GDC is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them. Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Use the GDC 2021 Session Viewer to browse and sort the ever-growing list of sessions by day, time, pass type, topic, and format. All registered attendees will be able to build their personal schedule directly within the event platform, once live early July 2021. All times are listed in Pacific Time.

Exploration in Ghost of Tsushima: Letting the Island Guide You

Parker Hamilton  (Lead Systems Designer, Sucker Punch)

Date: Thursday, July 22

Time: 2:30pm - 3:30pm

Pass Type: All Access Pass, Core Pass

Topic: Design

Format: Session

Vault Recording: Video

Audience Level: N/A: I prefer to present live on-site but I am open to delivering a virtual presentation

A gust of wind sends a pile of maple leafs scattering east towards a temple peaking through the treetops. An epic duel awaits. En route to vengeance, a fox darts across Jin's path into the golden forest. Approaching the temple, a rescued peasant thanks Jin for his help before informing him of the location of a Mongol War camp not far away.

A variety of tools were used in Ghost of Tsushima to keep players looking at the world and eager to explore. This talk explores how these methods not only help players discover content, but support the fantasy of a lone samurai roaming a perilous landscape.


Attendees will gain a deeper understanding of the tools used to create the sense of exploration in the world of Ghost of Tsushima and an understanding of how we populated a 3x15 KM world with content that didn't rely on UI for discovery.

Intended Audience

Anyone interested in: A) open world layout and environmental design B) creating compelling exploration loops or C) reinforcing immersion and player fantasy. Fans of Ghost of Tsushima will get a behind-the-scenes insight into its development.