Team Ninja Head: Ninja Gaiden 3 Was “A Japanese Hamburger For The West”

By Ishaan . June 20, 2012 . 12:31pm

Team Ninja head, Yosuke Hayashi, feels as if their latest game, Ninja Gaiden 3, may have been a misguided effort. “It seems like we made a Japanese hamburger for the West,” Hayashi told Gamasutra in a recent interview at E3.


Ninja Gaiden 3, which is the first game in the new series to not be headed by Tomonobu Itagaki of ex-Team Ninja fame, was released earlier in the year to a poor reception in the west. Hayashi feels that, perhaps, he and his team didn’t emphasize their own strengths enough, and tried a little too hard to cater to western tastes.


“Maybe as a Japanese developer, we need to make good Japanese food… and that’s what people are wanting from a Japanese developer,” Hayashi suggests. Later, he states: “We really felt that we need to emphasize our strengths as a developer and push those further, moving forward.”


The problem with Japanese companies, Hayashi shares, is that many are struggling to simply remain afloat in today’s market. It’s also a question of resources. Team Ninja don’t have the resources that a larger developer like Ubisoft’s Assassin’s Creed team might have. Going forward, Hayashi feels that Team Ninja need to offer a different kind of entertainment from what western studios that strive to emulate Hollywood put out.


“If we can find the people that enjoy that kind of entertainment, then we can win,” Hayashi believes. “We can be successful.” He emphasizes in a later quote: “We’re not going to offer burgers anymore, but we’re going to offer you damn good sushi.”


Meanwhile, Ninja Gaiden 3 may soon find a chance to redeem itself. An updated version of the game, Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor’s Edge, with improved AI, the return of dismemberment, and new weapons, will be published by Nintendo for the Wii U this holiday season.

Read more stories about & & & & on Siliconera.

  • MrRobbyM

    Stick to know what you know best and experiment when it truly interests you and you have an actual drive and passion for it.

  • malek86

    No, just no. Sorry, but I’m starting to find this a bit ridiculous. You can’t simply put out a bad game and then, when everyone hates it, simply handwave it with “oh, but you know, we tried to cater to western gamers”. And of course, if your game is successful, you’d never dream of saying that. You’d just say “we made the best game ever because it appeals to everyone!”.

    I don’t doubt that some developers tried to cater to western tastes and that it eventually resulted in a bad game. But lately, this has been feeling more and more like an excuse, a nice scapegoat for when you have to justify yourself for a bad game in front of your fans. “Bad game? It’s not our fault, it’s that those western guys can’t appreciate our good stuff so we had to make it sucky instead. Totally not our fault, because we are awesome and can’t make sucky games”. Sorry, but lately it’s been used too often for me to keep buying it.

    • Crimson_Cloud

      Indeed. I am disappointed with their statement. I remember seeing them quite sure in themselves when the game was about to be launched and now it seems like we simply didn’t ”get it”.

      Other then that, I don’t understand this ”western” appeal that must be forced lately? Japanese games were doing fine for just being… you know, Japanese? People expect good game, Japanese or Western style aside.

      • malek86

        Well, japanese console gaming has been on decline for the last few years (just check the weekly home console sales), while the western market has been expanding. Of course japanese developers would try to get a slice of that pie. Those who didn’t, pretty much just moved to handheld consoles, which are still going strong in Japan.

    • doubletaco

      Took the words right out of my mouth.

    • Arrei

      On the other hand, can’t it also mean they tried to cater to the west and sorely misjudged what the west wanted? It seemed like they were admitting they just didn’t do very good at making such a game, not that the game was bad because the west wanted a bad game.

      • malek86

        I’m not saying that he’s blaming western gamers for wanting something bad (my last example was somewhat exagerated). But it does come off as annoying, once you see so many developers who seem to put the blame for their bad efforts on the fact that they were doing something different from their usual.

        First, because it makes you think that they aren’t good at doing anything outside of their comfort zone. Secondly, when there was no “westernization”, developers just had to own up the fact that their game was bad. Now however, they simply say “yeah, but you know, westernization. Next time we’ll have no westernization and things will be better”. It’s just a bit too convienient. So essentially, they use this westernization as a sort of “get out of jail free” card that can only be spent once, to gain back the favor of the fans.

        They could actually try to improve at westernization, instead.

        • I don’t agree. To me It looks as if he was acknowledging the game wasn’t good and said that’s what we get for trying to make something Ninja Gaiden is not. Your reaction seems a bit kneejerk, tbh.

  • l777l

    ‘“We’re not going to offer burgers anymore, but we’re going to offer you damn good sushi.”’
    I don’t like sushi (the actual food), but I welcome what this statement means for games.

  • I feel like he and other Japanese game devs should already know this because we never shut up about it. Whenever we see a game coming out that looks like it’s pandering to a different audience that won’t take advantage of it’s strength, we go into a frenzy.

    Basically, if he and his team had paid attention to its fans, we there wouldn’t be a need for these apology interviews.

    • It isn’t quite as simple as that, though. It’s completely understandable that Japanese publishers want to try their hand at competing directly with western games. Once they’ve established that they can’t do it, then they start going back to their roots and trying to find other interesting ways and features to expand the appeal of their games.

    • Andrew Austin


  • epy

    You don’t say? We’ve been saying this from the very beginning.

  • Repede91

    It’s good to hear Team Ninja finally figured this out. But they should have known NG3 would be perceived as being too dumbed down or western. People were saying things along those lines months before the game came out.

  • Vampiric

    Why is he bringing other japanese devs down to his level?

    Others are putting out damn fine sushi………

  • Suicunesol

    I like his analogy. Even if the whole world uses guns, a samurai should use a sword rather than a gun if a sword is what he specializes in. *nod*

  • heartless141

    here we go again with the appeal to the west card.
    we love japanese game for the japaness of it. some producer made good western influenced games, so what of it? it shouldn’t have anything to do with your game being bad or good.

    • Vampiric

      they learned they need to do what they do best

      which is be japanese

      not try and cater to some false western expectation

  • shion16

    I understand theyre trying to explain us why NG3 didnt worked, but its just that…….WHY!!? Why did they changed the formula that bad, NG 2 was almost perfect, great action, great level desing, great combat system, and then……NG 3 just removed all of the good stuff the saga was known for…… i just dont understand

  • XYZ_JolteonZ980

    That doesnt give me much confidence in the one coming to Wii U, I mean, it doesnt sound like they fundamentally rebuilt the game to make it aligned with the vision that the developer suggests that they wanted to achieve.

    Unless he is a state alchemist I can not imagine this has changed from a hamburger to sushi just from a few additional toppings like cheese and bacon.

    • MrSirFeatherFang

      I’m pretty sure the Wii U version will not be drastically different from it’s Ps3/360 version. Those who played deeply into NG3 will be the only ones to appreciate all the changes (which should have been done from the start). It seems like we won’t be hearing any details if they improved the netcode or not, because it was real awful ()on both PS3 and 360

      • TrevHead

        I hope so, I won’t buy NG3 for the 360 but I will want to buy NG3.5 for the WiiU

  • ” he and his team didn’t emphasize their own strengths enough, and tried a little too hard to cater to western tastes. he and his team didn’t emphasize their own strengths enough, and tried a little too hard to cater to western tastes.”
    God i hate this, will Japanese Companies stop “trying” to cater to Westerns taste because most Gamers don’t really care especially to games that don’t need it. Just stick to ur style and make the game u want, and hell just make Sports and Shooters if u wanna cater to “Western” Taste :l

    • Vampiric

      its just this game from them

      they do alot of really japanese lookin things which is great

  • neo_firenze

    I’m happy to see this recognition, and it’s especially promising to see it come from a Japanese dev in a culture where admitting you made a mistake is something most are afraid to do because it’s seen as “losing face”.

    I am perfectly OK with a misstep that leads Team Ninja back to doing what they do best, and I LOVE that I’ve seen a few people publicly say that focusing on their own core strengths as Japanese developers is a better strategy than trying to appeal to the West. Toshihiro Kondo of Falcom is another who said more or less the same thing. As a fan of that certain unique Japanese flavor in games, I hope this kind of sentiment catches on.

    My respect for Team Ninja just went up.

    • gouramiagogo

      in a culture where admitting you made a mistake is something most are afraid to do because it’s seen as “losing face”.

      That’s ridiculous.

      • neo_firenze

        What’s ridiculous? It’s not my opinion, that actually IS the way Japanese business culture (and really society in general) works – saving face is generally one of the top priorities, and that often leads to companies being reluctant to admit mistakes. Don’t take my word for it, just look at Google:

        There are some signs that things might be changing a little bit though. A couple notable recent examples in the gaming industry: Nintendo slashing 3DS prices and apologizing to early adopters, and Square-Enix admitting Final Fantasy XIV’s disastrous launch tarnished the brand. Here’s hoping honesty does become more of a trend, and I think it’s a good thing that Hayashi is being so honest and open here in contrast to traditional Japanese norms.

  • mikanko

    What’s his excuse for NInja Gaiden Sigma 2 being far far far dumbed down in difficulty level than the first NG2?

    Not that I’m saying Sigma 2 isn’t obviously a better game than NG3. It’s just hard not to think there’s a case of Team Ninja losing a large chunk of their development team that were better at crafting a challenging experience the newer NG games were known for.

    The problem may have had more to do with them trying to do make a game unique from the previous offerings to distance themselves from Itagaki’s cohorts who’ve left.

    • malek86

      I wonder if NG3RE will play more like the old games. Hayashi has always been going on about how they need to find their own identity away from Itagaki, but people seem to prefer the old style, so yeah. Of course it doesn’t help that the new game is pretty bad…

      • MrSirFeatherFang

        As someone who extensively played through NG3, I’m gonna say NG3RE’s core gameplay still seems to be the same as the original. Though I’m going to enjoy this upgrade, I don’t think you will (or maybe you will?)

  • If placing too many different ideas in a 6-foot blender, expecting them to mix well is their idea of “catering to western tastes,” then that’s not the case.

  • I know that hating on Hayashi is the “in” thing right now, but the dude at least deserves some credit for publicly owning up to his team’s mistakes and trying to figure out how to avoid them going forward. At least he’s not pulling the Motomu Toriyama “Western gamers JUST DON’T GET IT” bullcrap.

    • It’s Virtually the same thing.

      “Nobody liked our game because they don’t get it.”

      “Noboy liked our game because our interpretation of Western games sucks.”

      Toriyama, in some shady and passive aggressive ways, owned up to it and made a, for the most part, better game. Now it’s Hayashi’s turn.

      • Matthew Nichols

        It really isn’t the same at all, in fact, they’re fundamentally very different statements. He’s not blaming the consumer for not “getting” the product, he’s blaming himself for not “getting” the consumer. He’s acknowledged that the fuck-up was THEIRS, and not the consumer’s. He tried to give Western gamers what HE thought they wanted and realised after the fact (presumably from all the negative feedback) that he wasn’t giving them anything close to what they actually wanted at all. He tried to do something different and cater to a different audience but it turned out terrible because he didn’t do it right. The fault is all his. THAT is what he’s saying.

        • They’re virtually/fundamentally the same because they’re both excuses made to negate the fact that they simply made bad decisions with their game.

          The First statement was in reference to Toriyama. The second was for Hayashi. I got exactly what the First person was talking about.

          • How is admitting that he and his team were misguided and made a bad game “making excuses”?

  • British_Otaku

    I recall reading somewhere that Ninja Gaiden (the 2004 Xbox title) was aimed the West from the beginning… >_> Reminds me of this poor reimagination of a good concept in another combat focused game starting with a “D” and having a “C” around the end…

    Dragon Ball Z Kinect.

  • Anime10121

    Finally, why is it so hard for Japanese developers to realize we dont want Japanese versions of Western games, and that the fans of their series just want them to do what they do naturally and make the games THEY want, and not the games they THINK we want.

    • keithmaxx

      Because that’s the general Japanese attitude toward just about everything. I’m not saying that it’s a bad thing, but sometimes it’s also this kind of perspective that makes them feel “misguided”.

      Rather than simply make games THEY want or they THINK we want, I think they should rather go out of their way asking fans and real Westerners what are interesting or desirable BEFORE heading down to design… or planning, for that matter.

      • Anime10121

        Yeah, its kinda why I HATE the internet age we live in, there will always be more complainers speaking aloud than the people happy with a product.

        I all goes back to the proverb saying that “People who do right, will never get any sort of praise or respect for their work because it goes unnoticed if its done right, on the other hand, people who do wrong/bad work will get praised/respect for doing even marginally right” (something like that).

        Back before the internet blew up, you didnt hear all the rampant crying and complaining about Japanese games not “evolving” (when western games are the same) and everything being “too anime like”, and anime in general being bad.

        And its not just relegated towards Japanese games, unless your site is specifically a fan site of something, you will ALWAYS hear more complaining, crying, and know-it-all types who think everyone else is wrong, in comments/forums. Most rational people just bow out when they see the dogs start to bark. The internet has been a curse as much as it has been a blessing.

        Hell I remember even when Japanese games were still doing good in the west (last generation) you heard talk of them trying to “westernize” their games. I just dont get why they would do such foolish crap, their games sold well because they made what THEY wanted and not for some imaginative western expectations:(

    • CirnoLakes

      Looking at most gaming forums about the issue, I don’t think we’re doing a good job of making it look like we like Japanese video games.

      I’d like to think that most people are open minded to Japanese video games. But there certainly is a vocal minority at the very least, of people who really cannot stand everything Japanese in video games. And seems to be influencing a lot of influential talking figures in the industry.

      At this point, it isn’t just forum trolls who hate cuteness, girliness, anime, and retro gameplay saying this stuff. It is being parroted by popular reviewers and other prominent figures in media outlets about video games.

      • Anime10121

        Then they need to stop listening and go back to what they were doing in the 80’s, 90’s, and early 2000’s, before the mass idiots discovered the internet “professional reviewers” or not, which was making the games they wanted without major input from (or for) the west. The vocal majority are generally not a praiseworthy bunch, I mean you will just about ALWAYS hear more negativity about something in America (just referencing America since that’s where I live) than you will hear people being positive.

        Ever since we’ve been in this recession America has had a habit of basically putting down any company not based in the great ole-USA (even when a vast majority of these “American” companies employ most of their employees overseas in piss poor working environments).

        Dont get me wrong though Im not saying Japan is perfect, as I never did like the whole “moe/10yr old girl with boobs the size of Mars” phase they seem to have been going through for the last few years, but even so, most of the Western games media bashes any game even remotely Japanese for not having graphics like the Avatar film, not “evolving with the times” (when the best selling games in the West are the same regurgitated crap every year that plays the same, adds a new gun clip, or new rosters for sports games), or are just to weird or strange (when every other article you read on most sites talk about games never changing or every thing being to alike).

        Long story short, the mainstream media/gamers dont know what they want unless somebody tells them they want them. Most people nowadays wouldn’t know how to think for themselves if they got $100 for every thought they came up with on their own.

        A prime example, Resident Evil 5. The west critically and commercially loved Resident Evil 4 for its new gameplay and take on the series, it was NOT horror of any sort like the first 3 (even though nowadays people try to delude themselves into thinking it was when the only thing that had a horror element was that it was dark) and the gameplay had a different take than the previous entries. Resident Evil 5 comes along having the exact SAME gameplay, just with an added character and a little more sunlight and while journalist reviewed it well in the beginning, the general consensus is that it now sucks because of its lack of horror and too much action (when in reality, its just RE4 again with one more character, a little more light, and more enemies).

        Japan just needs to stop trying to cater to the west and go back to what they used to do, make games for Japan and translate them for the world.

        Edit: WOW long post is LONG!!!

  • Syltique

    This is fantastic news. I’m not the kind of person that will just hold a grudge against a developer to an irrational extent. He says it as clearly as possible. They tried a new vision, and they know they failed at it. They’re going to play to their strengths, and cater to the audience that likes their games – not casual gamers.

    Good, great, fucking fantastic. I’ll happily give your next game a try. I love Ninja Gaiden and would love a great NG4.

  • SirRichard

    So basically, “appealing to the West” is the Japanese variant of “We want a broader audience”.

    Also NG3 was dumbed down, stupidly easy, had a broken multiplayer mode, one weapon and a pointless story that kept trying to be dramatic and serious even as you, a ninja in the modern world, fought to the death with a cloned T-Rex. It really makes me wonder what their idea of a Western gamer is, and I can’t see it being very positive.

    To be fair, it’s good that they come out and admit they were wrong and realise what it is they should be doing (playing to their strengths! Making games we can’t get from devs on this side of the industry!), but I can’t help but feel a bit insulted when they said NG3 was “appealing to the West”.

  • Vampiric

    Anyone feeling like this is insulting western gamers?

    Like we cant except anything other than western shallow titles?

    We want japanese titles to be japanese…….

    own it. Do something different like youve been doing

    look at pokemon conquest and the fine work koei did

    follow that

    • I get the feeling you’re misunderstanding what he’s saying.

  • MrSirFeatherFang

    As someone who played through this on Master Ninja (almost done with Ultimate Ninja, but moving has halted my leisure time). Just don’t release a game with so many glitches and control issues. for an action game that relies on precise timing and reaction, slow downs and control issues are bothersome. Besides that, just do better next time. I wish he would’ve commented on the glitches and net code, etc.
    This is only one bad game from them. Metroid other M was pretty good. I haven’t given up on them yet…

  • Xeawn

    I am so sick and tired of this same excuse over and over and over again. News flash guys: It’s not the west’s fault, you just made a rubbish game! Honestly, every time a Japanese developer makes an absolute rubbish title, they go “Oh, well, we made it for Americans and they don’t understand Japanese game design and we should just stick with the Japanese market”.

    No, you made a bad game. It was a bad game. Universally it is agreed that you simply made a bad game, and now you’re releasing the Wii-U version as the game this one should’ve been. Then, when it does well you’re going to say “Oh, well, we made the Wii-U game with the Japanese market in mind and it faired much better, so clearly we need to focus on the east.” No, you made a bad game first, and a better version of it later, that’s all.

    I might be alone in this, but honestly if Japanese developers keep making bad games, then blaming it on the west when they fail, I don’t even want them to bring their games over anymore. It’s beyond pathetic at this point, everyone plays the “western gamers don’t get us” card instead owning up to making a shoddy product.

    • I don’t think that’s what he’s saying at all. He’s saying they made a bad game because they tried too hard to develop a game that didn’t play to their strengths. Read the post again.

      • Xeawn

        I read and understood the post. I understand that he’s stating in a round about way that they didn’t play to their strengths, however I also understand that the Wii-U version of the game was being developed side by side with the PS3/360 versions, and that the iteration that was stated as having been designed to pander to Western audiences was the one released with less content.

        Basically it really boils down to this: the version that he’s stating was made to appeal to western audiences is the version with only one weapon, no capability to increase your moveset or skills, only one special, and a myriad of other design choices that don’t boil down to western influence, they boil down to an engine that was not well planned out or designed.

        By comparison, the one that is supposedly more eastern influenced has all the content that a Ninja Gaiden game normally has, all the content that in the words of Itagaki were made with the west in mind.

        From Team Ninja to Capcom to Level 5 across the board, each time a Japanese company releases a game in the west that does poorly lately, they’re all very quick to play the “westerners have different tastes” card or the “we shouldn’t have developed with the west in mind” card. You never hear that talk when it’s successful.

        Fundamentally, Ninja Gaiden 3 was very lacking in content and difficulty. This wasn’t a matter of western influence, it was just a poorly finished product. Similarly, Yakuza Dead Souls didn’t do poorly because of catering to the west, it did so because of strange design decisions like moving and aiming being mapped to the same stick. Many companies in Japan lately use the western excuse, rather than admitting the possibility that the game simply wasn’t all it was cracked up to be.

        In short, I did read and understand the post very well, I simply don’t agree with the statement and views expressed.

  • cj_iwakura

    A good image that summarized the difference between NG2 and 3 was in 2, Ryu was running from giant demons. In 3, hapless enemies are backing away from -him-.

  • Cephrien

    No matter how good a Japanese game turns out to be, it will always have a hard time competing with western “blockbuster titles”. Hell– it might not even sell simply because people don’t want to take them seriously.
    Wanting to “cater to western audiences” is definitely an understandable goal. As the standards for what makes a good game and the resources needed to do so becomes higher and more expensive, Japanese developers just seem to be getting shafted more and more as time goes on. In order for bigger companies to survive, they need to find new ways to appeal to audiences outside of their region.

    A lot of companies like Capcom and Team Ninja here are becoming aware of this (even if they haven’t been going about it in the most PREFERABLE ways.)

  • Laharl

    Jeez people, he’s not insulting western games. He’s saying Japan needs to stoping apeing western games and start improving japanese ideas…

    Which is totally true, I’ve yet to play a Westernized Jgame that was anything better than average.

    • Selaphiel

      Aside from Dark Souls, Demons Souls, Devil May Cry, Bayonetta, Vanquished, the Metal Gear franchise, Resident Evil 4, the first two Ninja Gaiden games…

      • Kevadu

        You’re saying that DMC, Bayonetta, Vanquished, Metal Gear, and Ninja Gaiden are ‘westernized’? I don’t think that term means what you think it means…

        • Selaphiel

          Ack, sorry >_<

          I don't know why but I just grouped "westernized" with "western friendly".

          But my general point stands, you don't need to "Westernize" a game for it to have mainstream appeal to people in the West. Which was the point of my list, I guess.

      • Laharl

        Dark Souls plays like King’s Field, a series with a long standing Japanese Heritage. It’s much darker and more abstract than Western Fantasy. Vanquish and Metal Gear Drip anime at every corner. RE4 pioneered the modern day TPS, It’s entirely a japanese construct.

        EDIT: DMC, and by Default Bayo and NG are classic examples of modern day beat-um up’s, a genre almost exculsively dominated by Japan until God of War, all the great classic beat em ups were Japanese. RCR, Streets of Rage, Final Fight, Double Dragon…

        • Selaphiel

          All stuff that I already knew, so I’ll just copy+paste my reply to DK

          “Ack, sorry >_<

          I don't know why but I just grouped "westernized" with "western friendly".

          But my general point stands, you don't need to "Westernize" a game
          for it to have mainstream appeal to people in the West. Which was the
          point of my list, I guess."

      • Stranger On The Road

        you already got a reply for the other games, so I will address Demons Souls. Here is a bit of history for you.

        Demons Souls wasn’t released in the west by Sony because the game was considered to be too Japanese for the western market. Nobody thought that the game will make it in the west and therefore didn’t bother to bring it over.

        Along came Atlus, and said that they didn’t mind the small sales numbers on the Japanese game (if I remember correctly, they assumed that they would sell 100k copies only). Sony already had an English version of the game that was released in the Asian market, that helped Atlus to speed up the release to the west.

        Everyone was surprised by the success of Demons Souls in the west, nobody thought that the western gamers would love such a hardcore Japanese game! Heck the game is so successful in the west that some western gamers are wrongly assuming that it was targeted at them!

        Demons Souls is a Japanese game targeted at at Japanese gamers. Dark Souls is a sequel to Demons Souls.

        So before you use Demons Souls as an example of a successful Japanese game that was targeted at the west. You might wish to keep in mind that Atlus licensed the game because no one else wanted to take the risk of releasing it in the west.

        • Selaphiel

          I have one word. And one word only.

          Wut? (As in, I’m baffled)

          Thanks for the info, I’m actually rather surprised by it.

  • Gaara D.Dragon

    Yosuke Hayashi maybe a little late but im pleased he admitted the obvious.

    NG3 was a tremendously desperate attempt to appeal to a wider audience. Not that bad a game but did everything to stray away from what NG was, trying to cater to a new audience: it was very fast, not that violent, didn’t require effort or tactic and was very pretty good looking compared to the bland looking first two.

    I think its time Square admitted they had the exact SAME approach with FF XIII, which i like but was the same in trying to do what japanese developers -wrongly- assume the west wants.

  • I wish more developers would recognize what went wrong and work from there on. While the reasons that make the game “suck” are debatable (as in, perhaps the game sucks not just because of that, but mainly because of that; I really don’t know and can’t say for sure, that’s a question only the dev team would be able to give a definitive version for sure), the fact is that given the current state of the gaming industry, it’s only natural Japan is trying to mimick what’s being sucessful; the problem exists when that option, the option to do something similar to what’s sucessful right now is not cleverly revised and there’s a misguidance problem from the start.

    Lack of direction, if you must, as we end up with some games that simply don’t know what they are or who are they exactly catering to (an example that quickly springs to mind being Front Mission Evolved).

    That being said, I personally have no problem with japanese developers trying their best to innovate or to get their franchises back on top of the charts up with the games that are sucessful right now, assuming they fully understand the audience they’re creating these new games for, or if that change is actually possible, or if the team is actually ready and well prepared to deliver a product to an audience they never specifically developed for.

    Ideally, they’d all just keep on working on games for the audiences that cared for them before, but with production costs rising up this high,it’s only natural less risks are taken by publishers. I am happy knowing the team will now work on “the sushi”. After all, at the end of the day, I’d rather be eating my burgers and my sushi in different places; but that’s just me.

  • MrKappa

    What’s with all these horrible analogies from developers? Either way the only excuse they should of gave was the truth. The game just sucks.

  • Guest

    Man I could have put them on the right path in 5 minutes pre development

  • shuyai


  • TheDarkEmpress

    Since when does the “West” cater to overall lack of content and inspiration? Truly I think they’re merely trying to use that as a scapegoat in an attempt to mask an inferior product. As I recall Ninja Gaiden and Ninja Gaiden 2 did very well, and were both good games. That’s a pretty sad excuse.

    Why did Ninja Gaiden 3 really suck? Because Yosuke Hayashi headed the team while Itagaki was eating a hamburger. Seriously. I’ve lost faith in Team Ninja with that statement…here’s to hoping they don’t botch DOA 5, if they screw that up they can be assured I will not buy another product with their name on it.

  • TrevHead

    The game could have just been a slightly tweaked NG1 and 2 with better and more accessable easy modes for casual play.
    I know alot of the popular western shooters are dumb compared to many other games but those games are more about MP than SP and the fact you are playing with others gives the game depth even if the mechanics of a game is casually simple.
    Even with a MP mode ppl buy NG for the SP

    A series thats viewed by gamers as one of the most hardcore games around, dumbed down to sell to the mainstream casuals. Is it any wonder no one bought it

  • Japanese console gaming is going down but their handheld market is expanding like crazy

    who knows how the market will look in 3 years!!!

  • puchinri

    I really like what he had to say, and I appreciate that he’s going to try and do what they do best and serve it to us in what sounds like a quality dish.

  • TrevHead

    Damn my lengthy comment bugged out for some reason… hate having to retype it.
    Anyway. I think Japanese studios need to address their problems with marketing the game to the west rather than anything else, Selling as a clone wont work, especially in popular genres which are filled with western clones. Gamers view it as 3rd rate.
    Take Vanquish one of the best games this gen. It was sold to the west as a Gears clone even though it was nothing like gears, Gamers over here saw it as a poor Gears clone with no MP and a short single player IE no value (they didnt even understand how it should be played, playing it behind cover like Gears rather than like Vanquish). A few understood the merits and the mindset of the game. IE an arcade like SP experience thats ment to be replayed many times over. PPL are still picking that game up for the first time and loving the hell out of it.

    At the end of the day don’t do anything too generic, westerners will pick up on it and dislike the game for seemingly small reasons. (like the lone black dude in Binary Domain)

  • MrSirFeatherFang

    I’ve been noticing people say the game being dumb down for casual or it being too easy. Have any of you play on Hard, Master or Ultimate Ninja? Or have completed any of the Master or Ultimate Ninja Trials? It takes real skill to beat the Trials as you need to know the mechanics inside out (and a good partner, which I can’t find…)

  • Testsubject909

    Well… I’m just going to go for the most positive thing I can think of saying.

    I’m happy to finally hear a Japanese Developer figure it out. Stop trying to emulate or appeal to the western market because, quite frankly, they’re not good at it. It makes their game lose a lot of their exotic appeal and also pushes their team into highly unfamiliar territory causing them to dish out sub par or mediocre product as opposed to a more finely tuned one if they’d stick with a more familiar base to then evolve from.

    It’s a bit like watching a North American artist trying to draw in a Japanese anime style. The details are all off and it just looks… wrong… Some highly gifted one or those who know well how to fuse two different styles do come out with some very appealing work, but most tend to only succeed at creating a failed emulation of a different genre.

    As such, I’m happy to hear he figured that out.

  • keithmaxx

    I see this as one bad effect of the prevalence of utter violence and gore as the primary theme of games in the West. Not every ninja game has to portray blood and the glorified killing; what happened to the stealthy origins of the humble shinobi in Japan?

    • Testsubject909

      It gained guns, tanks, and metal gears.

  • Testsubject909

    On a side note. Japanese Burgers are pretty nice from what i can see.. Just looking at the different Japanese Burgers that are only available in a Japanese McDonald gives a hint… Do note, I’m not talking about that crazy anniversary burger with 20+ meat patties.

  • XypherCode

    That’s the power of positive thinking :D
    Can’t wait to play Razor’s Edge :))

  • Setsuryuu

    Omg, I haven’t noticed it was released yet!! XD So they performed bad in the west, that’s becoming a very terrible reocurrence with some great japanese games… =/ I hope Razor’s Edge can do the trick.

    • Testsubject909

      Watch reviews and LPs before you choose to dip into it. This Ninja Gaiden is pretty different…

      • Setsuryuu

        Wow, I just watched a review of it in my mother-tongue, because of what you said… It was pretty harsh, man. I guess that, most of all, what I got surprised was to learn that they toned down the difficulty (of course, it was maddening before, but that was the charm of it too~). Not that they just complained about that, but I better not even go that way!!

        So yeah, maybe with “improved AI” they can at least fix that at Razor’s Edge.

  • amagidyne

    That sounds like a cop-out.

    “Westernization” mysteriously only seems to affect bad games, especially if it’s a sequel and the last one was good. When a game is good and may or may not have some elements that may or may not be inspired by ones used in Western games, “westernization” somehow disappears.

    (Unless you’re a games journalist. Then you get to smugly state that anything good by a Japanese developer means they’ve “looked West” and are “breathing life into a stale genre”, even if both claims are completely false.)

    Sorry, I’ll get back to the point. At the very least, I like that he’s suggesting their games will be an alternative to Hollywood-style fare. Just hope they can actually make “damn good sushi”, and we don’t all have to sit through tortured similes involving food poisoning when their next game comes out.

    • Setsuryuu

      It does have it’s unfortunate implications, but I guess they’re just saying that more because there’s this focus in lots of japanese companies recently to expand their market to overseas and when they fail, they try to stop and think of what went wrong here and there to do better later.

      So that “westernization” speech is people mixing up “trying to sell to the west” as “trying to be the west”, which is terrible and it happens more than it should. =/

      That said, to recognize they should invest on people overseas that might want something different so they don’t need to try too hard making games in a way out of their expertise was really nice to hear, indeed.

  • KuroiKen

    He’s right. Japanese developers should develop games that are oriented on japanese players first, western players second. It’s what everyone expects out of them, and it’s what they did back then in 80s-00s, and that is what they should do from now onward as well. Japanese games are good because they are made for japanese, because that adds something different to them. If everyone made western-style games oriented on westerners, I’d immediately drop gaming forever, because that would be so boring, good that it will never happen.
    Anyways, good that he understood his fail(or, at least knows how to pretend that he did), though, for me Ninja Gaiden pretty much still died after the second, and dead don’t…wait…it’s Japan I’m talking about, dead DO come back to life there, so maybe…

    • Testsubject909

      Japanese games, or any games for that matter, are good because they’re made with the sole purpose of being good. Choosing to cater towards a specific audience will in turn color the development of your game and alter certain decisions which then tests just how well you grasp the audience you seek to please and how to develop for it.

      The west is something that is still somewhat alien to Japan, and so, is obviously not something they should be attempting to focus towards catering. Instead, they should focus upon just creating an excellent game without having a focus on a region and if the game becomes one of great quality, it will be enjoyed, no matter the region.

      edit: Actually, what would work best is to focus on catering to a Genre.

      Let’s say, for example, a company that wants to focus on making the best action games there is. If they focus on the action first and foremost, then we gamers win all the more. *coughsplatinumgamescough*

      • Mrgrgr and Unacceptable World

        Well, Platinum games himself does try to create creating alot of different game experience there.^^ Jrpg(Infinite Space) RTS(P-1000) Anarchy Reign(Fighting)^^
        As long as the company able to create a great game experience, who are going to complain there.^^

  • Tecmo should just sell potato, i mean not appreciating a genius like Itagaki who saved their company from bankruptcy with his 1-3 million seller games, that means they are a bunch of wannabees

  • Godmars


    Western gamers wanted a Japanese game. Something that improved and built upon NG1 & NG2. How was that a hard concept to understand?

  • If I wanted sushi, I go to a Japanese restaurant to eat sushi and I don’t expect any hamburgers in the menu… So let’s hope it’s a damn good “sushi” the next time they bring out….

    I still think releasing a mature game like Ninja Gaiden 3 to a casual console like the WiiU is a bad idea because it’s unpredictable on how well it sells… Adding to the fact that most people have already own it might not be buying the updated port and Ninja Gaiden series isn’t a must-have reason to buy a new console…

    • Mrgrgr and Unacceptable World

      Well releasing this game on launch is just going to add more launch title for Wii U there and hopefully will be able to sell there considering they are going to add more thing and here i hoped they are going to fix the broken mechanic in the previous game.

      • Doesn’t change the fact that it’s a port which is exactly the same as the original except some added features… Just like Batman: Arkham City Armored edition….

        If it’s an original title and not a port, I can see the potential sales numbers….

  • Setsu Oh

    its really sad that it took em one full game and its failure to get that.
    wasn’t quantum theory also tecmo? THAT wasn’t enough?
    and really what kind of info do they get? they put lots of QTEs while people have been whinning for YEARS against them!

  • Haohmaru HL

    i actually hate how some japanese developers cater western games lately, especially capcom does that, jeez they have their own developers to do that, but when others do it-they lose every bit of style and taste and originality

  • Jonathan Keycross

    “I like Assassin’s Creed, but that’s not the only game I want to
    play. We can’t compete directly with that, and we don’t want to. That’s
    not where we are”

    “I really liked The Last of Us. It looks good but I don’t think
    that’s a direction for us to go in,” he says. “We’re a Japanese
    developer. That’s us. That’s who we are”

    You are who you are, but being japanese has nothing to do with it. As a developer your potential expands beyond that. You even pointed out you liked two of the biggest “western” expectations in the industry. So if you want to appeal to “western” audiences, don´t look at the differences, look at the similarities.

    “We’re not going to offer burgers anymore, but we’re going to offer you damn good sushi.”

    Even the sushi we eat where I live is different from the sushi people eat in
    Japan. Just like in the case of hamburgers, It´s called sushi because of the recipe, not because of the nationality of who prepares it. Focus on things both “western” and “japanese” share in the recipe and add your own style to it.

  • Visa Vang

    “Maybe as a Japanese developer, we need to make good Japanese food… and
    that’s what people are wanting from a Japanese developer.”

    That’s what I’m only looking for in Japanese games. There’s not much of us in these western lands but we definitely exist and waking up every day only looking forward to Japanese games. The only thing is we can’t read Japanese, if we can read Japanese like how Japanese’s read English, our shelves will be full of Japanese games. So, what I’m trying to say is: Make us sushi and let’s us eat our own local burgers.

  • Taelan Baylor

    Maybe Tecmo should have gave Itagaki his damn commission check and they, or we the gamer, wouldnt have this problem. Itagaki brought in money and he did it on a system with a tiny market share. His games came out on time too and if they were ever delayed it was for a few forgivable months. He made a modern classic that holds up to this day. The games he made were not over engineered and were simple but deep. The less Ryu said, like Master Chief, the better. This dude is looking at the problem wrong. Team Ninja still has my attention, but I doubt they’ll ever get my money. Right now Im focused on Valhalla studios. Im not sure Devils Third will be any good, but hopefully Itagaki can come back.

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