Pre-TGS '07: Gaiden II tops Microsoft's Japanese 360 slate

Itagaki touts Team Ninja's latest with first trailer, Sakaguchi shows off Lost Odyssey, Square Enix gets on board Infinite Undiscovery, and Last Remnant demo <i>doesn't</i> debut.

TOKYO--To help build hype going into next week's Tokyo Game Show, Microsoft held a press briefing to announce new Japanese titles for the Xbox 360. Hosted by Takashi Sensui, general manager of Xbox Japan, the event gave the audience a chance to check out some of the island nation's top development talent for the 360, which trails far behind the Nintendo Wii and PlayStation 3 in sales.

MISTWALKER
The first game shown was Mistwalker's Lost Odyssey, which was given a December 6 ship date in Japan, followed by releases in January in Asia and February in North America and Europe. Executive Producer Hironobu Sakaguchi appeared on stage to show off the game, which is 95 percent complete and currently undergoing final fixes and polishing.

Though it won't be playable at TGS, Lost Odyssey will be available for hands-on play at a special presentation in November. The latter event will also feature appearances by the game's writer Kiyoshi Shigematsu, illustrator Takehiko Inoue, the announcement of the game's voice actors, and a live performance by the game's music composer, Nobuo Uematsu.

Sakaguchi played a real-time demonstration of the game, which started off with the protagonist Kaim walking out of a small house on a cliff, accompanied by a woman named Seth and a man named Janssen. As the group walks on the cliff, the weather changed: Rain covered the game's camera view and fogged it out, showing how the Xbox 360's power can be used to make very natural effects.

The scene then switched to a large, elegant dining room with a young nobleman wearing golden armor, possibly a lord, having a meal. As the maid serves the man, a large solider barges into the dining room past guards trying to stop him. Surprised, the young nobleman knocks his bowl of soup over, off the table. The solider then throws a rat at the soup: After it takes a few licks, the rodent turns into a monster from a poison in the broth.

Stunned at the assassination attempt, the young nobleman expresses his gratitude to the soldier and goes into a long monologue about how his country is starting to split into two factions. Then, as the solider walks out of the dining room, he hands money to a maid outside, hinting that the whole incident was a setup.

Lost Odyssey in action.

Switching back to the scene at the cliff, Sakaguchi showed Lost Odyssey's battle system by fighting a few enemies. The game looked relatively similar to Final Fantasy X's battle screen, with a turn indicator on the lower left-hand corner and a menu screen that consisted of the traditional set of options: attack, skill, magic, and item. One of the enemies attacked with poison, and the effects looked very similar to the Final Fantasy series as well, with the characters covered in green bubbles. When the player attacks an enemy, a circle appears onscreen and slowly shrinks to target the enemy, doing extra damage.

The demo ended with Sakaguchi's party reaching a boss and getting annihilated with a powerful attack.

TEAM NINJA
The biggest announcement of the day was Ninja Gaiden II, which will be published directly by Microsoft as an Xbox 360 exclusive. When the game's title card was displayed and the series producer and Team Ninja head Tomonobu Itagaki appeared, Xbox fans in the meeting hall's balcony immediately started cheering.

"Well, that's one way to harvest organs."

"Our goal in Ninja Gaiden II is to create the world's premier action game, just as Dead or Alive 4 was the premier fighting game when it was released for the Xbox 360 launch and remains so to this day," said Itagaki. "That's also our goal for creating Ninja Gaiden II, and we're putting a lot of effort into it."

"When we were creating the original Ninja Gaiden for the Xbox, we used the hardware to its fullest, to extract every drop of power," Itagaki continued. "As a result, there were about 10 to 20 features that we wanted that we weren't able to implement in the game. With Ninja Gaiden II on the Xbox 360's next-generation hardware, we're able to implement features that we weren't before. As you can imagine, there's no greater thrill for a developer."

"Please enjoy the world's best action game running on the world's most powerful hardware, the Xbox 360," concluded Itagaki, as he cued a real-time demonstration.

The Ninja Gaiden II demo featured eight stages on the select screen. Itagaki had originally planned to do a demo in a Japanese castle stage, but changed his mind at the last minute due to leaked screenshots showing the level. Instead, he picked another stage called the "Aqua Capital" that seemed to be modeled after Venice, with canals running through the city of stone buildings.

Itagaki started off by panning around with the game's free-moving camera, giving viewers a chance to check out the city's detailed buildings. Then enemy ninjas pounced from the rooftops to attack Ryu Hayabusa, the game's ninja protagonist. Wielding a large sickle, Ryu dismembered, decapitated, and quartered his foes in a huge cloud of blood spray. Interestingly, the enemy's bodies didn't disappear after they were killed, leaving a pile of limbs and viscera on the ground as Ryu wiped his blood-encrusted sickle clean.

Switching weapons to two swords, Ryu then fought through a marketplace, later using Ninjutsu skills to annihilate his enemies via bloody explosions. Going through to an open square, he was greeted by armored ninjas with submachine guns and soldiers wielding rocket launchers.

Next, Ryu faced Gargoyle-like creatures. Switching his weapon to a pair of iron claws like those of comic book character Wolverine, Ryu ripped through the monsters, spattering green blood and goo across the floor. The demo ended with the appearance of a boss monster, with the screen going black after a title card saying "Ninja Gaiden II - vengeance begins 2008."

Insert "paint the town red" joke here.

SQUARE ENIX
Lastly, Sensui reappeared on stage. He announced that Infinite Undiscovery, announced at TGS 2006 as being solely developed by tri-Ace (Star Ocean series, Valkyrie Profile series), is now a collaboration between tri-Ace, Square Enix, and Microsoft. The game will be produced and released by Square Enix, with tri-Ace working on development and Microsoft lending financial support. The companies are currently in meetings about how to make the game play more like a next-generation role-playing game, and to make it more action-oriented. The logo design has also been reworked a bit.

"RPGs have the largest user base in the Japanese Xbox 360 market," said Sensui. "With Square Enix's experience and knowledge on RPGs, tri-Ace's development power, and Microsoft's technology, we hope to release an excellent title."

According to the game's director Hiroshi Ogawa, the concept behind Infinite Undiscovery is "Discovery and Impact." He explained, "Infinite Undiscovery incorporates various human senses inside the game such as eyesight, smell, and sound. By using those senses to make new discoveries and by interacting with them, the player can create various results that impact the game."

Infinite Undiscovery discovered.

Ogawa didn't go into much detail about Infinite Undiscovery, since it's still early along in development. Judging from a short trailer that was shown, the game takes place in a fantasy world where the moon is disintegrating, bringing dire consequences to Earth. No release period has been announced yet, though Ogawa hinted that the game should be released in the "not-too-distant future."

Following the announcement concerning Infinite Undiscovery, Square Enix producer Akitoshi Kawazu appeared on stage to present The Last Remnant, currently in development for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 using Epic Games' Unreal Engine 3.

A new trailer was shown, but Kawazu had the unfortunate news that the game will not be playable at the Tokyo Game Show, as was announced back in May. The Last Remnant is slated for a simultaneous release in North America and Japan, though no ship window for the game has been announced.

Other games shown as trailers during the briefing included Devil May Cry 4, Ace Combat 6 and Beautiful Katamari (Namco Bandai Games), Sangoku Musou 5 (Dynasty Warriors 6, Koei), Viva Pinata: Party Animals, Project Gotham Racing 4, and Halo 3 (all Microsoft).

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276 comments
EsquiloVoador
EsquiloVoador

does anyone still doubt that gamespot favours x360?? theres only news of 360, i mean stop with the publicising we get it you like 360 and america, jeez......

1Gigabyteofram
1Gigabyteofram

I just hope NG2 will be at least as half entertaining and challeging as it's predecessor... not that team ninja wouldn't do anything stupid with their games

DarkSaGe654
DarkSaGe654

F*CK YA! now that halo3 is out all i have to do is wait till 2008 for NG2, after seeing the demo i'm sold for getting an x360 when i get back (going on vacation for a couple of months out of the country). I wasnt very happy about earlier rumors that NG2 was in talks for ps3, im glad it was only a rumor :-), and rofl at what shadowxassassin said, i bet thats true! By the way i think i know who the boss is that appears just before the demo ends, i bet its the spider ninja clan's boss. You can tell because he has a spider web on his thigh on his pants if you watch the demo closely. XD

Chaos_Pawner
Chaos_Pawner

If anyone's badmouthing Ninja Gaiden 2 and haven't played the Ninja Gaiden games for the Xbox, please reserve your impulsive judgments. Criticize AFTER you play the game, not by just watching its gameplay videos and all that. Because playing the game is a very distant perspective from merely speculating how it is being played. My #1 reason that made me got an Xbox 360 has finally revealed itself. Now, I can't wait for 2008 to arrive (videogame wise). Ryu Hayabusa shall have his righteous and ass-kicking vengeance fulfilled!!! ^-^

mc99112
mc99112

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

volcanicdragon
volcanicdragon

NG2 Is going to be so awesome im speechless.. NG1 was teh best game ever no kidding. It was awesome enough to hit top charts when it released the same campaign 3 times??? NINJA GAIDEN!!!! WHOOO

crushgoil
crushgoil

that's too bad that Last Remnant isn't playable.. it was the only one I was interested in, in this entire article.. ahh well..

ShadowXAssassin
ShadowXAssassin

NG2 is looking good, I feel bad for those people who were so happy when NGS came out. Now they want a time machine to go back in time switch their PS3 for an Xbox 360.

pistolsmoke_254
pistolsmoke_254

This maybe a stupid question, but if anybody saw the demo movie for NG2, can you tell me if any of that was in any other NG games before? I haven't played any of these games since Super Nintendo, and it looks outstanding. I'm just wondering if any of the content, gameplay, enemies, etc. are rollovers from previous titles. I guess it really doesn't matter, but I feel out of the loop. I'm definetly going to have to get a 360 so I can get this.

Testament
Testament

Isny "I'd just like to know exactly what a 'solider' is... Testament - It's the world famous American liberal-fascism you're experiencing. I always have a good laugh at the horribly misleading lyrics of the Star Spangled Banner, particularly the last line." WTF is you talking about, next time you make a statment back it up with some reasoning..

lsny
lsny

I'd just like to know exactly what a 'solider' is... Testament - It's the world famous American liberal-fascism you're experiencing. I always have a good laugh at the horribly misleading lyrics of the Star Spangled Banner, particularly the last line.

bartonle
bartonle

Man, don't get Sigma for PS3. NGS sucks. I think Heavenly Sword is a little better, but it is kinda short.

KCKING23
KCKING23

I got da get ninja gaiden 2 but first i have to get my ps3 and get sigma

Elrebel
Elrebel

This is my secondary reason for getting a 360- 1st being halo 3 of course. This game will undoubtably be the best action game of this console generation, but i reeeeaally wish there was multiplayer. the doppelganger missions in the first one were SOOOO FUN and i hope they make it online.

zero-G1080
zero-G1080

ninja gaiden 2 is going to be too sick! Cant wait for the release

Testament
Testament

i agree with you alan_steath, the Admin on here must be really f==kin havin fun to go around deleting messages they feel they dont like, i have so many deleted its a shame. What the hell a forum is good for if you cant speak whats on your mind, i mean come on Game Spot, if i didnt say any cus words why the hell yall keep deleting my messages!!!!!!! i guess ya'll mad because what i said in my last statment about the score rating, but what i said is true. Give a perfect 10.0 where credit is due. ya gave zelda 64, tony hawk, and soul calibur on dreamcast a perfect 10.0, but can't give gears of war, ninja gaiden, burnout takedown, zelda on the wii, and god of war the perfect 10.0 rating. WTF????!!!!!!!!

KamalR
KamalR

I really like NG2 its like a modern day god of war mixed with a M rated naruto & X-men i like lost odyssey,last reminant & infininte undiscovery the xbox 360 is a must own console cant wait 4 these games.

KamalR
KamalR

I really like NG2 its like a modern day god of war mixed with a M rated naruto & X-men i like lost odyssey,last reminant & infininte undiscovery the xbox 360 is a must own console cant wait 4 these games.

KamalR
KamalR

I really like NG2 its like a modern day god of war mixed with a M rated naruto & X-men i like lost odyssey,last reminant & infininte undiscovery the xbox 360 is a must own console cant wait 4 these games.

bennae66
bennae66

lost odyssy and mass effect. ohhh baby

Dryker
Dryker

I'm glad to see so many people here excited about Lost Odyssey. I'm currently enjoying the hell out of Blue Dragon, albeit its flaws, and am further convinced that Lost Odyssey will be one of the greatest turn-based RPG's ever made. This article mentions Square Enix's concern about making the RPG experience more "action oriented" which has me concerned for the fate of the traditional turn-based RPG. Action RPGs like Oblivion and Mass Effect have their place, but they're not the only way to do an RPG. The beauty of turn-based is that the animations can be more detailed because they're not being controlled in real time, developers need to start taking advantage of this. Imagine an RPG where the characters are as realistic looking as Marcus Fenix in Gears of War and have subtle facial expressions indicating their actions and reactions. Just like the summons that blew our minds when they hit the scene in Final Fantasy, the next generation needs something on a visual par with that. Their is intrinsic value in a turn based system and it should not be discarded for something more visceral and fast paced.

NitaraPwnzU
NitaraPwnzU

Ninja Gaiden 2 owns 2008!!!! MS just keeps adding the games!!!

Tanjavasi
Tanjavasi

Lost Odyssey!...never have I been more excited for a video game than I am for this RPG! I cannot wait! The Last Remnant looks very promising; I am already looking forward to it. Infinite Undiscovery has potential; I will be keeping a close eye on that title.

fax555241
fax555241

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

fax555241
fax555241

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

Jebril
Jebril

Ninja Gaiden 2 and Lost Odyssey are going to be amazing and I'll be getting them both, I've been interested in Lost Odyssey ever since the first trailer came out and every new detail on this game gets me more psyched for it.

bloodomen9
bloodomen9

NG 2 is nice but i want god of war 3 !!! NG is no match for god of war :]

Agermemnon
Agermemnon

This infinate undiscovery discovered look like it could be good but get rid of the name for something else

Game-o_O
Game-o_O

TheoleDominion1: "Last but not least is "The U.S. claims to be the world leader and yet they trail other countries in education, technology, and economics"." O Rly? (Kidding) Uh, lets see you prove those biased opinionated points. However, without retorting with a question. Think of who goes to who's colleges. Who developed the A-Bomb first, who f***ing has Martha Stewart. OK? Dx

fax555241
fax555241

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

fax555241
fax555241

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

something1257
something1257

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

something1257
something1257

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

pridex
pridex

it should have never went to another platform tobegin with.

Piru80
Piru80

For those who think Ninja Gaiden 2 will come to PS3 keep dreaming its being published by Microsoft it'll never come to PS3. Sorry :(

Ninjak
Ninjak

what!??! Square got off their ass to make a game for x360 that is not a rehashed FF XI.. shocking!!!!!!!!!

TheoleDominion1
TheoleDominion1

Yep, we accept Japanese style of gaming,but they won't accept OURS(American). We buy their games, but they won't buy OURS. We buy their products (televisions,stereos,etc..), but they won't buy OURS. Their products dominates the U.S. economy not OURS. They're smart enough to keep a foreign product from being too dominate on their soil. And all of this was said by Japanese gamers. Another was "If you don't support your OWN product, why should we? And just like the car and electronic industry, if Americans are still that dumb, Nintendo and Sony deserves to win the gaming industry AGAIN. And who fault will that be OURS! P.S. One of my favorite quotes is this (reading a electronics magazine in Schnucks) "Americans are a "free thinking society" which is very noble in theory,but is absolutely killing your economy. Patriotism is barks loud in the U.S., but is almost never backed by the U.S. dollars (the economy) from their citizens". Last but not least is "The U.S. claims to be the world leader and yet they trail other countries in education, technology, and economics".

Blazer88
Blazer88

Once again proving that ninjas are the best.

chris132000
chris132000

Alan awake,Bioshock,Halo 3,Mass Effect,Ninja Gaiden 2,Fable 2,Gears of War 2.What else can i say.XBOX 360 rules!!!

alan_stealth
alan_stealth

jamesfffan and to this monkey...he is quoting the paragraph above not making a statement. how about you try reading the article, not just checking out the comments to see who you can prove wrong/argue like a bender at.

alan_stealth
alan_stealth

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

jamesfffan
jamesfffan

world's most powerful hardware, the Xbox 360 ? sir-marth, how can this be? PC has already gone past consoles in hardware performance at this very minute!