If you’re like me, then you’ve already whipped out your fat red marker and circled February 22nd, 2012 on your calendar the minute our friends at Sony Computer Entertainment announced the launch date of the PS Vita in North America. Last week we were able to reveal the name of Touch My Katamari, which will be hitting on launch day. Today, we’re back with more on another launch title from Namco Bandai.
While they still won’t let ME have a PS Vita yet, I do know at least one other person that does have one. That would be Mr. Kazuhiro Watanabe at famed studio Acquire in Japan. Known around the world for being among the best developers in the stealth action genre with their work on the Tenchu series, Mr. Watanabe’s team has been working non-stop on a PS Vita title that will be slicing the life out of enemies before they can even see what’s coming.
Previously teased during Tokyo Game Show under the subtitle “Tales of the Ninja,” the team has finalized the name of their upcoming assassin adventure, and has just revealed their brand-spanking new logo for Shinobido 2: Revenge of Zen. We here at Namco Bandai Games had a chance to catch up with Mr. Watanabe himself for a quick rundown of what the game is all about, and you can read it here first.
Questions for Mr. Watanabe
Fans of your work are very familiar the Shinobido games, but for those new to the series, what can you tell us about them?
Shinobido is an assassin-based stealth action game set against the backdrop of a war-torn land, where three opposing territorial forces fight for control. The player must choose which of these forces to support by taking on various missions. Depending on the player’s choices, the game’s “Harakiri Engine” will allow for a variety of outcomes and constantly changing missions. The player could choose to focus solely on one territorial force for a swift route through the game, but if he takes on missions from all three forces equally, it will prolong the story and allow for the character to develop further. This open-ended storyline, combined with a sandbox world to explore, various ninja tools and even alchemy, help to create a rich and diverse experience for any aspiring assassin.
We noticed that the new subtitle is ‘Revenge of Zen.’ What can you tell us about this ‘Zen’ character anyway? Will we be dead by the time we see him?
Our main character and hero, Zen, is fueled by revenge after his village is burned to the ground, and his beloved murdered before his eyes. He is steadfastly devoted to his missions, and does not kill without good reason. Dare to betray him, however, and he’ll kill you quickly and silently, so don’t bet on “seeing” him. Ha ha.
We’ve heard that the gameplay experience is much less about being a ninja, and more about being an assassin. Can you elaborate on what that means for players?
The element of “assassination” is not necessarily more important than any other part of the game. However, assassination missions will occur often as the three opposing territorial forces fight and attempt to weaken the other. Other missions include robbing the enemy’s provisions, kidnapping or protecting people of importance, and others.
What can players expect to see with this game on PlayStation Vita that won’t be seen on any other platform?
In addition to the two analog sticks and buttons, touch panel controls add a comfortable and intuitive feeling to gameplay. One important touch control feature is the Caution Icon, which helps you lock onto an enemy before being spotted. In addition, the Vita’s “near” function will be a special feature and we’ll have more details on how it will work very soon!
We’ve heard that the dead bodies of the assassinated enemies play a key role in the gamplay of Shinobido. Can you tell us more about how this will work?
When the enemy spots a dead body while scouting the area, they’ll become much more cautious. In some cases, they may even ring an alarm bell to call more enemies to them. Thus, it’s important to hide your slain victim from sight to complete missions more easily.
Lastly, do you have any advice for aspiring assassins getting ready to slice and dice their enemies this February?
Though the game contains some complex controls, if you just follow the tutorials and upgrade your character’s skills, you’ll soon be able to complete missions with ease. “Zankoku (Bullet-time)” delivers devastating slashes to the enemy in a flash. And where players could previously only jump or use the trusty Grapple Hook to get around, “Fukurou” now makes it possible for players to fly, which adds a whole new dimension of exploration. We can’t wait for everyone to try it out!