Ubisoft sent over a canned Q&A session with some juicy information on their Xbox 360 Naruto game. Naruto: Rise of a Ninja is due out this fall and the development team wants their title to move beyond fighting.
Some very good games have already been release about Naruto. However, they almost all focus the entire experience on the fight; which is an important aspect of the franchise but is not the only one. We decided to focus our game on Naruto himself and his coming of age journey by offering a large variety of gameplay: fight of course but also RPG elements and platforming. We want to make the player feel he IS in the anime. For this we designed a huge city of Konoha that allows free roaming and supports a lot of interaction with its inhabitants. Fans will be able to recognize each building of this city and really feel as if they were Naruto, a young Ninja of the Village of the Leaves.
While it sounds like Naruto: Rise of a Ninja is axing out fighting, there is a versus mode in Naruto: Rise of a Ninja. Details are scarce, but players will be able to fight online via Xbox Live. Around 90 people are working on Naruto: Rise of a Ninja, meticulously recreating the world for the Xbox 360. Players will be able to freely explore the city of Konoha and other familiar areas without loading times. Ubisoft Montreal chose to use cel-shading in Naruto: Rise of a Ninja to keep the feel of the anime series and from these screenshots it looks like they are doing a fine job.