The Hideo Kojima of horror video games is back! This time with another spooky surprise as he, along with the lovely Creative Director, Ikumi Nakamura, unveiled a new IP titled Ghostwire: Tokyo. Being published by Bethesda Softworks and developed by Tango Gameworks, you will see Tokyo as you’ve never before from the minds behind the action-horror masterpieces including the Resident Evil and Evil Within series.
So why am I excited about the game? Well, probably the same reason or reasons, you guys should be as well. Before I delve into what makes this title particularly intriguing, treat yourself to the dazzling cinematic trailer below that keeps plot points under wrap for now but gives a sense of the tone and setting of the game.
After watching the trailer, one aspect of the game immediately strikes me is the realistic rendition and portrayal of Tokyo. Although it’s still a CGI trailer, we can count on Tango Gameworks, based in Tokyo, to do the setting justice.
The city itself is unique to video games, as it has only been previously covered by the Yakuza series in a non-anime manner. The only other setting that is close to the aesthetics of Tokyo was portrayed in Sleeping Dogs which was set in modern-day Hong Kong.
In the trailer, shots comprise of bright, colorful streets of Tokyo to well-lit indoors and malls to the sacred yet ominous looking temples. It’s intriguing to ask how much of this setting will be fully explored, perhaps like a semi-open world game if Evil Within 2 is anything to go by. Lots of promising environments to traverse here as the trailer depicts.
Another unique aspect of the game, which is quite a departure from the previous horror survival thrillers from Shinji Mikami, is that you now are actually encouraged to fight back.
Sure, Resident Evil 4 had its fair share of action, it was still, at its core, a survival thriller designed to make you think twice about every next turn and conserving your ammo. Both the installments in the Evil Within series also catered heavily to stealth and made actual combat much harder so to discourage it.
Ghostwire: Tokyo, in contrast, takes a very different approach. Sure, the supernatural horror aspects are still there, but this time you are a pretty badass protagonist who can wield the bow with great accuracy and cast magical spells or abilities to fight the evil lurking every corner.
Call him a super-Ninja or Ronin if you’re too obsessed with the Avengers, but either way, the concept of our character is pretty cool, to say the least.
With a protagonist that has a tight and useful skill set for taking down powerful enemies, this is a step into uncharted territory and for Mikami and his team, and I couldn’t be more excited. The cinematic also ends with a clear message, one that calls for action rather than staying back:
“Don’t fear the unknown, attack it.”
Taking the spotlight away from Mikami-san for just a little bit, let’s focus on the real hero here, the Art Director behind the game, Ikumi Nakamura, who seems to have won a lot of gamers over with her style of presentation at the Bethesda E3 2019 conference.
Apart from her wholesome description of the game where she described it as “spooky” and “paranormal”, she is a talented artist. Her previous works include Okami, Bayonetta, and the Evil Within series.
A glance at the trailer, and you can already see how creative the enemy designs look. From the evil samurais above to a horned-mask man with figures floating behind as you can see below, the art is on point here. Everything screams originality and gives a feeling of a master of craft here, similar in vibes to what another game creator, Hideo Kojima, is doing with Death Stranding.
Suffice to say, with such experience in detailing character models and animating boss enemies in the past, Ghostwire: Tokyo will be as of a visual treat as it will be engaging in its story and gameplay.
Premise and Story Details
The trailer itself is very light on story details but we have more context thanks to Bethesda’s official website that provides the synopsis for the game:
“After strange disappearances hit Tokyo’s population, it’s up to you to uncover the source and purge the city of a strange, new evil. Armed with your own mysterious abilities, you will face down the occult, unravel conspiracy theories, and experience urban legends like never before.”
The official twitter for Tango Gameworks also describes the premise of the game similarly:
#GhostWireTokyo is a new kind of action-adventure game in which you are the hero rising up to purge Tokyo of supernatural evil.
We're so happy to share the announcement trailer with you. https://t.co/LIEuT5tKXH
— Tango Gameworks (EN) (@tango_gw_en) June 10, 2019
From what I can read, these evil figures discussed above, seem to be working for a rather demonic group or perhaps a cult where they obey and carry out the instructions of their leaders or “urban legends”, by standing in the way of the hero. The story itself seems to be centered around figuring out the cause of the human disappearances (like The Leftovers… check it out!) and solve this mysterious situation in the heart of Tokyo.
Moreover, whenever I hear the word “occult”, I can’t help but think of the works of H.P. Lovecraft so will there be similar elements at play here in Ghostwire: Tokyo? Feel free to get your hype and expectations up even higher.
When is it Releasing?
According to rumors, this will be a cross-gen multi-platform title. With an absence of release date and only a concept trailer so far, it’s safe to say it will launch closer to the release window of the next consoles.
If I were to put my money on a speculated release date, I’d say sometime in October judging from the previous games from Tango Gameworks both of which launched in the same month, one even on Friday the 13th of October. Clever.