Interviews// Ninja Gaiden 3

Posted 28 Sep 2011 13:59 by
Games: Ninja Gaiden 3
SPOnG: There have been changes in the weapon upgrades and ninpo as well? Can you explain a little bit about those?

Peter Garza: As far as weapons go, we really wanted to focus on the story in portraying Ryu as this dark hero and the fact that he’s going around killing people with a sword. Swordplay, as a theme, plays into the story of the single-player mode. So throughout the course of the story you’ll get new weapons which will upgrade moves and powers. But it’s not like you’re going to a store and just buying upgrades and switching things out. We really wanted to focus the single-player mode on swordplay, and the brutality that encompasses.

Online, however, we have a different idea. It’s more like the world of ninjas, and for that you’ll be able to make your own ninja and compete with other people from around the world. You can customise the way you look, the weapons that you use and compete on a global scale.

SPOnG: Tell us a bit more about the multiplayer mode - it’s the first time it’s been featured in a Ninja Gaiden game.

Peter Garza: There’s co-op missions, which you can complete with either a computer-controlled AI or another player, and also eight player online team battles and deathmatches. You start out as a rookie ninja, and there’s a level system that allows you to grow as you play more of the modes. You can unlock new abilities as well as items and customisation features - there are about 2,000 kanji characters that you can wear on your back, for example. Within the rules for the deathmatches and team battles we’re trying to put our own ninja spin on that.

SPOnG: Ninja Gaiden games are traditionally known for being frantic and fast-paced. Has it been challenging to design multiplayer stages and account for a large number of players because of that fact?

Peter Garza: Yeah, it involves a lot of iteration and basic level geometry. We’re always trying to find out what would happen if you placed a certain object here, or let players slide down there... it is a lot of work, but it’s also the fun part of it. It’s not so much a challenge in terms of latency though, as we’ve done online fighting games before. We’re using our experience with Dead or Alive to make sure we can deliver an online action game that fans of the series will love.

SPOnG: There’s a Wii U version of Ninja Gaiden 3 coming. What has been your experience with the platform? There’s been a lot of talk about using the touch screen on the controller in a similar fashion to Ninja Gaiden: Dragon Sword on the DS...

Peter Garza: We’re just getting the game up and running on the development hardware, so it’s not completely in parallel with the Xbox 360 and PS3 versions. We’re thinking of ways to use the controller, and definitely Dragon Sword is there as a point of reference for how to do Ninja Gaiden using touch controls. Whether that gets put in as-is, or whether we tweak it for the Wii U... we’re still trying to figure out what works best.

SPOnG: You mentioned that you wanted to tell a more human story in regards to Ryu Hayabusa. How difficult is it to try and tell a more emotional story in the realm of video games, without impeding on the gameplay itself?

Peter Garza: One thing that we really changed in order to keep players engaged in the story is how we deal with more ‘video game’ elements. So for example, in the past you had essence popping out of dead bodies which you absorbed and brought to conveniently-placed dragon statues that would magically transport you to a shop. All of those ‘gamey’ elements take you out of the world and impede immersion.

For Ninja Gaiden 3 we’re looking for different ways to work that kind of functionality. The normal gameplay and the combat play into the story itself, and then the events of the story also work back into the gameplay. One example is the curse that Ryu has with his arm. That curse feeds off the fact that Ryu has killed so many people, and in gameplay terms the more people you kill the more that curse flares up. You can do super-cool moves to unleash those powers, but the thing is you have to kill people in order to do that. That’s the balance, the give and take between the gameplay and story that we’re trying to use to weave this more immersive experience.

And obviously maybe some players won’t be craving a Ninja Gaiden game with a deep, deep story - but we hope that we can offer the action that everyone knows, loves and respects while also taking the game experience to new levels.

SPOnG: How interesting is it, as an American developer to be working with a Japanese team? There must be some cultural differences, alongside the whole belief of Japanese studios a few years ago that they couldn’t compete with the West on a global scale...

Peter Garza: Yeah, and I think to be honest Team Ninja is also in a unique position, because our games have been more successful in the West than they have been in Japan. The team knows that they have plenty of fans out there, but it’s not like they’re going to make a game [specifically tailored] for the West. Ninja Gaiden games came from a team of developers making a game that they wanted to make. It just so happened that people in the West thought that it was pretty cool! And so the sensibilities just sort of merge well.

Even now, you have people on the development team who are very open to Western games. We’ll talk Portal 2, we’ll talk Dead Space, and all these Western games that people are looking forward to. They know what’s out there. As a team they’re just focused on making a cool experience. So that’s why when we talk about the seamless story-gameplay experience... they see that in the games that we’re playing out here in the West, and they see that as the future of where games are going. And we want to be a part of that and not because it’s big in the West, but because those are cool games.

SPOnG: Thank you very much for your time.

Peter Garza: Thank you!
<< prev    1 -2-
Games: Ninja Gaiden 3

Read More Like This


Posting of new comments is now locked for this page.