I made sure to play Ninja Gaiden 3 before speaking with Yosuke Hayashi, lead designer and head of Team Ninja. The demo (which Kris outlined) went from one bloody battle to the next. Enemies tried to stop Ryu with machine guns and rocket launchers, which put up a poor fight. Ryu sliced through people, not monsters, with his katana.
Compared to Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2, which had enemies vanish in a puff of purple smoke, Ninja Gaiden 3 felt more brutal in comparison and that’s kind of what Hayashi wanted.
Aside from bloody screenshots, we saw Ryu’s glowing red arm. What happened to Ryu?
Yosuke Hayashi, Team Ninja Head: Ryu’s right arm is a key element of the game and has been cursed by his enemies. Killing makes Ryu’s arm begin to glow red. This cursed energy can be stored and later used to attack enemies.1
1In Ninja Gaiden 3, Ryu can unleash his ultimate technique, an attack that quickly dispatches enemies, when his arm is glowing red.
I remember you said you wanted to demonstrate the consequences of violence in Ninja Gaiden. Is this your way of doing this?
We consider gore and violence different elements. This time we wanted to show you what we think of violence. A core concept of the game is cutting through flesh and bone and when you cut through an opponent it feels visceral. Also, enemies [in Ninja Gaiden 3] are human, not demons or monsters. When you see limbs and heads falling on the ground before, those were creatures. This time you have to cut through a human being.
Will we see any new weapons in Ninja Gaiden 3?
This time we focused on the katana and what it’s like for players to cut through flesh and bone. As you proceed through the story, you will acquire different katanas. We also have ninpo in the game. It wasn’t in the demo because we wanted players to see what it was feel what it is like to kill enemies with the katana. In the future we’ll be able to show you this element.
I saw Ryu has new moves like sliding and scaling walls with kunai. What other moves does Ryu have new for Ninja Gaiden 3?
With this game, we set out to have Ryu as a Japanese dark hero and that means a ninja from the feudal time period. We thought about what a ninja can do back then and that’s why we added climbing to the game. As you proceed through the game, Ryu will have different actions based on the time period. At this point, we can’t reveal the exact details of those.
You mentioned Ryu as a dark hero, but as a character I don’t feel he’s as developed as some of the female characters like Rachel. How do you plan on expanding Ryu’s character for Ninja Gaiden 3?
In the other Ninja Gaiden titles, Ryu is focused on killing enemies and he didn’t show who he was. This time we want to show Ryu’s personality and how he relates to others. When Ryu is unmasked he is a regular man, just like us. Therefore, he must feel similar emotions. We want to show this side of Ryu, his human side, and how he can relate to everyone.
Will we see other playable characters like Ayane and Momiji from Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2?
While I was the producer of Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2, this time I want to focus on Ryu, a Japanese dark hero. The direction of the game is different, so Ryu Hayabusa is the only playable character in the story.
Hayashi also touched on Ninja Gaiden 3’s difficulty and other projects Team Ninja are working on in the shadows. We’ll discuss those tomorrow.