All of that is to say that Ghostwire: Tokyo is a game brimming with personality and unique visual/lore design elements that were clearly crafted with love and respect. It’s also a game that is obviously hindered by mechanical shortcomings that often make it a chore to play. We’ve seen that combination of abundant personality, iffy gameplay, and unrealized potential in a lot of other cult classics, which certainly makes it that much easier to predict that the game will eventually become just that.
Of course, realizing that Ghostwire is on the patch towards cult classic status doesn’t exactly help explain why being called a future cult classic could possibly be considered a compliment. After all, what’s keeping Ghostwire from finding more success in its own time?
Technically, the answer to that question is “nothing.” In fact, Ghostwire could easily still prove to be a massive hit or at least a game that is considered to be a success. I worry that its limited initial release (PS5 and PC), proximity to Elden Ring‘s game-changing debut, and notable shortcomings will keep it from finding a wider audience, but it could certainly still happen.
However, the reason I consider “cult classic” to be a compliment in the case of Ghostwire: Tokyo is because it represents the spirit of previously overlooked games like Godhand, Psi-Ops: The Mindgate Conspiracyand The Suffering. It’s a passion-driven love letter to its genre, folk tales, and Tokyo itself. Even its shortcomings were acquired in the noble pursuit of trying to just about everything just a little bit differently. It won’t appeal to everyone, but those who play it and find themselves on the same level its developers were working on will likely also soon find themselves thinking back on this game for quite some time to come. They may even unfairly compare other, more acclaimed games to it and wonder why those titles just don’t offer that same spark.
It will be easy enough for many to appreciate Ghostwire: Tokyo as a stunning love letter to specific concepts developed with the help of the kind of production values such projects rarely get to enjoy nowadays. Those kinds of games have become increasingly rare in recent years, and I have a feeling that Ghostwire: Tokyo may prove to be a rare example of such a concept even a few years from now.
I don’t know what’s next for Tango Gameworks or Ghostwire: Tokyobut I do know that this is that kind of special game that will become even easier to appreciate as time goes on and our memories of it slowly boil down to its best attributes.