Interviews

Ninja Gaiden: Sigma 2

Interview: Or "Ninja Gaiden: 2" to be politically correct

Even though Microsoft touted Ninja Gaiden II as a huge 360 exclusive, we all knew that window wouldn't last long. And it didn't. It lasted long enough to see a bunch of DLC released, that'll no doubt be shoehorned into the PS3 version, which Tecmo is already dubbing the "ultimate" version.

With original Gaiden mastermind Tomonobu Itagaki no longer at the company, we caught up with 2's producer and director, Yosuke Hayashi, to find out what's in store for gaming's favourite ninja.

The last time we interviewed Tomonobu Itagaki he said it "would be a loss of face" for the company if a PS3 version was released? How do you respond to that?

Yosuke Hayashi: In those days, I was working on other series of Ninja Gaiden, so I wasn't in the team of Ninja Gaiden 2. I truly love and respect NG and I'm sure it's a good thing to make it evolve into more attractive game. I believe, as a developer, the worst thing that can be a real "loss of face" is to develop a sequel that isn't fascinating for our fans.

The original Ninja Gaiden Sigma on PS3 only included one major new area (the burning house). Will the sequel feature more unseen areas?

Hayashi: A new stage is prepared for each new playable character. Additionally, since we've been refurbishing the level design of all stages, I promise players who have played Ninja Gaiden 2 will find something new and fresh even in familiar stages.

I've personally played through the 360 game twice. What's new in Sigma 2 that would make me want to play through it again on PS3?

Hayashi: New playable characters, new modes, online co-op, new stages, new level design, new enemies, new cut scenes etc. There are too many new things to talk about.

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What is the PS3 hardware allowing you to do that wasn't possible on the 360?

Hayashi: I've already told you about the new elements we've added in the game, so I'd like to tell you one thing in hardware aspect. The game deals with full HD 1080P output, at least 720P.

Will you be toning down the violence aspect of the game? How do you think the fans will react to such a change?

Hayashi: Ninja Gaiden 2 was developed based on the concept of ultimate violence. We are a kind of egoistic team and get bored with the same continuous concept. For Sigma 2 we thought we would like to pursue Ninja Gaiden with sleek and sexy depiction and start evolving this game.

What can you tell us about the co-op mode? Is it true that two players won't be able to run through the entire single-player campaign together?

Hayashi: For multiplayer, we provide online co-op which allows two players to cooperate and complete each mission with voice chat. Various missions will be available, over 30 stages in fact. For players with no online connection, they can play same missions with an NPC character.

Sigma 2 has the first online compatible mode in the franchise and we won't let our users down. On the other hand, Story mode is designed for single player only. This is intentional because playing this alone, users can pursue the ultimate game system.

Itagaki said Ninja Gaiden 2 would be the last Ninja Gaiden game Tecmo made. Now he's no longer with you, is this still the case or do you see a future for the series?

Hayashi: I think I want to see more about Ryu Hayabusa, running around, jumping around in the future. But you know, it partially depends on our fans whether they would like to play more or see more about his next journey after playing this game.

What happened to Rachel? Will see return in Sigma 2? You're calling Sigma 2 on PS3 "the ultimate package", but it can't be without Rachel. Good news please...

Hayashi: What I can tell you is "SHE" is lovely and very important to the Ninja Gaiden series as well as to Team Ninja.

That didn't really help so can you tell us something about the game no one else knows?

Hayashi: If I really have to, there is a new mode to be implemented following players requests. It's a completely new mode that Ninja Gaiden games in the past had never had.

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