If you’re out on your own at night, be careful not to bump into Kôsoku bababa, a Japanese urban legend that literally means “crazy grandmother.”
Picture the scene: You’re driving and listening to the radio while signs and street lights flash. Suddenly the radio starts buzzing due to interference. Maybe that’s because you just walked into a tunnel, tell yourself that. Then you look to your left and there it is: a face staring at you. The face of a weak old woman walking by your car and looking at your soul – Kôsoku bababa.
It’s usually best to take public transportation to avoid this, but you may end up on a midnight train going somewhere instead. According to urban legend, if you ride a train alone in Japan at night, you will be transported to another world and never see again, except for the labels on the milk bottle.
Scary Roots by Tango Gameworks
“There are other great legends out there in schools,” Kenji Kimura, director of “Ghostwire: Tokyo,” tells COMPUTER BILD. “After everyone goes home after dark, there may be a toilet that no one is using. It may be the last stall in this bathroom, this toilet there, that is haunted. There is a famous story called ‘The Hanako of the Toilet’, based on such a place … it is possible that there are similar urban legends in the West and it is always very frightening.”
Tango Gameworks is a studio famous for scary games. It was founded by Shinji Mikami, one of the minds behind Resident Evil, and the studio’s games so far are what you’d expect. “The Evil Within” and its sequel “Resident Evil” aren’t in name alone (and even the name isn’t far off), but “Ghostwire: Tokyo” is a new territory for Tango. It may have more ghosts than a dive bar, but it’s an entirely action-adventure title.
Fights liquids and pure
“The fights should be fine,” Kenji Kimura explains. “It’s not a horror game. We wanted to make sure the combat looked good as you progressed through the story and as you moved around town.”
The studio succeeded in presenting the first two seasons of the job offers. With hand gestures inspired by Kuji Kiri – a ninjutsu martial art where hands represent yin and yang – cast elemental spells like fireworks from finger pistols.
With a flick of the wrist, send a hail of slashes blown by the wind, clasp your hands together to form a fireball, and then spread it out, in an arc of water. It’s a great way to own a pistol, rocket launcher, and shotgun without actually using firearms. Switching between gestures feels seamless. Each transmission is accompanied by its own hand gesture, and each effect is sold by making holes in your enemies or dust-like particles that make you fall like a boxer who sweats from his cheeks when he hits him. Elsewhere are paper shields that serve as a substitute for different types of grenades, and a bow is, well, a bow.
When a soul is weakened, its essence is revealed, which it binds with strands of energy and splits from its terrifying alien body, transforming it into a shower of dust and flying magical energy. If you hit multiple enemies simultaneously, you can root out multiple cores at once. It doesn’t come that way in trailers, but it looks ridiculously cool. It’s no exaggeration to say that this is the best PS5 DualSense console show out of the Astro game room.
Work with DualSense Controller
“Hit them, shoot them, rip their hearts out—it should all feel as smooth as you’re the one doing it,” Kenji Kimura continues. “To achieve this with the console we had to do a lot of testing and have a lot of discussions with the team, but we are happy with the result.”
“It wasn’t just within the team. We talked to Mikami-san about the fights and then talked to the folks at Sony about it – they took our feedback and made some changes so the player could feel the console inputs. They were very helpful and we are very grateful for their cooperation and for making this experience so good. “.
At this point in the conversation, producer Masato Kimura starts laughing. When asked what he found funny, he said he remembers visiting Sony with Shinji Mikami and looking at a prototype PS5 console. In between laughs, Masato Kimura begins imitating Mikami, saying, “That sounds too weak.”
He remembers that Mikami told him he was going for a walk. It looked casual, as if he just wanted to have some tea. In fact, he wanted to go to Sony to give “very candid feedback about the console”.
Masato Kimura laughs: “Mikami-san is quite verbally clear in the way he expresses things.” “People at Sony may have been surprised and a little shocked by the power of Mikami-san’s language. Then, when we received a nearly completed prototype of the console, Mikami-san was very pleased with how Sony used his feedback to improve the console. It was impressive that they were able to take our feedback on seriously and making improvements already.”
Virtual tourism in Tokyo
Of course, Ghostwire: Tokyo isn’t just about tearing out the ethereal hearts of demons, headless schoolgirls, and outstretched ghost women. The hint is already in the name. Part of the game’s allure is virtual tourism, which is another area where Tango Gameworks excels.
Even if you’ve explored Tokyo in the Yakuza or Persona series, you’ve never seen a city like this before: deserted, semi-realistic and first-person. Visually, it has the same super realistic quality as ‘PT’, the playable Konami teaser in ‘Silent Hill’ that you won’t be allowed to play. Except that this isn’t a single repetitive corridor, but a condensed version of an entire city, including interior spaces, courtyards, and rooftops of skyscrapers that players can slide and jump over. From neon lights reflected in puddles to cube-shaped skyscrapers, this is one of the most compelling locations to explore in the game. The fact that there are no people adds to the mood and evokes a strange and frightening romantic feeling.
But it’s not just about optics. It takes full advantage of the PS5’s 3D sound, so you have to use headphones to hear Tokyo. Chiptunes roar from the shops, which are then replaced by soft jazz from a nearby bar. Ads flash from TV screens, cats meow, dogs bark, ghosts cry because they’re dead. Acoustically, it sounds like he’s being smuggled through a ghost train with a kick.
“When we started this project, our main goal was to create a wonderful Tokyo,” explains Masato Kimura. “And as we thought about it, we also started to think about things that are Tokyo-specific that we see every day as Japanese — things that are normal to us but might seem strange to others. We’ve seen, for example, a lot of white people – collar workers – businessmen in suits. It’s dark, and that’s something people from other countries say, ‘That’s really weird.’ The other thing that we think might be unusual for other countries is that Tokyo residents are quick to put on an umbrella when it’s raining. And in other countries, not everyone carries an umbrella.”
Kenji Kimura adds, “There were many things – natural and everyday – that we discovered in the city.” “For example, there is a shrine next to a very modern office building. When you go to work, this is common. But when you look at it and try to create the city of Tokyo in the game, you will notice these very cool little discoveries about the city. It is. The shrine could have historically covered a larger area. There could be other cultural reasons for different things specific to the city.”
Here’s one thing that stands out in Ghostwire: Tokyo – a Japanese city as seen by people familiar with it. The stories are based on folk legends, and the collectibles are rooted in the culture. It may be about ghosts, but there is also a lot of humanity in it.
According to the developers, it is a loss game. The main character, his ghostly companion and even the antagonist – losing is something they all share, and the same is true for the many souls trapped in Limbo. Each character, Kenji Kimura says, “does their best to find a way to fix or accept that.”
“The idea is that these spirits still exist in this world because for some reason they carry a strong emotion,” he continues. “There are four kanji that express joy, anger, sadness and happiness. Sometimes these feelings are felt in ordinary life, at home, at work, or at various important stages of life. And these strong feelings are basically that these spirits still appear in this world, for example For example, when you go to a new school as a kid, or when you graduate from elementary school and go to middle school, there is a huge change in life, even when you start a new job and when you have to wear a new suit, you are afraid because it is a new job and you want to do your best. That the man with the umbrella has started something new. We don’t make it clear in the game how each enemy appeared, we’ll leave that up to the player. To some, he may look like a salary worker. He wears a black suit. But to others, depending on where they are in their lives, they may It looks like a suit you can wear to a funeral.”
Even if you’re already happily preparing to die for the survival horror genre, Ghostwire: Tokyo deserves a chance. It’s not the game you’d expect from Tango, but it has more soul than Shang Tsung. Whether you love it for fast-paced physical combat, virtual tourism, or want to think about how people deal with loss, you’ll get to experience it for yourself when it launches on March 25, 2022 on PS5 and PC.
Interviewed by Kirk Mackind (GLHF) for COMPUTER BILD.