Naruto, that weird spiky-haired manga beat-'em-up franchise that spits out games you probably ignore, has achieved 10 million sales now.
North American people bought most of the Naruto games (4.3 million), followed by Europe (3.8 million) and then Japan (1.9 million).
Every now and then, someone pops out of the woodwork to complain that the games industry isn't innovative any more. This is clearly nonsense. Certainly, publishers might have an ongoing love affair with barely distinguishable sequels and a herd mentality that makes sheep look strong-willed, but consider this - year after year, the industry invents new and previously unheard-of ways to make you part with your cash. If that's not innovation, what is?
Download Content (DLC) is a new arrival in the exciting field of wallet-stripping, and the Xbox 360 is on the vanguard. Many Xbox 360 games have content available for download sometime after launch, allowing you to hand over a few measly Microsoft points for access to new maps, models, missions and the likes. It's a great idea in theory, obviously - who doesn't want to extend the life of their favourite game a bit? In practice, though, there's some suspicion about it. Nobody wants to find themselves paying extra money for content that should have been in the game in the first place.
Hence these DLC roundup features, where we'll be looking at the bits and bobs that have made their way onto Xbox Live - and, soon, PSN - in the past few months, and checking out what's worth whipping your card out for, and what deserves to sit, dusty and unloved, in the digital dustbins out the back of the Marketplace.
This would normally be the bit of the review where I explain what Naruto is - but frankly, if you don't already know, you're reading the wrong review. All licensed titles rely on knowledge of their source material to some extent, of course - but with many of them, you can enjoy the game without really knowing much about the media it's based on. Fans of the original media just get an extra layer of enjoyment, that's all.
That's not the case with Naruto: Rise of a Ninja. Unless you're familiar with the spiky-blond youngster's shenanigans, you're going to spend most of this game wondering what in the name of all that's holy is going on. That's fine, of course; it just restricts the target audience to people who know about Naruto, and given that it's pretty much the most popular cultural export from Japan of the last five years, that's not a restriction anyone is likely to sweat too much about.
Grand Theft Ninja
Ubisoft has revealed details of Naruto: Rise of a Ninja, an Xbox 360 adventure based on the exploits of the popular anime and manga character. The game is being developed exclusively for 360 at Ubsioft's prolific Montreal studio, and is due for release in the autumn.