Sony announced its E3 2018 plans last week, initially confusing everyone but eventually getting its message across. This year’s show will focus on four monstrous PlayStation 4 exclusives: Ghost of Tsushima, Spider-Man, Death Stranding, and The Last of Us: Part II. While it’s perhaps got the lowest profile of the lot, it’s the first title that I want to talk about, because I think it’s got a huge chance of surprising people at next month’s show.

We recently ran a poll on Push Square asking which of the four aforementioned outings you’re most excited to see, and to my surprise, Sucker Punch’s samurai title narrowly edged out Hideo Kojima’s new intellectual property. The results took me aback a little bit: we’ve obviously seen several Death Standing trailers at this stage, but it’s still shrouded in mystery and comes from one of the industry’s most imaginative minds.

But it’s got me thinking about how Ghost of Tsushima could potentially ghost its way to our E3 2018’s Game of the Show award. The title’s Seattle-based developer has been extremely quiet since it released the excellent inFAMOUS: First Light in 2014, and we know that it’s spent the time beavering away on its all-new historical open world. Last year, Sony suit Michael Denny said the release was already playable – it’s closer to completion than most people realise, I think.

Ghost of Tsushima PS4 PlayStation 4 2

So while we don’t know a massive amount about it, we do know that Sucker Punch decided on the concept quite early and has been working on it ever since. That’s particularly exciting because it already has PS4 development experience; its engine and tools are already in place from inFAMOUS: Second Son. Yes, I’m sure it will have updated and improved its pipeline in the interim, but it’s not like it’s had to start from scratch.

And all of that means that the developer has had a lot of time to focus on making a great game. While it has a pretty flawless track record across multiple PlayStation platforms, Sucker Punch has yet to really ascend to that top-line first-party studio that Naughty Dog currently occupies. But we’ve already seen how Guerrilla Games managed to make that jump; with time and talent, the Dutch developer made one of the biggest PlayStation exclusives in eons with Horizon: Zero Dawn.

Sucker Punch already knows its way around open world games, and it certainly understands silky smooth controls. I’m personally really excited to see how the traversal looks in Ghost of Tsushima, because whether it’s Sly Cooper or inFAMOUS, the developer’s always nailed locomotion within its worlds. But I’m equally eager to see the combat; I thought First Light in particular had some outrageously entertaining gameplay – although I doubt there’ll be any neon lasers in feudal Japan.

Ghost of Tsushima PS4 PlayStation 4 3

But if there’s one area I hope the developer has invested extra effort, it’s in the mission design. The inFAMOUS games were always extremely entertaining to play, but they often felt like PlayStation 2 titles in terms of their rudimentary quests. Ghost of Tsushima needs to have more than bog-standard fetch and protect objectives; it needs to deliver a sandbox that’s filled with variety and engaging things to do.

Assuming that Sucker Punch can do that, though, and articulately illustrate it during E3 2018’s promised “deep dive”, then I think that Ghost of Tsushima could really surprise. Here we have a game that’s coming from a talented developer with plenty of PS4 experience; a title that instantly piqued interest from its mere concept alone. I think this game is closer to completion than many may anticipate, and I think it’s got a real shot at cutting through the press conference noise and taking home plenty of plaudits.

Are you looking forward to learning what Ghost of Tsushima is all about? Do you have any concerns about this potentially cool project? Shadow your way into the comments section below.