While Shinobido may not be well known in North America, Spike’s stealth ninja series has a fervent fanbase in Japan. Before they revealed Shinobido 2: Tales of the Ninja as a PlayStation Vita title, fans tweeted Tenchu developer Acquire’s president with requests for a new game in the Shinobido series. To find out more about Shinobido 2: Tales of the Ninja and why Spike decided to make this a Vita game we caught up with producer Kazuhiro Watanabe.
What do you think of the Twitter campaign fueled by Endo Takuma, President of Acquire, to make a new Shinobido title?
Kazuhiro Watanabe, Producer: He is so mischievous and always does such things without letting us know in advance! But, it also means that Acquire especially remembers Shinobido. I think it was good for us to have a chance to hear directly from fans.
How did development on Shinobido 2: Tales of the Ninja begin?
There were many fans of Shinobido: Imashime (Shinobido: Way of the Ninja in Europe), so we were willing to create a sequel some day. One of the major motivations was that there were so many gameplay movies from the Japanese community so we could feel the pressure rising to create it.
Why did you pick PlayStation Vita as the platform for the new Shinobido game?
We were running out of controller buttons with the previous title so we thought it would be nice to use PlayStation Vita’s touch features. Also, it was encouraging to know we could expect performance that could not be realized with PSP, such as the integration of the physics engine.
At E3, I noticed you’re using the touch panels. How else are you planning to utilize the PlayStation Vita’s hardware?
We are now preparing to utilize new features of PlayStation Vita, so please wait for a future announcement.
Acquire is known for developing Shinobido and Tenchu. How are the two games different?
The major difference could be the ‘Harakiri’ system in Shinobido. Our ‘Harakiri’ system allows stories to branch out. Depending on which faction the player assists, the player will play different kinds of missions and experience different stories. Let me give you an example, if the player takes a “Steal the supplies from faction B” mission given by faction A, faction A’s food situation will be improved and faction B will be famished. Because faction B is starving, they will be more vulnerable to appetizing food items that are actually poisoned, and so on.
Can you tell us about the game’s main character and story?
It is a story about a ninja named Zen, who was formerly betrayed by his companions and lost his home. Zen makes up his mind to live as a ninja seeking a chance for revenge.
What kind of new ninja tools will we see?
We will provide ninja tools that were not in the previous Shinobido or in any other ninja stealth action games. These will let you enjoy the stages from a vertical scale.
Tell us, what is your favorite gameplay feature in Shinobido 2: Tales of the Ninja?
One of the funniest elements in the Shinobido franchise is enemies will not only react to dead bodies of their allies, they will also carry corpses and drop those into a well! We expect players will do more than kill enemies, but also see how they react against dynamic objects and their ninja tools.
As of now, Shinobido 2: Tales of the Ninja has only been announced for Japan. However, an English build was shown during E3.