Ninja Gaiden 3 Interview With Fumihiko Yasuda

By Darryl Kaye on June 29, 2011, 3:21PM EDT

Ninja Gaiden 3 took this year's E3 by storm. Not only did we find out that a version of it would be appearing on the Nintendo Wii U, we also got to sample some rather mean gameplay.

To top it all off, we got to speak to the game's lead developer, Fumihiko Yasuda. We spoke about the amount of blood in the game, the focus on the katana and whether Team Ninja would work with other developers again. There's always controversy about violence in video games, but with Ninja Gaiden 3 there is a ton of blood. Did you ever think about toning it down?

Fumihiko Yasuda: Regarding violence, we don't really think about other titles. with Ninja Gaiden 3 we wanted to focus on his sword (katana) and we wanted to focus on how to cut through flesh and bone. That's why this time, we're showing lots of blood and violence. We wanted to show the reality of cutting a human being like that. At the same time, we removed the ability to chop off arms, heads or legs. Since there is so much focus on the katana, will there be no other weapons at all?

Fumihiko Yasuda: Other than katana, we understood that other types of weapons are well accepted among the users. But in the single player mode we really wanted to focus on the katana and how to cut through the enemies using it. We've noticed the game is set in London. Why did you decide to take it away from the East?

Fumihiko Yasuda: The demo we're showing off is set in the city of London, but of course he will travel around the world. The reason we chose London as the beginning is because there is a mysterious masked enemy and London is related to that guy. In the past we've seen the initial game as an Xbox 360 and then a Sigma version for PS3. Since it's now multiplatform, does this mean there will be no Sigma in the future?

Fumihiko Yasuda: That's very difficult to answer. With Ninja Gaiden 3 we want to release it as a multiplatform title. And to be honest, we're still thinking about the period after Ninja Gaiden 3. But if we were to do Sigma, or another kind of game, we think we couldn't do it the same way we've done Sigma so far. Can you tell us anything more about Ninja Gaiden 3 for Wii U?

Fumihiko Yasuda: For Nintendo Wii U, we showed some movies already and it will be called Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor's Edge. But it's still Ninja Gaiden 3. The basic game, story and main elements are similar to Ninja Gaiden 3, but we knew that there are various unique elements for the Wii U. So we are just thinking about how to implement new elements into the game. Ryu's armour looks different this time around and his muscles are going crazy, why?

Fumihiko Yasuda: His arm is a key point in the storyline. So at this point in time, we don't have much to talk about, but one thing we can say is that it's kind of like a curse. Will he remove his mask?

Fumihiko Yasuda: The reason he wears his mask is to hide his feelings. With the mask on, he's a killing machine. This time around we wanted to focus on his humanity. So in the later stages there is a scene where he shows his humanity and at that point he will be unmasked. How do you think the game compares to others in its genre. Hack n' Slash is quite a niche genre.

Fumihiko Yasuda: The Ninja Gaiden series tends to be recognised as a hack n' slash game. But this time, we want you to feel it's more of an action game, with some hack n' slash elements included. We feel it's completely different from other hack n' slash games. Some developers now are having to go for increasingly larger audiences and are having to compromise their creative ideals to do this. Do you think that's a good idea, or should creatives be allowed to just make the game they want to make without so much pressure to always sell more?

Fumihiko Yasuda: As a developer, of course we want to create the game we want to create. The theme of Ninja Gaiden 3 is that of a ninja and very Japanese topics. But when we consider the global market we think maybe it's too Japanese, or maybe it's too ninja. We're always thinking about how to make people other than the Japanese learn more about ninja. Japanese developers are frequently working with Western studios now to try and bridge the gap. Is this something you'd consider?

Fumihiko Yasuda: We've already had the experience to work with an outside company, when we worked on Metroid: Other M. It showed we are willing to talk to others about future titles, but there are no concrete discussions at this time. Do you feel that Ninja Gaiden 3 will be more accessible to a wider audience?

Fumihiko Yasuda: The previous Ninja Gaiden games were very hard, but being hard is a variable element. Core gamers of the Ninja Gaiden series are expecting the same level of challenge. So we want to react to that, but at the same time we accepted that there was some unreasonable difficulties in it. By removing those elements, we think this game will be more accessible to people outside of our core audience. Do you think that's necessary though? Titles like Demon's souls prove you can still be successful, while still offering a strong challenge?

Fumihiko Yasuda: I played Demon's Souls, but there are limited numbers of players it can attract. We don't want you to misunderstand. We don't want to make the game easy, we want to present various ways of playing the game. So one element is difficulty, but we believe there are some other elements that other gamers can enjoy.

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