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Bethesda and developer Tango Gameworks started publicly showing off gameplay for Ghostwire: Tokyo this week. This gave gamers a first look at the open-word ghost-hunting action. Late last month, Tango gave the media an even closer look at the title in a hands-off preview event. And while that event impressed me with the game’s mystical combat, my biggest takeaway is that the game has a spirit cat that runs a bodega.
One of the greatest things in our boring real world is when you see a cat at a bodega. Certain social media accounts dedicate themselves to documenting this phenomenon. But Ghostwire: Tokyo is living in the year 3000 and is cutting out the middleman — because, as you can see, the cat runs the shop.
You can buy items from the cat to help you in your mission to explore Tokyo, and this is illustrative of what you can expect from Ghostwire. None of the gameplay I’ve seen so far has had many human NPCs. Instead, it seems like your player character, Akito, is living on a different plane of existence. Luckily for the developers, this plane of existence didn’t require them to design and render thousands of citizens.
Yokai are better than people — cat, don’t you think it’s true?
While Tango gets obvious tech benefits from not having to worry about extra, meaningless human characters, this creative choice also amplifies what the game is going for.
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In addition to dealing with yokai (which is a term for Japanese ghosts and spirits) at bodegas, you’ll also come across tanuki wandering around alleyways. And the empty streets lead to a sense of eeriness that serves the game’s atmosphere. The dearth of people also puts an emphasis on the environment design, which — from what I’ve seen — is excellent.
As for the gameplay, well — I need to play the game for myself to know if it’s going to work. You can watch the video above and know just as much as I do about how Ghostwire: Tokyo is going to play. It looks fun, but I’m reserving judgment until I know if it feels as good as it looks.