If I’m frank, The Game Awards have been painfully predictable. Just as I saw The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild winning GOTY back in 2017, I already knew that The Last Of Us Part II won this year before even rolling over in bed to check my phone. The other tiers are far more interesting to look at, as there are often numerous (sometimes unexpected) contenders for these spots. I may know Sucker Punch Productions best for its Sly Cooper series, but it was great to see their latest project, Ghost of Tsushima, snag “Best Art Direction” this year. After six years of development (which is the longest a Sucker Punch game has taken), these guys earned it.
In order to truly bring the island of Tsushima to life, art director Jason Connell and his team traveled to Japan for inspiration.
“Whether it was old remnants of a castle that was overgrown with beautiful ivy or a giant pampas field — these things were very evocative to us and we wanted to faithfully create that feeling for people,” said Connell.The Hollywood Reporter
Connell and his crew didn’t stop there. They were undoubtedly traveling, which aided in sculpting a realistic depiction of feudal Japan. They also brought on architectural historians to ensure the finer details were culturally and historically accurate. They even worked with Studio Japan to ensure that even the foliage was spot-on, according to THR.
Alongside The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and Shadow of the Colossus, Sucker Punch also drew inspiration from the work of Japanese director Akira Kurosawa. Kurosawa’s ability to create a sense of motion in every frame was something the team wanted to replicate in Ghost of Tsushima.
“We created an art direction goal very early on that everything must move,” Connell mentioned.
“I’m glad it was one of our original goals because eventually it turned into something far greater — the way we actually let [players] move through the island,”
Runner ups to the award included Hades and Final Fantasy VII Remake, the latter of which went on to win “Best Score and Music” as well as best RPG.