Acclaimed ninja Ryu Hayabusa, central character of the upcoming Ninja Gaiden 3, is a man of emotion. He is a man capable of hurting inside, despite the viciously brutal and exact methods in which he dispatches foes with his family's katana (or other weapons).
In a recent interview, Game Director Yosuke Hayashi touches upon changes made to the gameplay and philosophy of Ninja Gaiden 3.
Ninja Gaiden 3 will move away from the second game's emphasis on incredible amounts of violence via the Obliteration Technique (in which Ryu more or less had to cut all of his enemies in half to kill them). This time the violence, while still present in a big way, will have much more meaning and add to the game's philosophy, while taking away some of the lunacy.
Hayashi wants players to feel that the vast amounts of killing throughout the game have a real psychological effect on Ryu. Being the best ninja ever isn't without its hardships, as Hayashi comments:
“We want players to feel the drama, then have a bit of a break, then go back to drama — almost like you’re watching a movie.”
“He’s not just like a killing machine. We’ve used that theme of consequence to show a more human feeling. The more he kills the more he suffers.”
To give his rage more of a presence in the actual game, Ryu comes equipped with a rage-like ability -- really more of an inner demon -- that he can turn on to destroy enemies with impunity. The mechanic was first introduced in the Ninja Gaiden 3 E3 2011 gameplay demo, and also made an appearance at Tokyo Game Show 2011.
Speaking to CVG, Hayashi further discussed some of the changes he and Team Ninja are making to Ninja Gaiden 3 both to update the series and make it a little more accessible. Since the series' reboot back in 2004, the Ninja Gaiden games have been among the most unforgiving titles available, even on the Normal difficulty setting.
As a result, Hayashi has mentioned injecting a "playstyles" system into Ninja Gaiden 3 in order to help players who might not have cut their teeth on the earlier games (or other difficult games, like Dark Souls) so they can still play and have fun. This may come in especially handy for Nintendo fans. As a launch title for the Wii U, Ninja Gaiden 3 will mark the series' first appearance on a Nintendo console since the 8-bit era.
It's going to be interesting to see how the new "playstyles" systems will be incorporated in the final game. Will the difficulty just be very easy? Probably not, that's not what Ninja Gaiden is about. Perhaps there will be a sort of limited set of controls where players won't have to worry about pressing as many buttons and can be more focused on the action.
In making the new game, Team Ninja has also been drawing on its experience developing the Dead or Alive titles, and injecting that insight back into Ninja Gaiden 3's design. Really, upon comparison, the two games feature very similar core mechanics: dodge and attack when the time is right.
"We can take what we learned from of Dead or Alive and try to use that to balance Ninja Gaiden 3."
Is Ninja Gaiden 3 still on your mind to play? Are you anxious to see the next chapter of Ryu Hayabusa's life?
Ninja Gaiden 3 releases in February 2012 for Xbox 360 and PS3. The Wii U version has no official release date.
Follow me on Twitter @TrungleFever