Ghost of Tsushima has become one of the fastest-selling new IP fo Sony, but it was not an easy pitch for the developer Sucker Punch.
In a panel during PAX Online, the game producer, Brian Fleming explained how they were initially nervous to approach Sony Japan and Shuhei Yoshida with their pitch for a Japanese setting as a Western studio.
“We didn’t know: could we do it? and even more importantly, could we convince Sony Japan that we could do it? An important litmus test for us was, Ok, if we aren’t able to convince Shu (Shuhei Yoshida) — who was actually the person we went to — that this was a good idea and that we could do this, obviously with plenty of help, then we couldn’t do it.
So the pitch wasn’t widely shared inside Sucker Punch. It was maybe six or seven people who knew about it, and we took a meeting with Shu and Scott Rhode first just to vet this issue because we were so nervous about a western team tackling this material.
It was on the strength of Shu’s encouragement that we would embark on this journey. We sort of pre-vetted our concerns and I think Shu encouraged us and I think his advice was very sage. As you know Shu can be really really helpful. He’s a very wise guy.
His take was “You’re never really gonna fool anyone about this game having been made by a western team, but you can surround yourself with resources — some of which are inside Sony and outside resources — to do this well.”
He’s like “Your goal isn’t to pretend you’re something you’re not. Be a great version of yourself. Go on this journey and you can do well.”
It was on the strength of his support, which then turned into support from Sony Japan, and of course, the consultants that we used here in the studio, in L.A., and around the world… All of that contributed to us tackling it.”
As we saw with the launch of the game, it was a critical and commercial success for Sony. It was all thanks to the encouragement of Shuhei Yoshida and the advice that he gave to Sucker Punch that they were able to achieve this vision for the project.