In the most recent State of Play livestream, a good 20 or so minutes of Ghost of Tsushima was shown off. The gameplay explored quite a few different parts of the game, including the ability to be honourable, or disregard honour altogether in favour of stealth. However, the highlight for me wasn’t anything in the combat, it was the feature known as guiding wind.
Guiding wind is a feature that is exclusive to Ghost of Tsushima, as far as I know. While games with open worlds today are striving to create a more immersive experience, Ghost of Tsushima just has a completely immersive world. The world map has certain points of interest on, including main story missions, but you don’t get a mini map and directions by selecting them. Instead, the wind in the game will blow in the direction you should go, and you can follow it to whatever waypoint you’ve chosen.
Guiding wind isn’t restricted to these waypoints though, as you can follow it to things that might be nearby without needing to enter the menu at all. I think that this will be a big challenge for most gamers, since we’re used to having a road of sorts to follow to our destinations. I also think that we need a change in these types of games, one that removes most, if not all, direction, and guiding wind does that.
Ghost of Tsushima has a number of other cues for directing players as well. Foxes can be found around dens in the world, and they will lead you to points of interest. Birds can also be seen in the world, flying alongside you, and following them will also lead you to a point of interest. Furthermore, there are visual cues in the world on a greater scale. If you see a plume of smoke in the distance, you should probably go there because something interesting will be going on for you to discover.
I love the idea of just exploring the world to advance the story, and to unlock everything. It’s too easy to look on a map for your net location, and get through a game in no time at all. Guidance isn’t something that we need in games anymore, it should be more about the journey, and I think that Ghost of Tsushima will be.