Ghost of Tsushima

Gaming

Ghost of Ikishima could fix Tsushima’s biggest problem

The rumored "expandalone" sequel is said to be far shorter. That’s a good thing.

Sony

Sony has an interesting history when it comes to its most popular video game franchises. It keeps adding to the world debuted in the game via standalone expansions, usually about a year after the release. A new rumor circulating is that Ghost of Tsushima will be the latest addition to an esteemed group of titles, with one pleasantly surprising change.

Xboxera cofounder Nick Baker tweeted this month the Ghost will be the next game to receive this “expandalone” treatment.

Baker’s track record includes correctly predicting MLB The Show 21’s inclusion on Xbox Game Pass and the announcement of Final Fantasy XVI. He says the new game will be called Ghost of Ikishima. Further lending credence to the game’s existence, a domain for Ghost of Ikishima was registered online recently, as well.

The Ghosts addition joins Uncharted: The Lost Legacy, The Last of Us: Left Behind, Infamous First Light, and most recently, Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales to see an expansion.

Ghost of Tsushima, released in July 2020, is often regarded as one of the best PS4 games of all time. But if Ghost of Ikishima does indeed offer a smaller experience (i.e. it’s a shorter game) it’s already better than its predecessor.

But first: What are your favorite games and platforms of 2021, and what future releases are you most excited about? Take our poll!

We need more shorter open-world games

Ghost of Tsushima’s large open world is daunting. Sony

There’s no question about the quality of Ghost of Tsushima. It’s excellent. The game tells an engaging story with lovable characters, and plenty of fun gameplay mechanics to keep one hooked. One of its most prominent features is its expansive world which has many different hubs for players to explore. There’s plenty to do. Maybe too much.

Exploring the large island of Tsushima takes a lot of time and can be a turn-off to some players. While Ghost of Tsushima’s gameplay, story, and mechanics are all engrossing, it’s easy to see why someone would drop off prematurely due to the overwhelming amount of things to do.

It takes around 24 hours to simply complete the main story, while earning a 100 percent completion score will set players back closer to 60 hours. It’s not the biggest game ever, but its long length could be seen as a downside.

If Ghost of Ikishima is a real thing, it could solve Tsushima’s biggest problem.

Interestingly, when looking at the trophy statistics for Ghost of Tsushima, only 50.9% of players actually finished the story. While this doesn’t account for those who played the game offline, it’s still a fascinating statistic, especially when you consider Tsushima sold around 6.5 million copies.

Ghost of Tsushima could benefit from a shorter, more concise runtime. Sony

Assuming Ghost of Ikishima is in the works, it will likely be a shorter experience, judging by the size of the island itself. Much like Tsushima, Ikishima is based on a real-life Japanese island, and although not a one-to-one recreation in-game, it will probably feature the same overall layout as its real-world counterpart. The real version of Ikishima is around 53 square miles, while Tsushima is around 273 square miles.

Long games aren’t inherently bad. In fact, there are a slew of games that wouldn’t work as well if they were shorter. The beauty of Sony’s strategy is that it gives players the best of both worlds: robust primary releases, followed by smaller standalone games.

These smaller games are much more digestible and are easier to get through. Take something like Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales, for example. This game can be finished in around eight hours, while doing everything it has to offer only takes around 18 hours. If you want more to do, you can play the base version of Marvel’s Spider-Man, which takes around 35 hours to 100 percent, not including all of the expansions.

Brevity is often an upside.

But there are more benefits to more concise games. Many times, a shorter runtime can also lead to better pacing and a more satisfying experience overall. This isn’t always the case, but brevity is often an upside with many narrative-focused games.

It’s a shame so many players missed out on all of what Ghost of Tsushima had to offer, because it truly is fantastic. But if Ghost of Ikishima is a 10-15 hour experience, more players are likely to see it through to the end, which is a positive thing.

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