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Team Ninja feature at 1up.com (Ninja Gaiden 2, Code Cronus and more)

Romier S

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1up is going to have a week long feature on Team Ninja where they discuss the development of Itagaki and co. recent games along with news of thier 360 releases which include Dead or Alive 4, Code Cronus, Ninja Gaiden 2 (yep you read it right), and a new title names Project Progressive. You can read more here:




The first day is a hardcore examination of Dead or Alive 4. It's a popular game, but falls behind in the popularity polls compared to games like Soul Calibur, even though DOA has always innovated, whether it be the reversal system, the multi-tiered stages or the online play. DOA4 is set to change those preconceptions, but how did Team Ninja plan their attack this time? Tuesday is another big day because Itagaki opens the vault on various tidbits of information spanning all of Team Ninja's upcoming Xbox 360 games: Dead or Alive Xtreme 2, Ninja Gaiden 2, Dead or Alive: Code Cronus, and something called Project Progressive. He doesn't give me crap answers like "No comment" or lousy one sentence responses either. He gets into it. Ditto for Wednesday, when we present Itagaki Hardcore Part 2, in which Team Ninja's boss spills his opinions on the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, the Nintendo Revolution controller, Metal Gear Solid 4 and more. We also bring our renowned Retro/Active brand to the action by re-reviewing every Team Ninja console game ever made, as well as offering a timeline of development activity by them.


Thursday is a pretty big day for us, as you've no doubt read quite a bit up until this point. Not only do we at 1UP offer the first glimpse of the real-time cinematics that open DOA4 (in crazy hi-res), but we also do what no one else has: We introduce you to life beyond Itagaki in our "Meet Team NINJA" featurette. Obviously there's more to making a Team Ninja game that just Itagaki himself, and for the first time he brings them out of the shadows into the spotlight. That was really awesome. Rounding out the Thursday line-up of hits is Itagaki's Hit List, in which he signposts his favorite games of all time, and lays a serious smackdown on the five games he can't stand. What games are they? Well, one of his favorite games looks like it's Pikmin, but to find out the rest (especially his Top 5 most hated games) you'll have to swing by on Thursday.


Friday is the day I'm most proud of, though. Whenever I do something video-related with a developer, whether it be Tetsuya Mizuguchi, or anyone, I like to try and come up with something different. Not that dry-ass crap you'll see on other sites. Hi, tripod. Hi, boring-ass questions. So to end off the week in grand fashion, we present "A Short Film By Tomonobu Itagaki," directed and filmed by Itagaki himself, edited by Ryan O'Donnell and soundtracked by me. Maybe it's not game related, but how often do you get to go out singing karaoke with the guy who brought you Ninja Gaiden? Or cruising the streets of Tokyo with him? Or do anything with him for that matter? So, this is our gift to you. Something unique for your Friday enjoyment, and in my opinion, a groundbreaking move in bringing you new and exciting kinds of video game culture into your life. Do I see a sign of approval, or do you vehemently disagree with our methods? Discuss our cover in the official Art of War thread on our message boards, but whatever your opinion, always remember we'll never settle for anything less than the cutting edge.


Here's a direct link to the feature for all of you Team Ninja fans:



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Interview with Itagaki on the future of Team Ninja is up. Alot of details on all of the current games under development:




Some choice comments:




1UP: Since you put a lot work into making DOA Ultimate playable online, are you going to put the same sort of features into DOAX2?


TI: Technologically it's possible. The question is how many people are going to want to play each other over Xbox Live. The first DOAX was very much a solo type experience and so the person could play by themselves for a very long time. The current plan is for it to support Xbox Live, and to link with the House system of Dead or Alive 4. Don't you think it would be fun if you were playing DOA4 in the House and on the TV they were showing stuff from DOAX2?


On Ninja Gaiden 2


TI: So the ability to run on water -- that in itself is an excellent gameplay mechanic. But in an early version of Ninja Gaiden, you were forced to run across the water to proceed at an early stage. And there was no way for the player to learn how to do that. The game didn't tell them what to do or how to do it. And so eventually it was made that it's only purpose was to get one item in one area. Ideally, if you have a system that's that good, as running on water was, then it should be used throughout the game. And you should make it so it's possible to have battles while doing that. So it's only natural that you should imagine that there should be battles on the water, if that feature isn't clear. But the level designers had made it that you use that technique only to go and get a key, to open a door and proceed. But most of the people who played the game couldn't figure it out. It's on the second stage. So that's nonsense. So I got rid of that item that was necessary to proceed. What that meant is that in the final run the people playing the game would be able to proceed without ever having to know that water-running existed.


1UP: Since the DOA series has multiple ninjas, it's been suggested that Ninja Gaiden 2 might have a different lead character than Ryu Hayabusa. Would you care to confirm or dispel those rumors?


TI: We're right in the middle of writing the plot and the scenarios of Ninja Gaiden 2 and deciding what we want to do. Obviously Ryu Hayabusa will be the main character.


1UP: I think that's the first time I've heard confirmation of that.


TI: I've already heard two pitches for the plot. There've got to be three to five more that are being written as we speak.


1UP: Do any of them involve the return of Rachel?


TI: The chances of that happening are extremely low. The story of Ninja Gaiden 2 is something I've been discussing with two of my right-hand men. The three of us have been gathering together with drinks, and that's a possibility, but it's looking like we're going in a direction where Rachel doesn't make an appearance.


Much more info available too.

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Next part is up and deals with Itagaki's thoughts on the next gen systems and more:




On the Revolution controller:


1UP: What do you think of the Nintendo Revolution controller?


TI: There's a junior producer here at Tecmo, and he went and handled the thing. I was super busy, so I didn't have a chance to go in and mess around with it, but his report was that it was just amazing, and everything that I've read has lead me to believe that it is just a wonderful piece of hardware.


1UP: Nintendo really does stick to their guns. But we often ask the question: Is it most important to innovate at the expense of success, or to have success at the expense of innovation? What's your take?


TI: The most important thing is to do what you believe in. Obviously there are a lot of different companies with different philosophies, but the important thing is to have a philosophy, to have something that you believe in, that you feel strongly about achieving. Since they have that, it's good for them.


I'm going to teach you some Japanese slang: "Nonpori." It's a kind of bastardized contradiction of the katakana reading for "non-policy." It basically means you don't have any policy, any philosophy, anything that you strongly believe in, and I think that's the worst thing that could be said about you. I hate anyone that can be described by this term.


On the 360 and the PS3:


1UP: How do you feel about the Xbox 360? I know you don't like that the buttons on the controller aren't analog, as you would have liked to use that in Dead or Alive 4. But now that the specs are finalized, how do you feel about it? Is it a good time for Microsoft to launch while Sony is weak?


TI: First of all, I'm not really interested in the battle between Microsoft and Sony. My job is to make software that people will enjoy for the Xbox 360. Just to get that out of the way. As you know, I'm a gambler and a player myself, so what people do in fighting their war, that's their war, let them do what they need to do. My job is to have people enjoy what I'm doing right now. Make this space that I'm working in better and increase the excitement here.


1UP: You always said you want to develop for the most powerful hardware around. That way you can make the best games, the coolest games, the most exciting games. Obviously the Xbox 360 is the most powerful hardware coming up. But would you say it's the most powerful of all the next-gen systems coming out?


TI: You know the measure of the power of a piece of hardware is not just CPU clock speeds; there are a number of factors to take into account. Obviously pure speed is one of them; another one is low-layer stuff like firmware, also middleware that's being supplied for that particular platform. So when you consider the hardware and software support all wrapped up in one, then yes, I would consider the 360 to be the most powerful system in that sense, in the next generation.


1UP: If the PS3 is amazingly powerful, would you consider developing for it?


TI: When is it supposed to come out?


1UP: 2006? [Laughs]


TI: Don't you think it's pointless to get all worked up about a piece of hardware when you don't even know when it's supposed to come out?


1UP: The kids care. The same kids that were very amazed when they first saw the PS3 "demos" from E3, until they learned that 90% of it was all pre-rendered CG. People wrote off the Xbox 360 because everyone was like "OMG, you have to see Killzone running on PS3." But when word got out that it was all CG, it became sort of apparent that Sony was just trying to take the wind out of Microsoft's sails.


TI: As I said before, I'm not concerned or interested in the war between companies over their hardware, but what I will say is that Sony's presentation at E3 this year had absolutely no meaning to me in terms of how I make my games. Their presentation didn't even have a micron of effect in the way I think, the way I make my games, or the way I work on DOA4. The trailer that I did for E3, even though it had pre-rendered stuff cut in, it was mostly playable game footage from a playable build. And that's the way it should be. And look, we have the real thing sitting right here, and that's the way games should be.


Plenty more to read.

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