad Stahelski is bringing ‘Ghost of Tsushima’ to the big screen

The director of John Wick will be bringing a whole lot of action to Jin Sakai’s heroic tale in the upcoming Ghost of Tsushima movie adaptation.

In a world that has grown sceptical of video game movies, scarred by adaptations ranging from the cursed 1993 Super Mario Bros. film to last year’s wacky take on Sonic the Hedgehog, there are only a few games that feel destined for theatrical release. Ghost of Tsushima is one of them.

After taking the world by storm, and winning more than its fair share of awards, the critically acclaimed open-world action-stealth game has now set its sights on the big screen. Sony Pictures and PlayStation Productions have officially announced that Ghost of Tsushima is being developed as a feature film. This announcement comes on the back of news that the game has sold 6.5 million copies since it debuted in July 2020.

Ghost of Tsushima Film

While little information has been revealed in the realm of casting, filming or release dates, a massive name has already been attached to the project. Chad Stahelski, the director of John Wick, is on board to helm the upcoming film.

Beyond his work on John Wick, Stahelski is well known in the world of stunt coordination and choreography, having worked on a whole range of your favourite action flicks including Deadpool, Captain America: Civil War, The Hunger Games, and The Matrix Reloaded. It’s safe to say there’s going to be a whole lot of katana-wielding action to look forward to in Ghost of Tsushima.

Alex Young and Jason Spitz will be producing the film through their company 87Eleven Entertainment, alongside Asad Qizilbash and Carter Swan, who will represent PlayStation Productions. Sucker Punch Productions, who developed the game for PS4, will also remain involved as Executive Producers, with Peter Kang overseeing the project on the studio’s behalf.

While details of the plot have not been revealed, it is likely to reflect the narrative-driven arc of the game, which takes place in 1274 on the island of Tsushima, as one of the last remaining samurai fights back against a Mongol invasion. While Jin Sakai’s story is fictional, his plight to save Tsushima is inspired by a real Mongol crusade that ravaged the small Japanese island.

It makes perfect sense to bring this historical story to life through film, helping to share the tragic tale of a forgotten island. The residents of Tsushima themselves have already expressed their gratitude to the game’s creators for their accurate representation, recently honouring the lead developers as permanent tourism ambassadors.

Nate Fox, one of the developers, shared his praise for the island in the blog post announcing the Ghost of Tsushima movie:

“As a newly appointed ambassador for the real Island of Tsushima, I’d like to formally say – visit when it’s safe to, if you get a chance. The island is beautiful, the people are warm, and the history is all around you.”

“If you’re very, very lucky you’ll spot a Tsushima Cat. Then later, when the Ghost of Tsushima movie comes out, you can tell your friends about how you’ve been to the beach where the Mongols landed.”

Even without its valuable role in helping players worldwide connect with Japan’s history and culture, Ghost of Tsushima feels a good fit for the big screen. The game is already highly cinematic, with stunning visuals that capture sweeping natural landscapes and violent, yet beautiful combat.

The game clearly takes inspiration from classic samurai films, even including a black and white mode to mimic their iconic visuals and a ‘sound-on-film’ effect to emulate the audio of these early movies. At this point, it’s impossible to say how heavily the movie adaptation will deviate from these origins, but it will be interesting to see how these inspirations influence Stahelski’s vision.

Ghost of Tsushima is set to be the second movie arising from Sony Pictures and PlayStation Productions, following the Uncharted film starring Tom Holland that is finally due to hit cinemas in February 2022. The tale of Nathan Drake is finally in post-production, after over a decade in development hell, so hopefully the next PlayStation adaptation will run a bit more smoothly.

Sony also recently announced an HBO adaptation of The Last of Us, featuring The Mandalorian’s Pedro Pascal and Game of Thrones’ Bella Ramsey, so it seems that you can expect big names to continue being attached to their projects. All bets are now officially on for who will be transforming into the titular Ghost on the big screen.