The central conflict in Ghost of Tsushima is not your traditional “should heroes kill?” superhero debate. Rather it’s “how should heroes kill?” The two sides here are the traditional samurai code of honor, which involves facing your enemy head-on, even if that means certain death, or something more ninja-like, using stealth and assassination and even poison to take down your enemies if it will save lives, including your own.
This split is baked into the story as Jin has to lose more and more of his honor and go against his uncle as the tale progresses, but the game is hiding a secret tied to your combat choices that has only just now been revealed.
While there are no significant “choices” in the game (until one at the very end), you choosing to fight honorable or dishonorably does have one impact on the game: the weather.
Speaking to GameSpot, creative director Nate Fox talked about how this is built into the game:
“The game is definitely scripted to provide more storms as you do things which are extremely Ghost driven.”
Suddenly, a lot of things are adding up for me.
Throughout most of Ghost of Tsushima, I fought as honorably as I could. Not really because I felt some grand moral imperative to do so, but because my Gosaku stagger build was based around open combat, so rather than sneak around assassinating people or shooting them with poison darts, I would usually just charge into bases screaming “ARE YOU COWARDS??” and then cut down 30 guys or so.
While there are some points in the game where you essentially have to be dishonorable and assassinate some folks, for the most part, you can fight how you want. As such, I never really noticed the weather changing much, even in Act 3.
But I have seen some complaints about how the game gets “uglier” as time goes on with constant clouds and storms. I am now remembering Gothalion complaining that he was trying to get footage of the beautiful landscapes of the game, but it was raining for 45 minutes straight and would never clear. Well maybe you should have fought with some HONOR Goth!
You will not “ruin” your game if you fight dishonorably with constant storms because A) you can clear the weather using the default tune of your flute and B) you can change the clouds and weather and such in screenshot mode. But I did think this was a nice touch that suddenly makes some things add up for both me and others who have been playing with different styles.
Did you figure out this was happening as you played, or are you just learning about it now, like me? I’m curious.