Whenever the prospect of a new video game movie adaptation materializes, we usually run the gamut from “Oh hey, cool” to “Oh, but probably it won’t be good” pretty fast. We’ve got years and years of movies like Assassins Creed, Doom, and Street Fighter tempering those expectations. Though we’ve also had the likes of Pokémon: Detective Pikachu and Sonic the Hedgehog to perk us up a bit. (Also, sidebar, the original Silent Hill movie is actually quite good.) But nothing has given us as much cautious optimism as the following: a Ghost of Tsushima movie is in the works from John Wick series director Chad Stahelski. And happily, its showing signs of life.
In 2021, Deadline reported that Sony Pictures and PlayStation Productions are developing the film based on the massive 2020 bestselling game from Sucker Punch Studios. Roundly considered the final big game of the PlayStation 4 generation, it has sold millions of copies. The story follows samurai Jin Sakai as he must thwart an invasion by the vicious Mongol army in the 13th century. In the course of the story, Jin puts his code of honor to the test as he engages in stealth and terror techniques to overtake the invaders. That right there is a pretty John Wicky character arc.
Since the initial announcement, we haven’t seen much movement from the Ghost of Tsushima movie. But recently, Chad Stahelski gave a fairly promising update to ScreenRant. He shared:
We have a script, we’re very close to getting our s–t together on that, as well. Development is always tricky, it’s studios, it’s strikes, and availabilities, and scouting. You have to will things into existence. I think the two things that I am closest and most interested in are Highlander and Ghost of Tsushima. Both amazing, amazing properties, the story of Ghost is, also, one of my favorite properties of all time.
Of any recent video game, Ghost of Tsushima already feels very cinematic. The massive open world allows players to traverse a damn near real-size map of the actual Tsushima Island. Massive open vistas and scenic mountains fill the screen. In fact, there’s a specific “Kurosawa Mode” which makes the player feel like you’re playing a movie by the legendary director Akira Kurosawa.
This is all to say that there’s a lot to make one think a movie adaptation could be amazing. Story and character-driven; fast-paced and visceral action; gorgeous period setting and landscape; plus you get to pet foxes, which better be in the movie or so help us. We already were keen to see Ghost of Tsushima turn into a TV series, a la The Last of Us‘ recent adaptation, but I guess a movie will be okay too.
In hiring Chad Stahelski to direct, Sony is ensuring some of the most bone-crunching, arterial-blood-spraying action one could hope for. It could do for samurai movies what the John Wick series did for gunplay. This might also hopefully be the rare instance in which people who played the characters in the game will reprise their roles for the film. The performance capture is so good, there’s really no mistaking any of the cast.
Ghost of Tsushima is born of the partnership between Sony Pictures and PlayStation Productions. We hope we’ll get to see it come fully to life.
Originally published on March 25, 2021.