Team Ninja sounds like it’s ready to return to Ninja Gaiden, but with a full-on reboot rather than a sequel.
Despite being best known for the Ninja Gaiden and Dead Or Alive games, developer Team Ninja seems to have worked on anything but them for the last few years.
Aside from a compilation of the second trilogy of Ninja Gaiden games for modern platforms, Team Ninja has instead been busy with other companies’ IPs, like Marvel and Final Fantasy, or entirely new ones like Nioh.
Even now, its upcoming titles are more action role-players with nary a new Ninja Gaiden or Dead Or Alive in sight. However, the studio has since confirmed that it intends on returning to both series in the future.
Details are slim at the moment, but this comes from Team Ninja’s keynote speech at the recent G-Star conference in Korea.
The speech was held by studio president Fumihiko Yasuda and while he mostly talked about Team Ninja’s work ethic and goals, plus the upcoming Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty and Rise Of The Ronin titles, he ended with a teasing comment of ‘I can’t deliver anything more at this place, but I want to deliver the results to the fans as soon as possible.’
This comes from a report on the speech by Korean website Ruliweb, which also shared slides from Yasuda’s presentation. The final slide is the most interesting since it features images from Ninja Gaiden and Dead Or Alive.
What’s more, the accompanying Japanese text (as translated by VGC) reads ‘The future of Team Ninja – Reboot of popular series’.
Yasuda has in the past expressed a desire to make a Ninja Gaiden 4. There hasn’t been a true sequel since 2012 and, if you don’t count re-releases, the last entry in the series was the awful 2014 spin-off Yaiba: Ninja Gaiden Z.
Dead Or Alive, publisher Koei Tecmo’s long-running fighting game franchise, has fared a bit better, with its last entry – Dead Or Alive 6 – releasing in 2019.
However, it suffered from limited online functionality and shallow gameplay, while also continuing the series’ tradition of sexist fan service – even if slightly toned down this time.
Its post-launch support only lasted for a year and was criticised for initially charging players money every time they wanted to change a characters’ hair colours, something Team Ninja soon reneged on.
Although neither Team Ninja nor Koei Tecmo has elaborated, the use of the word ‘reboot’ strongly suggests that fans won’t be getting a Ninja Gaiden 4 or Dead Or Alive 7.
What this means in practice is unclear but it’s unlikely either will radically change genres. Whatever these new games will look like, they’re bound to still be an action adventure and fighting game, respectively.
The aim, no doubt, is to try and attract new fans, since as reboots they’ll act as new starting points. Plus, they presumably won’t be bogged down by all the previous games’ lore (though was anyone playing these games for the plot?).
Yasuda sounds eager to properly announce the new games, but it’s unclear if any work has started on them yet, given how many other projects they have on the boil at the moment.
Follow Metro Gaming on Twitter and email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
To submit Inbox letters and Reader’s Features more easily, without the need to send an email, just use our Submit Stuff page here.
For more stories like this, check our Gaming page.