Ghostwire: Tokyo is one of the best games for years. It is a beautiful saga for the loss and sadness in which modern Tokyo is transformed into a playground for folklore on the doorstep of supernatural destruction. When the opportunity to talk to the writer and director of the game, Kenji Kimura , and producer Masato Kimura Tango Gameworks could not refuse. Our about half an hour of chat deals with the history of the game, its myths, and the processing of loss in a huge open-world adventure, where the story is not forced to follow at all unless you want to.
The debate was in Japanese and English with the help of an interpreter, after which it has been translated into Finnish.
Ghostwire: Tokyo director and screenwriter Kenji Kimura
I read somewhere that ghostwire: Tokyo originally had to come evil within 3. at what point did you decide to make it your own thing?
Masato Kimura : It’s true. At the very beginning of production, when we still used the production name Snowfall, this was supposed to become a new evil within. But pretty quickly, just a few months from the start of production, we decided that we would still invest the game in Tokyo, which only felt better about this story. Snowfall eventually became another production, which is neither of these.
The game is flooded with myths, urban legends and true stories about Tokyo’s history. Was it clear to you from the beginning that you would all mix them together, or did this combination happen with time?
Kenji Kimura : We wanted the game to be an experience in Tokyo, where anything is possible. As you look at Tokyo’s history, one can see that its traditions and stories are directly related to its basics. Tokyo has risen from folk tales. We wanted to bring this part of the city so that it seemed like an authentic experience of the city’s life. It is important for us to respect these legends and myths, even the saddest stories that shaped what it is today from Tokyo. This process was iterative as we constantly shaped myths and truth together.
Masato Kimura : We wanted horror to feel real. Therefore, you can see supernatural things in the story in the midst of ordinary everyday life. They have no distinguishing factor. When building the city, we wanted to combine what is still visible in Tokyo today, that is, the merger of history and modern in a way that feels almost time travel. If you are walking on the streets of Tokyo, you might think that every angle can end up in a different era because the city is built in that way. We didn’t want to create a straight fantasy world from Tokyo because it is already fantastic.
Ghostwire: Tokyo producer Masato Kimura
We didn’t want to create a straight fantasy world from Tokyo because it is already fantastic.
When I was young in high school, I read a book called Kappa, where a man follows the mythical Yokai being in a foreign world that is like a mirror image of our world. It seemed to have affected at least some ghostwire: Tokyon tasks.
Kenji Kimura : cap is one of my favorite books! You are right, it definitely has a great impact on ghostwireen throughout.
This also affects the creatures of the story that may not be monsters. Instead, it seems that they are feelings in physical form that can’t find a place where you are eruption.
Kenji Kimura : It’s wonderful that you noticed this. It’s completely true! We do not call them monsters either. In Japanese mythology, they are called visitors. In urban legends, these visitors are just mirror images of feelings such as stress or sadness. Things that occur in normal life. In the end, they become so strong that they come to life. We wanted this thinking to appear in every visitor in our story.
One of the strongest themes in the story is sadness and loss. How did you end up telling this story through our pets who usually leave this world long before us and do not necessarily experience the same sadness as us?
Kenji Kimura : We wanted Tokyo to feel real, so at the beginning of our production we walked a lot in the city streets looking for inspiration. These walks reminded us of everything we had become blind over the years. We noticed that even though it was a huge metropolis, cats and dogs see everywhere. Wherever we went, there were animals. I remembered my youth friend, my dog who was joking with me staring at a wall or ceiling that had nothing. I began to wonder if he always saw things I couldn’t, or whether he knew something about another world or visitors I had no connection with.
It led to the fact that we wanted this connection to the city between our normal world. It felt natural that this bridge would be our pet.
Masato Kimura : The loss is felt everywhere in the game and it takes many forms. It is touching to hear that you noticed this translation between pets and people. It feels great that we succeeded in our goal.
The scene where the dog howling after his lost master at the empty thread made me cry.
Kenji Kimura : Thank you so much. Now I’m starting to cry too!
The theme of the loss is so universal that we can talk about it on a completely personal level, even if we play the same game. Everyone finds their own interpretations of the loss that help us forward.
There is a moment in the game where KK comments on people’s creatures to avoid encountering difficult things. Is there a small meta comment here that ghostwire have one hundred hours of side tasks and collectible items?
(Molmets burst into laughter.)
Kenji Kimura : Awesome!
Masato Kimura : Oh boys.
Kenji Kimura : That is a great and profound way to see our story. Our goal was to create a game that of course had a lot to do. However, it is the goal of the games that the player has meaningful things to do. But the theme of the loss is so huge that it cannot be ignored. It is part of every person’s life and does not escape. In the end, it will find us all. So it became a unifying factor, even if we saw its meanings in different ways. I think the theme is so universal that we can have this discussion on a completely personal level, even if we play the same game. Everyone finds their own interpretations of loss and sadness that help us forward.
Masato Kimura : For us, such a commentary is always great to hear. It is difficult to build a game like ghostwiren_, as side tasks must not take the weight out of the main story. But it is completely true that at the same time we deliberately made the side tasks a little lighter. The reason is that in the story, it is really difficult to face heavy things, and it takes power. So we created a lot of things to do so that this feeling could be avoided. This perspective brings a really fresh perspective to the matter in our work, which we really see closely.
Kenji Kimura : The side tasks and their locations were carefully designed as a pause in the midst of all this. They are deliberately counterbalance to stressful content carried by the main story. Balancing them took a lot of time due to the scope of the map and the story. It seems depressing to hear that their reconciliation created an experience that served the whole thing so well.
The side tasks and their locations were carefully designed in the midst of all this. They are deliberately counterbalance to stressful content carried by the main story.
The last question. Where did the gangster tunes come from and could we get more of them?
Kenji Kimura : Tanuks are very close to our heart in Japan. They are part of pop culture and our history since childhood. As developers, we hope they are hidden in that city now. At one point, one of our team members sent a picture of Tanuki in the middle of the street outside his home, which inspired us to add their presence to the game.
I remember walking home one day, when I saw a dog that looked like a tan. I was wondering what would happen if they started to be more defiant with their infiltration. It led to the idea of a side task where they are eventually everywhere.
Masato Kimura : They are a huge part of us. When I was young, my grandparents always told me that if something strange happened, Tanuki was responsible. Tanuki was up to you!, They said.
Kenji Kimura : Tanuks also appear in the name of food. Like Tanuki-Soba, where a meal side dish looks a bit like a tan. But of course it doesn’t contain real tanuks!
Masato Kimura: Over the centuries, they have become a way of talking about abnormal things that color our daily lives every day. What better suited the story of this game than Tanuki!