The true Japanese island of Tsushima has presented a prestigious award to two senior members of the Ghost of Tsushima development team.
Game director Nate Fox and creative director Jason Connell will become permanent tourism ambassadors for the city of Tsushima in Nagasaki, the island announced this week.
The ceremony will be held digitally due to travel restrictions, and the couple will receive the award and a thank you letter.
To mark the occasion, the city said it will collaborate with Sony Interactive Entertainment to establish a new tourism campaign based on the game, which is designed to encourage fans to learn more about the island and its key landmarks.
In a statement, Tsushima Mayor Hiroki Hitakatsu explained why the couple received the honor.
“[Fox and Connell] to spread Tsushima’s name and story to the whole world in such a wonderful way, ”he said.
“Even many Japanese do not know the history of the Gen-ko period. When it comes to the world, Tsushima’s name and location are literally unknown, so I can’t thank them enough for telling our story with such phenomenal graphics and deep stories. “
The mayor went on to explain that while the award has been awarded to notable Japanese in the past, this is the first time it has been awarded to someone “who has spread the name and history of Tsushima through their works.”
“The appointment of Tourism Ambassador is from today until Mr. Jason and Mr. Nate no longer wish to have it,” he said. “In fact, I had been thinking and arguing about naming the role for them since I found out that they were using Tsushima’s name as their job name.”
He added: “I did not name them for the purpose of doing something in the future. Thanks to the two of them, Sucker Punch Productions and SIE, I have heard from people all over the world who have learned about Tsushima through their jobs and now want to see, know and go to Tsushima. “
Once the travel restrictions are lifted, Mayor Hitakatsu said he would like to invite Fox, Connell and the entire Sucker Punch team to Tsushima and said he hoped their visit would “make them love Tsushima even more.”
“I would really like to name all the Sucker Punch, SIE and users of the game who were involved in the work as Tourism Ambassadors,” he said.
Tsushima has enjoyed new recognition following the release of Ghost of Tsushima last year. Ghost of Tsushima launched in July 2020 and became an immediate hit.
The open-world action game for PS4 sold through more than 2.4 million copies globally in its first three days of sales, according to Sony, which set a new record for an original IP release.
In Japan, Ghost of Tsushima posted the best launch week sales of all PlayStation 4 proprietary games to date.
In January, the popularity of the PlayStation game led fans to help raise more than $ 260,000 to rebuild a sanctuary on the royal island.
Yuichi Hirayama, a priest from Tsushima’s Watatsumi Shrine, launched a crowdfunding page last November to help rebuild a Torii gate that collapsed during a typhoon.
The crowdfunding effort concluded on Sunday with more than 540% of its goal of 5,000,000 JPY ($ 47,500) raised. Over 2,000 people contributed to the project, including many fans of the Sucker Punch PlayStation game.
“We have received a lot of support from the players of the Ghost of Tsushima game set in Tsushima, and I believe it is God’s guidance,” Hirayama wrote on the crowdfunding page.
“I am very grateful for the support of so many people during a tight life due to the coronavirus and the difficult economic situation.”
It seems likely that Sucker Punch is working on more Ghost of Tsushima content, according to a recent job posting calling for a narrative designer who should have a “desire to write stories set in feudal Japan.”