Ninja Gaiden 3’s Yosuke Hayashi On Making Ryu Hayabusa A Dark Hero

By Spencer . November 23, 2011 . 2:51pm

Ninja Gaiden 3 will show a different side of Ryu Haybausa. Team Ninja want to present the series protagonist Ryu Hayabusa as a dark hero. In this interview, Yosuke Hayashi, the head of Team Ninja, discusses how the game is designed to make players connect with Ryu.


When we were talking at E3, we discussed the consequences of violence. The latest build has characters that run away from Ryu after seeing their friends fall at the hands of Ryu’s blade.


Yosuke Hayashi, Team Ninja Head: When we were thinking about what to do in Ninja Gaiden 3 and the future of action games, we didn’t think about having longer combos with more hits or adding more weapons. In order to make an action game that appeals to adults, we needed to have action and emotion. Something that would make a mature audience get out of the game and into the experience.


That’s an interesting decision because deciding not to kill enemies would lower a combo and perhaps a player’s score since you can’t use Ryu’s ultimate attack or the dragon transforming ninpo. Both attacks auto target enemies, even ones that are trying to run for their lives.


That was intentional. We’re presenting this story with Ryu Hayabusa as a dark hero and for players to feel it we need them to get blood on their hands. If you’re looking to play the easy way where you just use ninpo to clean up enemies without cutting anyone down that’s running away from the experience. We want players to feel a connection to Ryu and to do that they have to have blood on their hands too.



Seeing enemies that run away felt intentional too, so is there going to be a way to play through Ninja Gaiden 3 where you kill less or if you spare lives there is some reward?


I get asked this question a lot and it seems like people are looking for a way to be a hero without being a dark hero. They’re looking for a nice way to do things, but with Ryu Hayabusa being a dark hero that is not who he is. That’s not the experience we want to give. We want to show his struggles, the way he waivers in what he does. Not just show that, but to have players experience that as well.


A dark hero wants to do the right things, but sometimes he has to do bad things in order to do good. We want players to emphasize with that and to connect with Ryu. In order to do that, players have to act as Ryu and get their hands bloody.


I felt I got my hands bloody, but at the same time Ryu feels so powerful he’s cutting through people like a knife going through hot butter. It feels like Ryu is slaughtering people compared to the previous Ninja Gaiden games where demons put up a fight.


That was intentional too. The London stage we’ve been showing is the prologue stage and we want people to feel like superhero Ryu Hayabusa. Within the course of the story, you will face challenging enemies and will have a harder time progressing through stages. However, it’s not just about that. We have to have the players feel like Ryu is a superhero, the Ryu Hayabusa they know, to make them emphasize with the consequences and as the game progresses see him as a true dark hero. But, there will be hard enemies!



I think we haven’t seen or felt those yet since we’ve only seen the prologue stage and Team Ninja is known for creating challenging video games. What can you tell us about the tough parts? How are you going to make Ninja Gaiden 3 comparable to the other games in the series?


We’re definitely thinking about challenges and the difficulty level will be there for players that want a challenge. The way we’re thinking about difficulty is not just ranks, we want to work it into the game design. So, this title will play a little bit differently from past Ninja Gaidens.


For example, the ninpo we’re using now will heal you. Ryu Hayabusa turns into a dragon and eats an enemy, which restores health. That’s the first time we’ve done something like that in the series. If you don’t want to heal you’re not going to do the dragon transformation and if you don’t want to do that you can take on the challenge of not healing. Using those kinds of new gameplay elements where you feel a new challenge in Ninja Gaiden 3.


I think sliding is a good element for the hardcore crowd since you can slide into enemies to close distance or use it to evade. Are you going to have more elements or techniques like this?


There will be other actions like this. The battle system has been tweaked quite a bit and hardcore fans will notice the differences when they play it. For example, the ultimate technique can be used as part of a combo. If you’re in a combo and hold down triangle or Y you can cancel the combo and trigger the ultimate technique. That’s one example of how we’re making a more action oriented experience.

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