Naruto: Clash of Ninja Revolution 2 isn’t a localized or revised version of an existing Naruto game currently sitting in a store in Japan. Tomy opted to invest in a game designed for North America. The story of Naruto: Clash of Ninja Revolution 2 went in a different direction – focusing on the ANBU instead of the Sasuke retrieval arc. This gave Tomy a chance to include characters created specifically for Naruto: Clash of Ninja Revolution 2. I spoke with Glenn Stotz, Product Specialist at Tomy USA, about the decision and the new Two Man Squad mode.
One of the big surprises for Naruto: Clash of Ninja Revolution 2 is playable original characters. Why did you decide to add brand new characters to the roster?
Glenn Stotz, Product Specialist at Tomy: Revolution 2 is first and foremost, a fighting game. What we’ve tried to focus on overall was making this a super cool fighting game with thematic elements from our favorite parts of the Naruto universe. Most of the fun in fighting games is learning new tricks with new characters, and also seeing how these tricks play out with the rules and other characters that have already been in play for years now.
If we were to recycle all of the characters from TAKARA TOMY’s Japanese Naruto titles, this entire field of fun for the fighting game enthusiast would have been missed. Furthermore, as mentioned before, we are trying to focus on elements of the Naruto universe we think are really cool; But the Anbu have never really been a focal point of the original series. What making these new characters allows us to do is explore and bring to life what our imaginations had been cooking up about the possibilities of the Anbu.
How do they fit into the story? Are they Anbu?
There are three brand new characters in the roster that are Anbu. Yugao has been in the television series for a couple of episodes before, but Towa and Komachi are completely original characters whose look we’ve designed ourselves. Since the storyline involves a great mystery, unraveling it will require the covert investigatory skills that the Anbu are known for.
Can you tell us what kinds of attacks Komachi, Towa, and Yugao do?
We don’t want to go too far into the movesets for these or other new characters because we want it to be a fun surprise for people who pick up the game, so I’ll go over these three generally. Towa has a tattoo that he can extend outward from his skin with his chakra, Komachi specializes in using the Kanzashi that she uses to hold up her hair, and Yugao set a precedent as the fastest Clash of Ninja character to date.
Who designed the original characters?
The character design was a combination of efforts from TOMY, Viz and Eighting in Japan. We conceptualized them here at TOMY alongside the themes present in Story Mode. Then we went to Eighting, whose team has an incredible love for Naruto. Their artists are very talented and combined their love of the series to create character concepts that had the possibility of appearing in the Naruto world. It was back and forth from there, deciding and finalizing how they look, act and attack, etc., until we had the final product. Finally when we had what we were happy with, the characters were created and shown to Viz Media and Shueisha for their pivotal approval of these characters into the Naruto universe. After being approved, the character designers at Eighting defined their movesets and sent renders to Studio Pierrot in Japan to create finalized drawings of the characters to use in the game’s character select screen and original opening movie.
I heard there was a special way players can point at the screen with the Wii remote. What does this do?
There is a new system in the game called Paper Bombs that takes advantage of the Wii Remote’s pointing abilities. Players can hold down the B Button and Z Button triggers and take aim at the screen to toss paper bombs. You can aim at the stage obstacles to set traps on them, or aim at players to attack them. If you don’t have time to point you can also avoid aiming at the screen and toss a Paper Bomb straight toward your enemy, or hold down on the Control Stick to plant one on the ground in front of you.
I’m really psyched that Naruto: Clash of Ninja Revolution 2 has a tag team system. When did you decide to add this in?
We pretty much decided to include the Two Man Squad Mode from the beginning of the concept phase. We knew players loved Versus Mode, but more than that, we knew players loved discovering new ways to create killer combos. Two Man Squad mode really opens up a whole new world of possibilities for combos since characters can swap in with chakra in the middle of a juggle. It also creates a fun way to recreate fights from the television show or team up unlikely allies if you want too.
Is the tag team system similar to Tekken Tag Tournament or is it like Marvel vs. Capcom 2 where partner characters can also act as assists?
What makes our Two Man Squad Mode unique is that it can happen almost instantaneously in the heat of battle. Since tagging in or out ultimately relies on chakra (and remembering that it won’t cost you chakra if you tag out from hiding behind a destructible object), a player’s strategy can be greatly enhanced by understand the two characters’ operations individually, how they can link together combos on the fly, factoring in chakra regeneration while they sit out, when to use jutsu at the tail-end of a combo, or how to save chakra so you can switch out as an alternate defensive mechanism. All of these factors make playing a Two Man Squad match a completely different game.
What kind of combination attacks can players do?
Characters can do combination jutsu if both their chakra gauges are filled by pressing Forward + Jutsu. If they share a unique relationship from the show they will do a super unique and new animation. If not they will perform a standard, cinematic combo attack. Naruto as a series is constantly touching on the value of teamwork and we really wanted to reward people who learn how to properly navigate two characters into a super combination attack. So all of them are really super cool, flashy, and powerful. My personal favorite is the jutsu Hinata and Neji share- it’s brutal!
Did any classic characters get revised for Naruto: Clash of Ninja Revolution 2?
A fair share of characters received revisions as a result of more strenuous play-testing and player feedback we noted from die-hard fans on the internet.
You know we haven’t heard is the Sound Five are confirmed to be in the game or not. Will Orochimaru’s subordinates make an appearance?
The Sound Five will not appear in Revolution 2 because of the overall direction of the game. We had developed the Anbu themes and overall tone of the game from the start to really facilitate the fresh faces we’ve added to the roster. It’s a tough decision but ultimately we felt our decisions were more fresh and exciting to Naruto fans and fighting game fans alike. Naruto is a popular license, and we know that, so our goal was to give players something new in the Naruto world that no one else could give them.
Out of all the new characters who is your favorite to use?
Personally I like Towa, the Anbu who controls his tattoo. It’s a cool idea, but even cooler to see and control on the screen. I do also go back to Tenten from time to time because she has always been my go-to from Revolution. It’s hard to pick a favorite because I know how much thought and time was put into developing all of these characters, so really I could pick up and play as anyone depending on my mood.
I remember TOMY said they took input from tournament players and fans. What suggestions were implement in Naruto: Clash of Ninja Revolution 2?
It is very important to us here at TOMY to continue to make improvements to our games and deliver products that Naruto fans will love. This time around, we’ve included On/Off switches for Stage Transitions and Obstacles. We’ve increased the AI difficulty of the unlockable Difficulty 4. We’ve also made adjustments to some character combos or abilities (like Gaara’s back-turned Up + A).
Is there a way to do the hand sign motions with the standard Gamecube controller?
No, you can only perform the Hand Signs with the Wii Remote and Nunchuck control scheme. You will be able to toss Paper Bombs in any control scheme though.
TOMY has really gone out of their way to create Naruto games for the US market, but we’re about to reach Shippuuden. Do you plan on continuing to create original Naruto games or are you going to go backwards and release Naruto Shippuuden: Geiktou Ninja Taisen EX?
While we haven’t made any announcements yet regarding future Naruto titles on the Nintendo platforms, it’s safe to say that we never want to go backwards! We are extremely proud of Revolution 2 – it’s unique from any other Naruto title on the market, locally or in Japan, and there’s a little bit of each of us here at TOMY that has gone into its production. You can be sure that we’re not looking to ever disappoint our fan base!
Images courtesy of Tomy.