I just got off the phone with Tomy and D3 Publisher to ask a few questions in about Naruto: Ninja Destiny. I’ll spare you the basics about the 3D fighting system and how the Sannin are the three new characters in the US version to get straight to the news. The short story is the fighting system is essentially the same as the Japanese version. Nobby Matsuo, the Associate Producer from Tomy, explains “the gameplay experience is markedly different from what you would be used to if you played the Japanese version in terms of the button responses, attacks and the speed of the combat. It’s a lot more frantic, it’s a lot faster.” <ed: cleaned up the quote> The big change to the fighting system is the frame rate, which “has been improved since the Japanese release.”
“The story mode is completely different from the Japanese one,” Nobby explains, and in the revised single player mode you will encounter a different set of opponents. “As I recall the Japanese one, was original, but it was kind of lame. So we went ahead and took in the story mode from the TV version and adapted it for the game.” Content-wise Naruto: Ninja Destiny begins at around episode 100 and goes past the Rescue Sasuke arc up to around episode 140.
Update: Also despite what Nintendo’s massive release schedule says, Naruto: Ninja Destiny is on target for a “late February” release opposed to the March 2008 window in Nintendo’s press release.