Tecmo has revealed that Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2 will feature an online co-op mode plus new playable characters.
The news was announced at a press conference held during the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco. Producer Yosuke Hayashi told the audience, "We really want this to be the total package, the ultimate package, the game you remember as having everythinhg you've seen and experienced throughout the Ninja Gaiden franchise."
New playable characters will include Ayane, who you might recognise from the Dead or Alive series. She carries a pair of short swords. You'll also get to play as Momiji, previously seen in Ninja Gaiden: Dragon Sword on the DS. She has a longsword and looks rather acrobatic.
So what about our old friend Rachel? Hayashi declined to confirm or deny whether she'll appear in the game, simply stating, "I'm glad everyone loves Rachel and still cares about her... She's a very important part of Team Ninja's games, now and in the future."
You won't be able to play as Ayane or Momiji from the start, as Ryu is still the main man. But you will be able to choose them for online co-op, which Hayashi described as "one of the biggest features we'll be adding in Sigma 2". No further details have been revealed so far though.
Tecmo handed out copies of Official PlayStation Magazine US at the event, which has a big article about the game. It reveals that locations will include Venice, the Amazon, Tokyo and New York, and you'll get to fight the Statue of Liberty. There will be two difficulty levels, and a new health system that heals you automatically when you take out all the enemies in an area. New spells will include Art of the Phoenix Flames and Art of Piercing Void. Ryu's got extra weapons to play with, like the Eclipse Scythe and Falcon's Talons, along with classics like the Lunar Staff and Vigoorian Flail nunchuks.
The mag has a quote from Hayachi saying, "Violence is not going to be one of the key selling points of this title... It's not all about how bloody it is." Instead they're going for "a much cooler, cleaner, sleeker look". So you won't see great big spurts of blood, but clouds of purple essence when enemies get dismembered.
Apparently the co-op mode won't involve playing through the story with a friend, but will be more "arcade-style". Expect an emphasis on action rather than narrative, in other words, plus the ability to collaborate with your partner to pull off more powerful attacks.
So there you have it. Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2 will be released this autumn, exclusively for PS3.