Ninja Gaiden 2 official, Rez and Ikaruga XBLA-bound

Microsoft publishing Team Ninja-developed sequel for 360 in 2008; two Dreamcast classics coming to download service; Sakaguchi dates Lost Odyssey.

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Well, that didn't take long. Just hours after Ninja Gaiden 2 screens appeared on the Japanese edition of Xbox.com, Microsoft has officially unveiled the game. Set for a worldwide release in 2008, it is being worked on by Team Ninja, developer of the 2004 Xbox Ninja Gaiden, the 2005 Xbox rework Ninja Gaiden Black, and the 2007 enhanced rework Ninja Gaiden Sigma for the PlayStation 3.

Currently, Ninja Gaiden 2 is set for a worldwide release on the Xbox 360 sometime in 2008. However, unlike its predecessors, it won't be ported to other consoles down the line. Instead of being published by Tecmo, holder of the Ninja Gaiden license, the game is being bankrolled and distributed directly by Microsoft Game Studios. Exact terms of the publishing deal were not made public as of press time, nor were any details on the title's story or gameplay.

Tomonobu Itagaki, head of Tecmo-owned Team Ninja, was on hand at a pre-Tokyo Game Show event this morning in Japan to make the Ninja Gaiden 2 announcement. He was joined on stage by Hironobu Sakaguchi, creator of the Final Fantasy series and founder of Mistwalker, the publisher of the 360-exclusive role-playing game Blue Dragon.

Though Blue Dragon hasn't been a commercial or critical hit in the US or Japan, Sakaguchi used the event to tout--and date--his latest 360 RPG, Lost Odyssey. The game will be released on December 6 in Japan, where the 360 runs a distant third to the PlayStation 3 and Nintendo Wii in terms of market share. Lost Odyssey will then ship in the rest of Asia in January 2008, with a North American and European release the following month.

"Call my screens fake, will ya?"

Another famed Japanese game designer enlisted by Microsoft is Q Entertainment head Tetsuya Mizuguchi, creator of Ninety-Nine Nights and fan favorite Space Channel 5. Today Microsoft announced that another Mizuguchi-developed classic, Rez, is coming to Xbox Live Arcade. Though not dated or priced, when Rez does arrive, it will join two other Mizuguchi-developed games on the service: Lumines Live and the forthcoming Every Extend Extra Extreme.

Though it eventually was ported to the PlayStation 2, Rez was originally released for the Sega Dreamcast. Microsoft also announced today that another Dreamcast classic, Ikaruga, is coming to Xbox Live Arcade. Available "soon" according to Microsoft, the game will sport a "slow-motion" training mode and online co-op play for two persons.

Finally, Microsoft revealed two other titles for Xbox Live Arcade: a port of the PSP puzzler Exit (Taito) and the arcade shooter Triggerheart Exelica (Warashi). Three other games--the puzzle-platformer Braid (Number None Inc.), four-player RPG Castle Crashers (The Behemoth), and co-op focused actioner Schizoid (Torpex Games)--were confirmed for early 2008 launches.

"We continue to evolve our strong relationships with Japan's best and most innovative developers, and we're looking forward to delivering exclusive high-definition titles for consumers worldwide, this year and beyond," said Don Mattrick, senior vice president of Interactive Entertainment Business at Microsoft's Entertainment and Devices Division, in a statement.

[UPDATE] For more on the game, check out GameSpot's on-the-scene report of the Ninja Gaiden II unveiling at Microsoft's Xbox 360 event in Tokyo.

Got a news tip or want to contact us directly? Email news@gamespot.com

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