In true ninja fashion, developer Team Ninja has stealthily crept in from the shadows amidst the Tokyo Game Show buzz to plant a razor sharp announcement right between our eyes. And before we even know what hit us, Ninja Gaiden 3 has appeared, complete with teaser poster.
The game’s development is in the earliest stages of infancy, so details are as elusive as Ryu himself. However, this new piece of concept art, shown below, is meant to hint at the direction the new title will take. The picture definitely has a more down and dirty, grittier feel to it than the usual sheen and polish that accompanies most marketing imagery for the famed franchise. Judging from the bloodied state of everyone’s favorite ninja, it would appear that hard times are ahead for Ryu.
Also at the closed-doors event, Team Ninja head Yosuke Hayashi spoke of not only a new direction for Ninja Gaiden, but also for Team Ninja as a whole. While we can’t be entirely sure what he means by that just yet, we can certainly speculate.
At one time enjoying the lofty status of a purely triple-A developer, Team Ninja has fallen on some difficult times in recent years. Relying too much on sequels, key franchises like Ninja Gaiden and Dead or Alive have been repeated, spun-off and had more Greek letters put behind them than fans or critics have cared to see. Add to that the troubles the company has had with famed creator, and former company lead, Tomonobu Itagaki, and you can see how a fresh start with a new direction might be just what Team Ninja needs.
In addition to Ninja Gaiden 3, Team Ninja mentioned that a new Dead or Alive entry, named Dead or Alive: Dimensions, will be fighting its way onto Nintendo’s highly anticipated new handheld, the 3DS. Even though they are claiming to be moving in a new direction, it is a bit odd that they are using their old stand-by franchises to do so. We can only hope the developer has been listening to fans and critics with an open mind and has addressed some of the issues (cheap difficulty, lackluster level design) that have troubled recent iterations of their games.
With the recent success of Metroid: Other M, perhaps Team Ninja really is ready to take the next step. Ranters, are you ready with your throwing stars and smoke balls to give Ninja Gaiden another go around? Or does this like too much like going back to the well and throwing on the “new darker direction” coat of paint that is so popular these days? Do you think Team Ninja has listened to fans, or do you foresee getting frustrated by deadly accurate archers you can't see and throwing the controller down after level two?