The Ghost of Tsushima soundtrack was composed by Shigeru Umebayashi and Ilan Eshkeri. The songs feature Japanese instruments such as the shakuhachi (flute), biwa (short-necked fretted lute) and koto (stringed musical instrument).
The soundtrack was available for pre-order on digital platforms on July 17, 2020. A two-disc soundtrack was released on August 26, 2020, and a vinyl is currently available for pre-order.
A remix EP, Sound of the Storm, was released on July 10, 2020.
The album has 22 songs. The two-disc soundtrack that was released in Japan contained an additional track, "The Way of the Ghost (Farewell Version)".
|1||The Way of the Ghost||Ilan Eshkeri||4:14|
|2||Jin Sakai||Ilan Eshkeri||2:51|
|3||Komoda Beach||Ilan Eshkeri||3:31|
|4||The Way of the Samurai||Ilan Eshkeri||3:19|
|5||Lord Shimura||Ilan Eshkeri||2:15|
|6||No Mercy||Ilan Eshkeri||4:10|
|7||Lady Masako||Ilan Eshkeri||4:01|
|8||A Reckoning in Blood||Ilan Eshkeri||4:35|
|9||The Last of Clan Adachi||Ilan Eshkeri||3:12|
|10||Heart of the Jito||Ilan Eshkeri||4:15|
|11||The Tale of Sensei Ishikawa||Ilan Eshkeri||4:36|
|12||Forgotten Song||Ilan Eshkeri||2:11|
|13||Khotun Khan||Ilan Eshkeri||4:01|
|14||Honour to Ash||Ilan Eshkeri||2:34|
|15||The Fate of Tsushima||Ilan Eshkeri||3:15|
|16||Sacrifice of Tradition||Ilan Eshkeri||4:29|
|17||The Way of the Ghost (feat. Clare Uchima)||Ilan Eshkeri||3:32|
|18||The Way of the Ghost (Farewell Version)[note 1]||Ilan Eshkeri|
|19||Tsushima Suite: I. Seion（静穏）||Shigeru Umebayashi||9:28|
|20||Tsushima Suite: II. Shurai（襲来）||Shigeru Umebayashi||8:54|
|21||Tsushima Suite: III. Bushido（武士道）||Shigeru Umebayashi||10:17|
|22||Tsushima Suite: IV. Kodoku（孤独）||Shigeru Umebayashi||9:50|
|23||Tsushima Suite: V. Seiiki（聖域）||Shigeru Umebayashi||9:40|
Ilan Eshkeri explained the creative process in composing for Ghost:
From the first moment of the first meeting, I realised that Ghost was about a very powerful emotional journey. The team at Sucker Punch and PlayStation were inspiring and generous with their creativity so I immediately knew that I was going to love working on the game.
Jin’s theme, "The Way of the Ghost," was one of the very first pieces I wrote. Usually productions are ready for music after everyone else has been working on the game. As much as you might understand the story, it always takes time to really get under the skin and appreciate the depth of well written characters and story. While some of my first sketches evolved, this theme really stuck. It’s all about how the people of Tsushima see him. He is their hero: strong, infallible, inspiring and full of hope, but what really fascinated me about Jin is the contrast of what is going on inside him. In order to save his home and the people he loves he must go against everything he was taught to believe in and break the code of the Samurai. Throughout the game, Jin is a character in deep emotional conflict and this, above all else, is what drew me to Ghost.
The historical setting is fascinating. I began to study ancient Japanese music, folk songs, court music, sacred music and taiko, as well as the different pentatonic scales used in Japanese music. It is a very rich world full of a lifetime’s worth of exploration. In the game’s score I used Shakuhachi, Koto, Shamisen, Taiko Drums and Chants, and my favourite discovery, Biwa. The Biwa is an instrument that Samurai used to play and the art of it was almost lost — there are now only a few players in the world! Luckily, I was able to find one of them to play on Ghost. It’s a really special sound and you can hear it on "The Heart of the Jito."
I wanted to create an emotional world that would not only support the narrative and action beats of the game, but I hope it also completely draws the player into the heart and soul of Jin’s emotional journey."
Shigeru Umebayashi described how he approached the themes for the open world:
I was born in Kita-Kyushu city, which is physically close to the island of Tsushima. However, I have never been there personally, and I was not very familiar with the history of Tsushima before working on this game. Having joined this project, I think it would be a great opportunity to visit.
When I was composing music for the game, I was inspired by Japan’s nature, climate, traditional lifestyle, and classical Japanese music. My compositions feature various Japanese instruments, including shakuhachi, koto, and Japanese taiko. But the instruments are nothing without the players. For me, I view musicians as crucial avatars of myself. They materialize the music that I envision and want to tell, delivering it to the listeners. Without this collaboration, I would merely be a street musician who nobody listens to.
When listeners hear the music for the game, I hope that they feel the hearts of the people of Tsushima – those who love the land, living and plowing with the natural bounties it offers, and those of the warriors who take their katanas and follow the way of the samurai.
References and notes
- Exclusive to the Japanese two-disc soundtrack