Team Ninja and Spark Unlimited have taken the Ninja Gaiden series hostage and are threatening to ruin its good name forever with Yaiba: Ninja Gaiden Z! Somebody stop these monsters from disgracing our mature and intelligent franchise of ninjas butchering each other!
Actually, this typical reaction from Ninja Gaiden fans is far from true at all. The developers just wanted to shake up the series formula and try something different before getting back to the main entries everybody loves. In an interview with Polygon, Spark Creative Director Tom Lee explains the company’s decision to take the series in a new direction.
“We wanted to set this apart from the traditional Ninja Gaiden series, and I think the visuals, the cel-shaded graphic novel style definitely draws that clear distinction between the super-realistic Ninja Gaiden and this,” Lee says. “And it also complements the tongue-in-cheek humor and the grindhouse, gonzo style of this game.”
It’s not a Ninja Gaiden game you should take very, very seriously, obviously.
But in this world where gamers are super pretentious and take their hobby more seriously than ever before, is there room for such a goofy and creative spin on a beloved franchise? Lee says there is still plenty for all to enjoy, even those who want something more “intelligent.”
“For the Ninja Gaiden fans I think — and I know that they don’t want this to be a dumb hack-and-slash in that sense — but there’s going to be plenty of opportunities for them to do their combat in a very smart, intelligent way and also be able to show things off, make it look sexy as they like it to be,”
Take my advice too, and go into Yaiba: Ninja Gaiden Z with no expectations. Toss aside your experiences with the good and bad entries in the series, and just enjoy it as you would any new video game franchise. I played a demo at TGS 2013, and while I wasn’t blown away by any means, it was still just plain old-fashioned raw fun. Very funny, very violent, not very serious.
Take it easy, gamers. These developers just want to entertain you. Put away your pitchforks.
Yaiba: Ninja Gaiden Z will be released for PC, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 on March 18. What a busy spring month this is shaping up to be. Don’t publishers know I want to go outside?