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Ghost of Tsushima Breaks Down Katana Combat in New Blog Post

Speed, sharpness, precision

Poorna Shankar Updated: Posted:
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Developer Sucker Punch recently shared their approach to combat in Ghost of Tsushima, their upcoming Samurai game for PS4.

In a blog post, they state they were aiming to capture the correct feel for the katana, the weapon of the samurai. They ended up focusing on speed, sharpness, and precision. They wanted attacks to be fast with quick slashing movements. However, they talked about the issue they ran into with human reaction speeds,

“Human reaction times are slower than you think — it takes about 0.3 seconds to respond to a visual stimulus, no matter how simple the stimulus and response are. That’s just how long the nervous system and your brain take to figure things out. This time doesn’t vary much from person to person — we’ve done lots of internal tests, and everyone’s pure reaction times are about the same.”

To that end, they sort of tweaked these limits. NPCs therefore can’t be faster than a player’s reaction, even though a player’s attacks can be fast. They tuned the speed of multiple NPCs attacking too, so it felt like you were always under pressure.

Sharpness was also touched on, with the main feature being player focus. In short, the team wanted you to stay focused during combat in order to defend, but also initiate attacks. Precision, naturally, plays into this. The team focused on the responsiveness of combat so that Jin responds instantly to player input. This also extends to blocking the different methods and layers of blocking.

You can check out the full blog here.


Poorna Shankar

A highly opinionated avid PC gamer, Poorna blindly panics with his friends in various multiplayer games, much to the detriment of his team. Constantly questioning industry practices and a passion for technological progress drive his love for the video game industry. He pulls no punches and tells it like he sees it. He runs a podcast, Gaming The Industry, with fellow writer, Joseph Bradford, discussing industry practices and their effects on consumers.