How Ghostwire: Tokyo fuses Japanese folklore and modern intrigue
Ghostwire: Tokyo, the upcoming game from Japanese developer Tango Gameworks, takes advantage of Tokyo’s technologically advanced environment while incorporating traditional Japanese landmarks such as shrines, temples and torii gates. This mix of here and now and traditional is a departure from the company’s previous games, and Ghostwire: East Tokyo not a horror title like the evil inside series.
Director Kenji Kimura, producer Masato Kimura, and concept artist Kenta Muramatsu spoke to WIRED about how they incorporated modern and traditional aspects of Japanese culture into the game, which arrives March 25.
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Kimura says he was inspired by books like Suitcase by Philip K. Dick; Passage by Connie Willis; The blooming flower dies, reality in a dream by Chohei Kanbayashi; and The World, the Flesh and the Devil: An Inquiry into the Future of the Three Enemies of the Rational Soul by JD Bernal.
“The way these books use the understanding of things like spirit, soul, mind, conscious and unconscious, and death is close to what I felt myself,” says Kimura . He was also influenced by Tool’s “Pneuma”. The lyrics of the song have marked him a lot, and it is one of the songs he listens to most often when he walks.
He says, “When I listen to it, the thought of life and death in my mind is naturally linked to the thoughts that I have tried to embody in Ghostwire: Tokyo.”
Kimura tries to take a walk or listen to music often because it clears her mind. When he thought about mission content featuring a specific character, one of the songs he listened to was Sia’s “Waving Goodbye.” It was another example of the lyrics fitting naturally with what he had in mind for the character’s feelings.
Muramatsu also walked around the city and visited shrines, temples, and other places. “You only have to look at photos to get a single image of what they would look like,” says Muramatsu. “But when you actually go there and see what they look like from different angles, that’s part of the inspiration for creating the art in the game.”
Tango Gameworks came up with the idea of using Tokyo as the game’s setting long before focusing more specifically on the Shibuya region. The environment in Ghostwire: Tokyo closely resembles the actual city, so the team was able to reference Tokyo itself.
The mix of traditional and modern also extends to the real world. Tokyo has many modern buildings close together, but if you go to the next block or between the alleys, you might find a shrine or other traditional structure. For the Tango Gameworks team, the setting of the game is their daily life. But the mix of traditional and modern structures is part of the intrigue for those who don’t live in Tokyo.
To help immerse the player, the team designed Ghostwire: TokyoThe protagonist of , Akito, looks like an ordinary Japanese man. However, the team also had to be careful not to make him blend in with everyone. By default, Akito wears a light blue denim jacket over his white shirt, with a slung fanny pack, as well as beige jeans.