Why Team Ninja Partnered With Spark Unlimited For Yaiba: Ninja Gaiden Z

By Spencer . September 21, 2012 . 4:35pm

Yaiba: Ninja Gaiden Z is being made by Team Ninja, Keiji Inafune’s studio Comcept, and Lost Planet 3 developer Spark Unlimited. Before Yaiba started development, Spark Unlimited pitched a Ninja Gaiden game to Team Ninja.


“We started meeting with Spark Unlimited for Yaiba through Comcept. From a different route, they came up with a concept for a Ninja Gaiden game on their own and presented it to us,” said Yosuke Hayashi, Team Ninja leader, said to Siliconera.


“We knew they were that passionate about Team Ninja and Ninja Gaiden. When Inafune-san and Comcept said we’re going to work on stuff we knew of them and they were interested in making a Ninja Gaiden game. We felt if they were that passionate about it and we can probably trust them. Now, we’ve met with them and feel the three parties are one team.”


Back at the Team Ninja press event, Hayashi-san pronounced that Japanese games are not dead and wore the Dead or Alive 5 “I’m a fighter” necklace as a commitment to keeping the Japan game industry alive.


“Looking at Team Ninja and what we need to do to stay relevant in the future, teaming up with a Western studio was one of the things we needed to do,” Hayashi answered when Siliconera asked about why they partnered with a Western developer.


“We see ninjas portrayed in Western games and to us they aren’t real ninjas. There is something off about them. Zombies are a creation of the West. We feel we can bring the authentic ninja-ness, and by teaming with Spark Unlimited, they can bring the authentic zombie-ness. When we come together we can make a really unique zombie experience.”

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  • SirRichard

    “Authentic zombie-ness” is kind of hilarious judging by what I’ve heard about Lost Planet 3’s main character. I dunno, going over it all it just doesn’t seem like a winning combination. Spark Unlimited’s track record is short and miserable, and if TGS demo impressions are any indication that’s not a streak they’re breaking with Lost Planet 3.

    As for Team Ninja, they seem to be in that weird phase with the West that their fellow companies seem to have mostly shaken off by now. Ninja Gaiden 3’s panning must’ve sent a shock-wave back home but they don’t seem to have gotten why it happened. Hopefully redoing Sigma 2 for Vita while fixing 3 for Wii U will get them back in their groove, because this game’s going to need it.

    Inafune and Comcept seem fair enough, though it depends on how much input they have on the game at the end of the day. Hopefully Inafune remembers what made the Dead Rising games fun and gets that across.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Wayne-LaBranch/100002132711844 Wayne LaBranch

       “Inafune and Comcept seem fair enough, though it depends on how much
      input they have on the game at the end of the day. Hopefully Inafune
      remembers what made the Dead Rising games fun and gets that across.”

      Then again that’s dead rising, this is something else and its not like Inafune is the only one throwing in ideas and stuff, who knows.
      And Team Ninja needs to get a clue one of these days with that

  • Tre W

    It all sounds good and this game is on my radar for now…

    But for real, though? Can we stop with this whole “East vs. West” thing, already, Hayashi? I love the games I own because they’re GOOD GAMES, not just because they came from Japan. 

    The moment you and your crew get back to business and start making outstanding games again, the sooner this whole “Japanese game industry is in trouble” malarkey will cease. 

  • Paradox me

    “We see ninjas portrayed in Western games and to us they aren’t real ninjas.”

    Pssht, I don’t think I’ve seen an ‘authentic’ ninja in any video game,  much less Ninja Gaiden. Japanese portrayals of ninja are about as romanticized as they get, while the West takes that romanticization and adds surfing or turtles.

    Really though, Ryu Hayabusa is out there jumping all over the place  and cutting people into bits fine enough to make Raiden jealous. He’s not practicing stealth, donning disguises, collecting intel or using covert means of dispatching his foes.

    • Godmars

       Tenchu didn’t feature a real ninja?

      The one thing they haven’t done with the series is disguise thing. Collecting intel.

      • Budgiecat

        Cant remember but didn’t Tenchu Z do that?

      • http://twitter.com/#!/Leafy_Cam Leafhopper

         Tenchu Z did that…kinda.

        • Jaquio

          Tenchu was more realistic in the sense of ninjas because ninjas are always depicted to look like Ryu. Most ninjas in feudal japan didn’t appear that way, they could be your gardener or merchant etc… Their job was to blend in and assassinate, no way could a ninja run around in the daytime blacked out with a garment over his face.

    • z_merquise

      But Raiden can cut missiles and helicopters.

      To be serious, ninjas weren’t always depicted realistically in games, films, comics or in any forms of media.

    • Budgiecat


      • http://wiredjungle.wordpress.com/ DrakosAmatras

        That’s only part of what Shinobi actually were; for the most part, they were spies that blended into the target society.

    • http://wiredjungle.wordpress.com/ DrakosAmatras

      You… You remembered Surf Ninjas…?

      • z_merquise

        The one with Ernie Reyes Jr? I was too young when I watched it in VHS. The only thing I remembered was that everyone in my home hated it.

        We see ninjas portrayed in Western games and to us they aren’t real ninjas.

        Maybe he hadn’t seen Michael Dudikoff yet. I mean, he’s the freakin’ American Ninja, for chrissakes!

      • $30632660

        I still have that movie on VHS, no worries brah.

    • ZBaksh386

      Mighty Guy from naruto had a turtle summon just saying.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Wayne-LaBranch/100002132711844 Wayne LaBranch

     “Back at the Team Ninja press event, Hayashi-san pronounced that Japanese games are not dead and wore the Dead or Alive 5 “I’m a fighter” necklace as a commitment to keeping the Japan game industry alive.”

    Yup Japanese games sure a dead…that’s why most of the games i buy are made from the East.  Geez Some Companies really need to get a brain then get a clue about this…seriously.  Not sure how DoA is represent to the core but whatever

  • Budgiecat

    Besides Ninja Turtles, what Western Ninja titles are there? I know there’s Kasumi Ninja (Jaguar), Mortal Kombat, Way of the Warrior (3DO), and Ninja: Shadow of Darkness for PS1, but I don’t recall any newer titles other than Ninja Reflex and Mini Ninjas..

    • z_merquise

      Recently, there’s Mark of the Ninja by Klei Entertainment. Though I haven’t played the game (I don’t own an XBox 360), for what I saw and read in their interview, the developers did aim for a ninja that is believable. Stealth, infiltration, tricks and other tools that an actual ninja would use. No magic or any fancy stuff that most fictional ninjas do.

    • Mr. Silksoul


      • Jaquio

        Shinobi also

        • British_Otaku

          I-Ninja as well. (Billy West is a ninja)

  • Mrgrgr and Unacceptable World

    I don’t know here, it seems Team Ninja once again have a wrong perception about Ninja lol.
    Hope there, Inafune will be able to maintain the game quality there.T_T

  • isfuturebright

    I’m really excited for this :)

  • Solomon_Kano

    It always warms my heart when East meets West, but… damn, they couldn’t have picked a developer with at least a slightly better track record?

    Spark’s involvement is anything but encouraging, so I really hope that Team Ninja and Inafune can keep them in check. The Ninja Gaiden franchise really doesn’t need back to back blemishes on its record.

  • Torncurse

    I don’t really like ninja gaiden but this is really good. i’ll buy it


    One must love the sheer level of empty rhetoric utilized by Japanese developers.

    Fancy words and all will not detract; we all know only too well exactly what western developers always bring to Japanese funded games.

    The writing is plain on the wall.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Bob-Obb/100001994017630 Jimmy Dean

    Didn’t Hayashi say not too long ago that NG3 sucked because they were trying to mimic western games? Then he goes on to partner with a western studio for the next NG? I have nothing but contempt for this bozo.

    • M’iau M’iaut

      You can leave that blind contempt elsewhere. Please be aware of our posting rules.

    • SLick123456789111

      1.Keiji Inafunes team is a factor.

      2.NG3 was bad for multiple reasons , more so than that one.

  • https://twitter.com/A_Beast_of_Prey Equinox K

    I feel this is very appropriate considering the context of this article.

  • http://ricedigital.co.uk/ I ♥ Japanese Games

    Can’t believe both Capcom and Team Ninja are entrusting Spak Unlimited with these great series. There’s only one way Lost Planet and Ninja Gaiden are heading now – and it’s not up. I love both these series, so it’s kinda sad them getting farmed out to a third rate developer…

    • http://www.siliconera.com/ Ishaan

      People said the same thing about Ninja Theory/DmC, and that reaction has changed a whole lot since the days that it was first shown off!

      • http://ricedigital.co.uk/ I ♥ Japanese Games

        This is true – the hate for DmC has certainy died down, although I think Ninja Theory have a slightly better track record. Jury’s still out on Spark for me -while the LP3 demo I played was okay, it didn’t fill me with confidence… still, I’m happy to be proved wrong! : )

  • http://twitter.com/SteveMcQuark Zack Bentley

    I’m guessing it’s because crummy american teams will shut up and do what they are told and do it for cheap.

    While good companies like Platinum or Insert whatever good Western Action team you want (Whatever the hell company David Jaffe owns now?) would probably want some sort of artistic input in the project.

    Even Platinum was arguing with Kojima over the direction of Rising, and that guy is treated like a god by a lot of developers and fans.

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