Rising To The Challenge: Ninja Gaiden 3 Interview

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There are some people out there that will tell you modern games are too easy, that they hold your hand for ten hours of story and then wave goodbye until next year’s sequel. However, there is growing number of titles, such as the upcoming Dark Souls, that are looking to punish you like a Victorian headmaster.

The Ninja Gaiden series has always been a renowned controller clencher and the third instalment in the series, coming to PS3 next year, includes PlayStation Move support. Here’s the latest trailer:

At gamescom I caught up with the head of Team Ninja, Yosuke Hayashi, to discuss difficulty, PS Move and the decision to set the opening scenes of Ninja Gaiden 3 in my hometown, London.

Do you think that modern games are too easy and that there is a strong market for the very difficult?

You have to try to satisfy your fans and Ninja Gaiden 3 is still very difficult on the hardest setting for those fans who like that about the series. However, we have got the normal difficulty level in there for the players who simply want to follow the story or are not so skilled.

How do you make a game difficult, but not frustrating?

It’s about how you implement the difficulty. If you die and it’s game over then you generally get pretty frustrated but you have to think about why you dies, is it because you made a mistake or because the game became unreasonable? It’s important to make the player feel clear that it was their mistake that got them killed and that they can clear the level by perhaps approaching it a different way.

Thank you for setting at least a part of Ninja Gaiden 3 in my hometown London. Why did you decide to take it there?

As the game progresses you will see many locations as you progress throughout the story and London is the first destination.

You told me that, in this game, Ryu Hayabusa will not just be a killing machine and we will see more of the human behind the mask. How will you achieve this?

The human side of Ryu Hayabusa comes through later on than the first level that I have shown you today. That level is something of a tutorial and you might go away feeling that the game is pure action based on that, but it’s not the case. Later on you see him suffering as a consequence of the murders he has committed and that is when the humanity comes through. I believe that, these days, people are looking for more realistic games and that’s not easy to do with Ninja Gaiden, which is heavily based in fantasy.

How have you implemented PlayStation Move?

With PlayStation Move you can make the motion of cutting an enemy down. I imagine that many hardcore Ninja Gaiden fans will still want to play with a normal controller but I do hope they will give it a try with PS Move. I feel it’s more the casual gamer that will use PS Move and it will make this kind of game more accessible to them.

What is going to be most surprising to Ninja Gaiden fans in this next title?

The human side of the main character. We’re used to seeing Ryu Hayabusa purely as a killer, but now we’re going to see someone who works but then goes home and lives a life alongside all of the fighting. Our hardcore fans might ask why we are taking this direction but I hope they are looking forward to this new approach.

What do you think of this year’s gamescom in general?

I had a walk around and I saw a lot of big titles that have a large budget with which to promote themselves. This is cool but I think that there is more variation in the games world and I would love to see everything being shown in the same way, on a level playing field. That would help the variation shine through more than it does.

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