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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  • Great interview, I definitely agree with what he had to say about difficulty and that’s what made NGS2 and stuff like Vanquish’s challenge 6 so entertaining even after failing again and again, each failure has to be learned from and that leads to becoming more skilled.

    I know a lot of fans have issues with certain changes coming to NG3, but honestly I’m looking forward to it, vast amounts of QTEs and all! The gameplay still looks great, the visuals are fantastic and I’m hoping the story and characters will be better in NG3 than they were in NGS2, though ofcourse the gameplay is the major reason anyone will ever play a Ninja Gaiden.

    Also, I hope the Platinum trophy requirements are ridiculously challenging again, but without having to depend on others online and putting up with the lag like in the Team Missions (my favourite part of NGS2). I played the last dozen or so I had to do side by side with a friend and even with a great connection and being on two PS3s in the same room it was still a lagfest at times.

    • The visuals did look an improvement and they’ve done a good job of recreating Westminster – you start off perched on top of Big Ben and swoop down for the first kill. You sound like an expert of the series so I should have asked you to suggest some interview questions beforehand.

  • Also although you asked some good questions James I’m disappointed you didn’t ask Hayashi if sixaxis controlled breasts would be returning for NG3…

  • So will their be full move support in the game? So i can just play the whole campagin with the move and navagator if i want?

  • Cant stand hard games so wont be getting this unless theres a easy mode? :(

  • i played only the first ninja gaiden. A Really bad expierience. It was something like? Hmmm the characters moves are there ok.. the enemies have these attacks with umm whatsoever pattern.. ok this will work. So they thought. And i ask: do they even bother to play this mess?

    Developers must understand that modern gamers won’t tolerate this. Ninja gaiden is a good example of how a frustrating game can be in a very bad way. Workarounds required much skill that even a hardcore gamer won’t bother.

    Same goes to ninja gaiden 2. A demo and trophy difficulty was enough for me to skip this game.

    We are far away from “whatever” gameplay of NES years

  • Thanks James but I wouldn’t say I’m an expert at all, just a very biased Team Ninja fanboy! I can’t wait to see how London looks when we finally get to play it, we’ll be seeing the best city in the world in both MW3 and NG3 soon, fantastic!

    @4, xchris2008x – there’s an easy difficulty in the other NG games called Ninja Dog, it’s very forgiving, much like the Easy Automatic modes from Devil May Cry and Bayonetta, for anyone wanting to just play as a badass ninja taking out enemies in a stylish fashion without any difficulty it makes the game very playable.

    @5, MaxRstar – I understand your view, at first I really didn’t like Ninja Gaiden Sigma and honestly the story modes in both games aren’t great in my opinion, but they’re genuinely all about the gameplay and they really cater to people who’re prepared to spend a lot of time getting better and better at them. A lot of gamers won’t appreciate that at all, but for those that do it’s incredibly satisfying to become more skilled, and by the time you beat Master Ninja difficulty you really do feel like a master ninja!

  • Another Team Ninja fan here with a question suggestion for you James (if u get another chance to interview Hayashi)

    – Will there be other playable characters in the form of DLC? I read that NG3 is all about Ryu this time, but in the spirit of the Sigma games, i’m sure many fans would like the option at some point for a different character & the change in gameplay it brings)

    Personally speaking, I’d love to see the British female assassin, Christie (from Dead or Alive), Ryu’s best friend and fellow ninja, Hayate, and Ayane’s Rival & half sister, Kasumi.

  • that… Looked… Amazing. I love the ninja gaiden series and soon we will finally get to see some reality of a person in a game and his story. Most games seem to just have a bad ass not seeming to care about who he kills, what he does, seem to have no emotions, but at last some reality in a game.

    Guy above me you must have a lot of free time to type all that and know it all

  • well. I meant CassyChan

  • maddogarchie64 – It takes 2 mins to type 3 paragraphs, and it doesn’t take that much free time to beat a few games over the years since they came out, well… unless you really suck anyway ;) Thanks for passively insulting me though, I guess? lol

    @OniEyes – more DoA tie-ins ftw!

  • Was team ninja at Gamescom????

    I was there Saturday and there was no sign of them.

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