Video Q&A: Itagaki talks Ninja Gaiden II

Team Ninja's head ninja chats to GameSpot about his upcoming opus, what he thinks of the Wii, DS, Japanese developers, and more.

by

Tomonobu Itagaki's redux of the Ninja Gaiden series received a lot of praise and attention when Ninja Gaiden first appeared on the Xbox back in 2004. It also spurred a number of follow-ups, including Ninja Gaiden Black for the Xbox and the recent appearance of Ninja Gaiden Dragon Sword on the Nintendo DS.

Team Ninja also released a PlayStation 3 revamp of the game in the form of Ninja Gaiden Sigma, although Itagaki had no hands-on involvement with this port due to his focus on Ninja Gaiden II. As for how he felt about it, Itagaki's distaste is such that he has refused to sign copies of the game.

Itagaki-san was in London on Friday, promoting the upcoming June 6 launch of Ninja Gaiden II for the Xbox 360. GameSpot sat down with the enigmatic developer for an exclusive interview. Among the topics discussed, Itagaki reiterated that NGII would be easier than its notoriously difficult predecessor, following the complaints of fans and in consideration of his daughter, who is now old enough to play the game.

He also revealed what's in store for NGII's downloadable content (in addition to variants of lead character Ryu Hayabusa's costume), as well as whether he's likely to develop for the DS or Wii in the future.

When asked about future projects, Itagaki said, "I'm planning to make an announcement about what I'm going to be doing in the future around July," which hints that he could possibly be attending E3 2008. He also said he has no plans to revisit any other classic Tecmo properties, such as Rygar or Mighty Bomb Jack.

Watch the full interview, above, to find out what Itagaki-san has in store for Ninja Gaiden fans, why he wants to make a game about World War II's Pacific theatre, if there's a Master Ninja Tournament coming for NGII, and what he really thinks of the state of Japanese development.

Discussion

143 comments
zzbigz
zzbigz

virtuacast- Why is 10 percent more not a good thing? Do you think the additional work to make a game for two platforms instead of one is free? A 10% increase in cost for a much larger increase in audience seems reasonable.

VirtuaCast
VirtuaCast

cost "10 percent more lol. Thats not a good thing.

darkmoney52
darkmoney52

Shadow, Ubisoft is notorious for making awful ports to the PS3. Maybe it's not harder for them because they're doing a half-***** job. That said, I don't know why people are argueing about the PS3 for a game being published by microsoft.

cooldude03
cooldude03

Itagaki is a gaming god. and he's cool as hell.

Jeremyjinman
Jeremyjinman

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x-2tha-z
x-2tha-z

Can't wait. This is gonna be awesome.

S-H-A-D-0-W
S-H-A-D-0-W

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gamecubepad
gamecubepad

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S-H-A-D-0-W
S-H-A-D-0-W

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Phazevariance
Phazevariance

If it's too easy i'm going to return it right away and write the developer for falling into mainstream sellout casual gamer cries instead of making a great game... lets hope he means, they added an easy setting but the normal is still a pain in the butt...

gamecubepad
gamecubepad

@Shadow.Guts5 wasn't wrong, he just can't find links very well... Gabe Newell, lead programmer Valve Gabe Newell -Edge: A while ago you said that you thought Sony should do a 'do-over' with PS3. Do you still think that? -GN: Absolutely. I think [PS3 is] a waste of everybody's time. Investing in the Cell, investing in the SPE gives you no long-term benefits. There's nothing there that you're going to apply to anything else. You're not going to gain anything except a hatred of the architecture they've created. I don't think they're going to make money off their box. I don't think it's a good solution. -Tim Sweeney, Epic Tim Sweeney ->But he did comment specifically on how difficult it is to program for multi-core processors and the even more complex Cell chip used in the PlayStation 3. He noted that it "takes about twice the effort and development cost to develop for a multi-threaded CPU," compared to a single-core CPU. Even more than that, according to Epic's analysis, fully exploiting the PS3 Cell chip "required about 5 times as much cost and development time than single-core."-That's 2x for PC and 360, 5x for PS3. Gears Team "There is no way we could ever do Gears of War on 256, we had trouble fitting everything on 512MB. We pushed the 360 to the limits." John Riccetello, CEO EA John Riccetello -Which explains why Infinity Ward puts their best programmers on PS3- Infinity Ward -And now for some unbiased industry analysts...- Evan Wilson Michael Pachter Dr. Dobb's There are even more than this, but why bother? And to think this all started because you called me "dumb" for saying dev cycles are faster and more effective on the 360, and slower, more difficult, and more expensive on the PS3; I also correlated this to Itagaki's analogy of Japanese planes/devs compared to Western planes/devs. I'd really like to hear your thoughts.

barJerubsheol
barJerubsheol

I hope they don't dumb it down too much for casual gamers. I'd rather they not dumb it down at all. Gaidens have always been difficult, that's half the appeal.

GonzoGuy
GonzoGuy

This guy takes himself way too seriously.

GonzoGuy
GonzoGuy

This guy takes himself way too seriously.

Guts5
Guts5

Great_Ragnarok "Guts5 before you start accusing people you mite want to do the appropriate research! mmmkay. Itagaki was freed from all the charges! google it if you don't believe me." Did I use the word charges? No, I said issues as in non-legal. You might want to read what's being written to make sure you know what someone was saying before you try going off on em. For the most part if you are famous enough or have enough $$$ most charges never stick, but that sure doesn't mean your innocent, just innocent in the court system. At any rate, I was clear on what I was saying and I never said charges.

Great_Ragnarok
Great_Ragnarok

Guts5 before you start accusing people you mite want to do the appropriate research! mmmkay. Itagaki was freed from all the charges! google it if you don't believe me.

Guts5
Guts5

One more thing on this Itagaki interview. I despise the man and am not defending him as a person. He has multiple sexual harassment issues against him. So, I'm sure not defending the guy. That being said. He is one heck of an awesome developer. His games usually lead that way because he's generally an innovator. When he really cares about a game it gets a ton of polish as well. Means it's a great game. Then you have his "side" projects and you can tell the difference, between the games he loves and his side projects. NG2 will be a game he loves, so it'll be great.

Guts5
Guts5

S-H-A-D-0-W Yep, they are old and I being the unbiased person that I am. Even pointed out that things have changed for the PS3 with the release of the new dev kit and tools last year. My point and the main point is prior to that dev kit many developers shared the view that it was more expensive to develop for by being more difficult and taking longer. That's the main point. Sony provided better tools to help the issue at that point, but it DID exist. That being determined, one could then say that certain devs are still angry at Sony for it happening in the first place. Other only see $$$ and will make games for it obviously. The rest were interpretations of what was said in that dev article. Generally speaking someone doesnt' refer to oh lets say s linux box as a PC. When they use the term PC they generally mean windows based. That's where I was coming from, now it is possilbe the guy didn't mean windows based. I'm certainly not a programming guru, more of a novice really. So, there is room for misinterpretation on what he meant. All that being said the consumer really doesn't care how long generally as long as they get their game. The stuff posted by these devs is certainly part of why some exlusives are on the 360, but as I keep saying it's not the only reason. We're sitting here trying to get into the minds and reasons of people we don't even know, so we're forced to go off these articles and interviews. It's the only data we have as to the "why" factor, but certainly it's not absolute.

gamecubepad
gamecubepad

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S-H-A-D-0-W

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gamecubepad
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gamecubepad
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gamecubepad
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Gifted_One
Gifted_One

Ninja Gaiden II is sure to be a great game. Personally though, I didn't mind the difficulty of the first installment.

Axe_336
Axe_336

Kappareign: Going gold means that a game is set for release. I found the interview rather interesting really, especially the WW2 analogy.

Pete5506
Pete5506

This game is going to be sweet

kappareign
kappareign

unbelievable... during the interview Itagaki claims NG DS didn't sell well at all, yet there is a news story right here on gamespot that says the game went gold, dated Feb. 29th; almost a month before it was even released... so wtf? isn't gold status like 100,000 units sold? i hope they still do a sequel, i thought the first was a lot of fun...

X-RS
X-RS

now that its been mentioned, if anyone makes a rygar game it should be team ninja.

Guts5
Guts5

"khai411 @gamecubepad... Any project on the 360 can be finished one year faster than on the PS3 with equal or better results. MS knows programming. BULL... do you know how many lines of code it took to properly initialize DirectX till recently. The dude should stop being a lazy developer" Not that you really care, but he's right and your incorrect. I mean considering the only games you review are for the PS3 and you think they are 10s... says volumes, but anyways. http://kotaku.com/gaming/capcom/easy-to-move-to-the-360-332791.php If you read that link capcom talks about programming the original game on a PC, that means Windows. The standard Windows development language is C and the language used for the 360 is... you guess it C#. Only a a few minor changes have to be made to tweak it back and forth, but it is obviously EASIER than trying to port to a system that doesn't use the industry standard C#. So, that obviously means it's... easier to develope on the 360. Which means it's quicker, which means it costs the developer less because it takes less time, etc... Love your PS3 all you want, but like it or not the 360 is quicker and easier to develope for and considering how many more exlusives the 360 has and the quality of them... is evidence that developers prefer the system. Not all the evidence, but some of it. Now the funniest thing is almost EVERY single PS3 website has the same article,...from you guessed it... the guy that made Sigma., only people making games for the PS3 trying to refute this... but not any independents. Here on the other hand is another developer talking about how the PS3 will never have proper AI... Haze has added fuel to that argument. http://www.vgchartz.com/forum/thread.php?id=5527 Here is Capcom blasting PS3 as too expensive to develope for again and why they pulled their game from that system and moved it to the wii. http://gamer.blorge.com/2007/10/11/capcom-ditch-ps3-for-the-wii-developers-leaving-sony-in-droves/ All that being said. I do know that Sony released a NEW development kit as a result of all these wide spread and WELL KNOWN issues. I believe it is finally based on C and easier to develop for. Any game created using the new kit would have just started... which means they'll be out in 3 years from now... Near the end of this gens cycle.

KhanhAgE
KhanhAgE

Gosh, my distaste for Itagaki grows with every interview.

gamecubepad
gamecubepad

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Great_Ragnarok
Great_Ragnarok

ok people when u discuss hardware please do not use stats released by the maker!! use stats shown by third parties who actually open the consoles. like anandtech.com or open the console your self and see whats inside!

lostn
lostn

He is working on DOA5 next, followed by DOA Xtreme 3, and then maybe Ninja Gaiden III. Remember, you heard it here first.

S-H-A-D-0-W
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gamecubepad
gamecubepad

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Waskallywabbit
Waskallywabbit

If he claims that he has made this game with his daughter in mind, then why does he continue to write in female characters that are just boobs on legs? I can't wait until I can stop hearing comments from this wind-bag. Dude, seriously, your games are ok, but it doesn't make you the rock star you think you are. In fact, your games are looking a little tired these days. Just because your real-doll looking characters now chop each other into little bits doesn't make up for the fact that every preview has stated that the backgrounds are unimpressive and empty. Your character models are clean but undetailed. I am not reviewing a game that I have not played, and fans should be happy with it, but I wish they would do something more interesting.

S-H-A-D-0-W
S-H-A-D-0-W

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gamecubepad
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