Despite a couple of trailers and a drop of information on the PlayStation Blog, the marketing cycle for GhostWire: Tokyo hasn’t quite begun in earnest. The latest game from Tango: Gameworks, famously driven by the godfather of survival horror, Shinji Mikami, is still shrouded in mystery, and for the most part, that’s how Tango wants it.

However, we couldn’t resist asking a bunch of questions anyway, and though the studio is still keeping tight-lipped on GhostWire’s intricacies, it is ready to spill on its genre – GhostWire is not a horror –  and a couple of tasty tidbits on how it plays on the PS5. Here’s a transcript of our interview with GhostWire’s Director, Kenji Kimura, below (with bonus guest answer from Executive Producer Shinji Mikami).

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IGN: Talk to us a little bit about Ghostwire’s development. Firstly, where did this idea originate?

Kenji Kimura: It started with the idea that if Tango Gameworks, a studio in Japan, made a game set in Japan, we might be able to make something very interesting and fun.

From there, we felt that if we were going to make something, then just making a normal, real version of Tokyo wouldn’t be much fun!

And so our journey started: to make a realistic but original version of Tokyo that has all of the fun, cool things we wanted to have tightly packed together for the world of GhostWire: Tokyo.

IGN: Ikumi Nakamura was the original creative director on Ghostwire: Tokyo. Did she help conceptualize much of the early ideas? Can you talk about the rationale behind her departure at all?

Kenji Kimura: Nakamura-san decided to leave Tango in 2019 and we wish her well with her next project. She played a part in the creation of GhostWire: Tokyo and while we’re thankful for her contributions, Tango continues to be led by the legendary Shinji Mikami, and the entire talented team led by director Kenji Kimura is excited to continue development of GhostWire: Tokyo under their leadership.

IGN: Let’s talk about GhostWire: Tokyo at its broadest level. How would you describe it?

Kenji Kimura: GhostWire: Tokyo is set in an original version of Tokyo where most of the people have vanished. A miraculous encounter gives the protagonist paranormal abilities, through the use of hand gestures, to help solve the mystery behind the vanishings.

IGN: What do you do in GhostWire: Tokyo?

Kenji Kimura: Players use their newfound supernatural powers to explore an ominous Tokyo while fighting paranormal creatures in an effort to save the city from an unprecedented phenomenon caused by mysterious beings. In combat, players use their powers byway of movements inspired by traditional Kuji-kiri hand gestures.

IGN: Who do you play as?

Kenji Kimura: These details are still a secret!

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IGN: This feels like a departure from survival horror. Does it have any survival horror elements (eg, low resources, creepy jump scares), or is it more action-oriented?

Kenji Kimura: GhostWire: Tokyo is an action-adventure game. There are elements of survival, but not elements that one would expect in the horror genre.

However, because we are using Japan as the setting, we hope to deliver an experience packed with mysterious and spooky elements based on Japanese Yokai folklore, fables, urban legends and famous scary stories.

IGN: If it’s the latter, is survival horror still a focus/passion for Tango Gameworks as a studio, and for yourself, Mikami-san?

Shinji Mikami: We have not lost our passion for survival horror, but we are currently focused on making Ghostwire: Tokyo the best game it can be.

IGN: Did any horror (movies/games) serve as specific inspirations for GhostWire, like Jacob’s Ladder did for The Evil Within?

Kenji Kimura: Japan’s diverse culture and the city of Tokyo’s many faces (sides) have given us a lot of inspiration.

IGN: Why a first-person perspective? Are there things in the game that are more impactful from a first-person perspective? Do you feel horror works regardless of perspective?

Kenji Kimura: While making GhostWire we felt that the exploration, combat, movement, and action in this world would be best enjoyed in first-person.

IGN: We know that there’s been an incident in the game that’s wiped out 99% of the population. Does that mean we’ll still meet and interact with some human NPCs in this world?

Kenji Kimura: The Tokyo in GhostWire and the people in the city are in very unique circumstances… and within that, the protagonist is also in a very special situation, and of course needs to——I’ll need to stop there! Everything else is still a secret.

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IGN: Please tell us about The Visitors. You have revealed some broad details about Amewarashi, Shiromuku, and Kuchisake. What kind of powers do they have, and how do they pose a threat to you in this world?

Kenji Kimura: The Visitors are beings that will make things difficult for the protagonist. Each has special abilities and roles to play. The visuals and designs of the Visitors were inspired by the many different Japanese Yokai folklore, fables, urban legends, and famous scary stories; which may also be hints of their abilities and roles…

IGN: Please tell me about the inspirations behind these spirits. For example, I read that one is inspired by an urban legend.

Kenji Kimura: Since GhostWire is set in Japan, there are parts that are inspired by Japanese Yokai folklore, fables, urban legends, and scary stories. We were also inspired by the diverse culture of Japan and the diverse city of Tokyo.

IGN: GhostWire’s protagonist’s powers have been described as “formidable, and upgradeable” – could you please give us an example of how these powers work and how they upgrade?

Kenji Kimura: As seen in the gameplay trailer that was released, the protagonist can use various hand gestures for exploration, combat, and movement. Players will be able to power up each of those abilities so they can build out their favorite playstyle.

IGN: Could you please explain how these powers were inspired by kuji-kiri hand gestures, and how the powers work in combination?

Kenji Kimura:  The protagonist uses combinations of hand gestures to utilize different abilities for exploration, combat, and movement. These gestures were inspired by traditional kuji-kiri hand movements. While the hand gestures in the game aren’t exact replications of kuji-kiri, we hope players enjoy the various actions that are linked to the hand movements.

IGN: I’d also love to hear about how the DualSense’s haptics and adaptive triggers work on a practical level to make these powers feel more real.

Kenji Kimura:  You need to experience it directly because this is very difficult to explain both verbally and in text, but the DualSense Haptics and adaptive triggers felt so good that it made us, the developers, say “woah!” because they allowed for us to feel and experience the various actions and attacks like never before.

We don’t know if it’s possible, nor when such a thing might become possible, but we’re hoping to create a chance for everyone to try it out so that they can feel and experience it firsthand.

IGN: Please tell us about the city itself.  What kind of personality does it have, and how has the PS5’s tech helped you make this city what it is?

Kenji Kimura: GhostWire’s version of Tokyo blends the cutting-edge future with traditional culture, while sometimes being mysterious and even spooky. It has the fun parts of Tokyo, with famous locations and buildings all condensed tightly together, and offers a unique version of the metropolis created for the game.

There was some risk that making a unique, original version of Tokyo may make the city feel weird (or just strange), but with the power of the PlayStation 5, we were able to create our vision: an original version of Tokyo that you can realistically feel and be immersed in.

IGN: You’ve spoken about 3D audio integration, but I’d love to hear more about how that works in GhostWire.

Kenji Kimura: This one is also difficult to explain without personally experiencing it.

To feel like you’re actually there, to feel the objects and beings that are actually there, sound is extremely important. You’ll be able to feel like you are there and “feel” the things that are there with 3D audio.

The Tokyo in GhostWire, is a city in unique circumstances and, due to that, there are times players will hear not just the familiar sounds of the city but also sounds of the supernatural. So there’s also the fun in using those sounds to help solve the mystery and explore the city.

We don’t know if it’s possible, nor when such a thing might become possible, but we’re hoping to create a chance for everyone to try it out so that they can feel and experience it firsthand.

IGN: Finally, would Tango ever make a non-horror game? Ever thought about throwing some horses dancing and rainbows in there? (Actually, that sounds a little horrific, now I think of it).

GhostWire is not a horror game but an action-adventure one. So we hope this shows we can make a non-horror game.

Also, we at Tango Gameworks, will continue to strive to create games that fans enjoy and in various genres. We hope you look forward to it because we certainly are!

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Lucy O’Brien is Executive Editor of Features at IGN. Follow her on Twitter.
Source: IGN Video Games All
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