'Ghost Of Tsushima' Won't Feature Waypoints, Focus Is On Player Freedom
Even the very best AAA open-world games are guilty of falling into familiar habits. Towers or vantage points from which to survey the land and unlock new areas on the map. Ultimately pointless fetch quests and endless collectibles. Waypoints peppered across the map that lead to secrets and new locations.
Out of all of these cliches, I find waypoints to be the least forgivable. Opening up a map to look at a waypoint completely defeats the object of exploring a new world, surely? I want to be surprised when I discover a dungeon or cave on my travels, I don't want to spend five minutes trudging towards a cave icon or question mark, already safe in the knowledge that something is definitely waiting for me when I get there.
This is one area where Ghost Of Tsushima will attempt to deviate from the pack. Sucker Punch's upcoming PS4 open-world stealth adventure aims to reward player curiosity by eliminating waypoints, thus encouraging us to stop mindlessly marching towards markers on a map and start engaging with the world itself.
Speaking in an old developer diary (as rediscovered by VG247), Sucker Punch Art Director Jason Connell spoke a little bit about how the game's feudal Japan setting is all about player choice and ultimate freedom.
"We really want you to have that choice of, 'Hey, that cool bamboo forest over there, I really wanna check it out. I wanna head in that direction and see what it is,'" Connel explained. "There's no waypoint. There's nothing that says: 'Go here and look at this bamboo forest.'"
"Hopefully, we're presenting something that's beautiful and exotic," he continued, "that's different than the current place that you might be in - and that will come at a world choice. That's your adventure choice."
You might remember that The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild adopted a similar approach. Rather than throw a bunch of markers on a map for Link to follow, players would instead have to pay attention to the environment to find interesting new secrets and areas.
Climbing mountains to scout out potential points of interest on the horizon felt like a much more engaging way to explore. It also meant you never really knew what you'd find when you reached your destination. It was an approach that clearly worked for Nintendo. Breath of the Wild was an instant critical and commercial juggernaut - we even voted it as our Game of the Decade last month.
Ghost Of Tsushima is currently targeting a summer 2020 release, and I for one look forward to its waypoint-free approach to open-world design. Let me loose on that gorgeous world, already.
Featured Image Credit: Sony