The PS Vita version of 2007’s PlayStation 3 dice ‘em up Ninja Gaiden Sigma was satisfying evidence of just how comfortable a full, lightning-fast console action game can feel on a handheld. Duly, Team Ninja’s announcement last month that a sequel – Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2 Plus – is currently in development came as very welcome news.
PlayStation.Blog sat down for a quick chat with Team Ninja boss Yosuke Hayashi to find out what it has in store with its new Vita game, as well as mysterious new project Yaiba: Ninja Gaiden Z and recent release Dead or Alive 5.
PlayStation.Blog: It’s not been long since the release of Ninja Gaiden Sigma Plus. Why are we seeing a sequel so soon?
Yosuke Hayashi, Team Ninja: We released Sigma Plus earlier this year and it actually did better than we expected, and there was a lot of fan demand for releasing a sequel. We were really happy with the results we got with the original, so that’s why we’re announcing Sigma 2 Plus.
PSB: What new features are you adding over and above the PlayStation 3 original?
YH: PlayStation Vita is definitely an easy console to play games on. It’s very friendly for a Ninja Gaiden kind of game. We really learned that making the first Sigma Plus. With the sequel we’re looking to add in some really good additional hardcore elements – things that people who really know the game and loved Sigma 2 will get into and enjoy.
PSB: What makes PS Vita a good fit for a high velocity action series like Ninja Gaiden?
YH: I don’t know if it’s a perfect fit, but it has the power and everything you need to play these kinds of games. You’re not always in an environment where you can play a full console game, but if you have a Vita you can have the same experience right there in the palm of your hand. It has the power to deliver an equivalent experience.
PSB: You recently showed off a brief teaser trailer for Yaiba: Ninja Gaiden Z – your new collaboration with Mega Man creator Keiji Inafune. Is that something Sony customers can get excited about?
YH: You’ll have to wait a little bit longer for more information but I’m sure everybody will be able to have some fun with it!
PSB: There are so many zombie games out there right now? Is there still room for new ideas and innovation in the genre?
YH: Absolutely, there are definitely new elements we can add to the zombie genre. It got to play like a Ninja Gaiden game – it’s got to be a good, solid action game. It’s not just an amateur zombie game. In addition, we’ll bring our own take on the genre – people will find that it’s something really new, but also something that sits comfortably inside the Ninja Gaiden world.
PSB: During your Yaiba announcement you pledged that Team Ninja is striving to help Japanese developers catch up with the West. Do you think your fellow countrymen can reclaim their ‘90s glory days?
YH: Honestly I don’t think we can reclaim the glory days of the past. Team Ninja is still strong and has found ways to remain relevant and keep making games that play on the world stage. We can’t say for sure that Japan as a whole will be there with us, but we’ll be around for years to come.
PSB: You just released Dead or Alive 5. It’s been a busy few years for the fighting genre. Why do you think DOA is still relevant?
YH: We don’t want to be put in the same space as other fighting games. The concept for Dead or Alive 5 has been ‘fighting entertainment’. We’re looking at a wider audience – offering a more accessible, more appealing fighting experience. Don’t just put us in with the rest of the fighters. You get a sense of fun and a sense of spectacle from Dead or Alive 5 that you’re not going to get from some of the other games that are out of there. That sets us apart and is something we want to push. Hopefully it will push the audience towards supporting the game.
PSB: How are you going to support Dead or Alive 5 in the coming months?
YH: We’re definitely going to be supporting the title after launch. We have a lot of DLC lined up and the artists are still working hard creating costumes that we know the fans are going to love and want to get their hands on.