Ninja Gaiden Sigma • Page 2

Game director talks PS3 remake.

Steel and Silk

It's this attitude, we sense, which led Hayashi and his team to eschew many of the trappings and window-dressing features which have become par for the course in next-gen gaming. Real physics on world objects, destructible environments; these are things which PS3 and Xbox 360 games have in spades, and which we don't doubt Team Ninja is capable of.

However, you won't find them in Ninja Gaiden Sigma - perhaps because, ultimately, they would distract from the absolute beating heart of the gameplay, namely your character, your weapon, a group of enemies, and the skills you've learned along the way.

One other new feature that has been introduced, however, is Sixaxis support - albeit in somewhat limited form. When casting a Ninpo magic attack, you can shake the controller to power it up; similarly, when grabbed by an enemy, a quick shake will release you. In effect, Sigma uses shaking the controller instead of the traditional "mash the buttons" action; hardly the kind of use that Sony probably had in mind for its ultra-sensitive accelerometers.

Hayashi is unrepentant. "Basically, I don't want to use that functionality, or the features of a thing like Sixaxis, just because people might think "oh, there's a Sixaxis function, so you have to feature that element to be a real PlayStation 3 game." That's not the right approach."

"What we intend is this - if, by using the function of the Sixaxis, the game will be more interesting... We'll do it. Taking such an approach is more important. If we find something unique, some gameplay that takes advantage of such a function, I'll implement it in the next game."

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"When I come up with such an idea, I'll do so. But otherwise, I don't care, you know?"

He's equally unrepentant and outspoken in his views on some of Team Ninja's competitors in PlayStation 3 development. When we ask how the team has found moving from working on the Xbox to the PS3, Hayashi sidesteps the question somewhat - but delivers a stinging broadside to developers who complain about the difficulty of creating games for any platform.

"There are some developers who have complained about the difficulty of developing for PS3," he admits. "But, I am a creator, a developer - and by making a product, we receive money from the players. We shouldn't complain about the difficulty. If they think it's difficult, creating a game with the PS3, they should get out of the ring!"

Hero's Comeback

So he'll definitely be working on further PS3 products, then? Hayashi grins widely and impishly. "As I said, people who complain about the difficulty of creating games for PS3 should get out, right? While I'm saying that kind of thing, if I get out myself, then what I say doesn't mean anything! So, I should stay - right?"

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We'll take that as a "maybe", then, with definite overtones of "yes" - but there's time for one last question, and we opt for the usually-hopeless stab in the dark of asking what he's going to be working on next. You never know, jetlag might loosen lips - and surely after working on three iterations of Ninja Gaiden, Hayashi is ready for another challenge?

"Well," he says, "while developing Ninja Gaiden Sigma, we came up with some new ideas. We have these ideas, a lot of them... But, you know, I can't tell you about those right now. I've got to hold on to them for the next game, and when the time comes, we'll let everyone know."

Eurogamer's audience with the ninja is over. It must have gone well; we make it to the door without feeling the stab of a handful of razor-edged shuriken in our backs. Perhaps he's just one of the friendlier ninjas in the team.

Ninja Gaiden Sigma is out in Europe in July. A demo should be popping up on PlayStation Network some time in the next few weeks.

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Rob Fahey

Rob Fahey

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