Ghost of Tsushima’s developers have been honoured for their depiction of the real island of Tsushima, with a ceremony set to celebrate their new roles as tourism ambassadors.
Ghost of Tsushima might be nominated for 10 BAFTA Games awards, including the EE Game of the Year award (after already winning big at The Game Awards 2020), but now they’ve received an honour that speaks to so much more than its stunning visuals, compelling narrative, or complex performances.
In a touching gesture, the lead developers have been honoured by the real-world island of Tsushima, being appointed permanent tourism ambassadors.
Nate Fox and Jason Connell, who directed the open-world samurai title by Sucker Punch Productions, are set to be honoured as ambassadors of Tsushima in an upcoming ceremony.
The formal ceremony offering an award and letter of appreciation will be held digitally due to coronavirus restrictions, but there are plans to invite the pair to the island once the pandemic is over, alongside the entire Sucker Punch team.
Tsushima major Hiroki Hitakatsu has given heartfelt praise to the critically acclaimed game’s developers:
“Fox and Connell spread the name and history of Tsushima to the whole world in such a wonderful way. Even a lot of Japanese people do not know the history of the Gen-ko period. When it comes to the world, the name and location of Tsushima is literally unknown, so I cannot thank them enough for telling our story with such phenomenal graphics and profound stories.”
I've had a really fortunate career but this is almost hard to even process. Thank you Tsushima. 😍 https://t.co/C5GB2IkDVm
— Jason Connell (@artenvelope) March 5, 2021
Ghost of Tsushima is an open-world action-stealth game that takes place in 1274 on the titular island of Tsushima, where the protagonist Jin Sakai fights against a Mongol invasion as one of the few remaining samurai. The story-driven game is inspired by historical events, being based on the first Mongol crusade against Japan when the people of Tsushima were brutally slaughtered.
While the characters and specific plot lines are, of course, fictional, Nate Fox has previously asserted that “this is a game that is entirely grounded in reality”. The game strives to transport players to 1274 Japan, and in doing so tells the tragic story of an island that has been forgotten by history, so it’s easy to see why the people of Tsushima are so grateful.
Beyond simply a ceremonial title, the appointed ambassadorship will extend into the city’s partnership with Sony Interactive Entertainment to create a new tourism campaign focused on Ghost of Tsushima. The campaign is set to encourage fans to visit the island – once it is safe to do so – and discover more about Tsushima’s history and landmarks.
The game’s release has already had a concrete impact on the island, with a torii (a sacred Japanese gate that marks a Shinto shrine) being repaired in December 2020 after fans contributed to donating more than 27 million yen (over 300,000 AUD).
The gate at the Watatsumi Shrine was toppled by a typhoon in September, with the fundraising campaign launched in November quickly surpassing its goal of 5 million yen.
#GhostofTsushima players became so enamored with the game's landscape that they've helped raise funds to restore a Torii destroyed by a typhoon on the real-life island of Tsushima. https://t.co/6MkjathhD1 pic.twitter.com/nRES9hXouj
— PlayStation LifeStyle by Mandatory (@PSLifeStyle) December 23, 2020
Despite being developed by a Western company, Ghost of Tsushima has a lot of supporters in Japan, with its portrayal of Japanese history gaining wide praise from local fans to Toshihiro Nagoshi, Sega’s chief creative officer who created the cult classic Yakuza series.
It’s clear that this game has genuinely helped players all over the world connect with Japan’s history and culture, which can only be a good thing.