According to reports, the US release of Tecmo's balletic third-person action title Ninja Gaiden for Xbox has been delayed until February 2004. GameSpot yesterday cited sources close to the developer and pointed to various online retailers to confirm (something we certainly can't argue with over here - Amazon lists it as mid-May 2004...).
Unfortunately there is no official word from anyone at Microsoft or Tecmo about the US slip, but rumours have been circulating for quite some time now that the game would miss Christmas across the pond by a stone's throw. Expectations have been extremely high for this title for ages, too, so presumably the two companies wanted to avoid announcing its slippage in the same breath as Halo 2.
Since delivering Dead or Alive 3 on Xbox, Tecmo has been one of Microsoft's most prized developers - and their highest profile Japanese associates besides Sega. And although Dead or Alive Xtreme Beach Volleyball was an outright flop over here, Ninja Gaiden and Dead or Alive Online are expected to be two of Microsoft's biggest titles in 2004.
We currently have very little idea exactly when Ninja Gaiden will be appearing in Europe (a spokesperson would only tell us "Q1 2004"), but encouragingly a few US magazines have already played and reviewed a near-final version of the game, so it can't be too far off.