If by a man's work shall ye know him, Tomonobu Itagaki is a smashed Xbox 360 control pad. In fact, he's a special kind of smashed Xbox 360 control pad. He's the kind that was desecrated in a frenzied tantrum of bile and frustration, its destruction soundtracked by a stream of vitriolic swearwords so extreme any senior citizens within earshot would spontaneously combust.
2011 is set to be the year Team Ninja emerges from the shadow cast by the departure of Tomonobu Itagaki with new games in the Dead or Alive and Ninja Gaiden franchises. Dimensions, the first DOA fighting game in over five years, is a launch window title for the 3DS, and Ninja Gaiden 3, still without announced platforms, has been described as a reboot. Exciting times.
Team Ninja currently boasts "the most powerful team in history" and has improved since the acrimonious departure of Tomonobu Itagaki, studio boss Yosuke Hayashi has claimed.
Team Ninja's new boss has dropped a big hint that Ninja Gaiden will return - and that it will be a multi-platform game when it does.
Microsoft has cut the price of Ninja Gaiden 2's Mission Mode DLC as this week's XBLA Deal of the Week.
The new-look Team Ninja is backing PS3 following the departure of former leader Tomonobu Itagaki.
Ninja Gaiden developer Team Ninja apparently has three action games ready to unveil at the Tokyo Game Show, which takes place in early October.
Ninja Gaiden developer Tecmo has rejected the takeover bid made by Square Enix, deciding instead to concentrate efforts on a possible merger with Koei.
Devil May Cry creator and Bayonetta designer Hideki Kamiya has said he wants to "make a game that exceeds God of War's sequel".
Microsoft has announced that sales of Ninja Gaiden II have topped the 1 million mark.
The Xbox 360 exclusive was released in June. Since then more than 412,000 copies have been shifted in the US alone, racking up USD 25 million in sales.
But is it any good? Yes, in a sort of 7/10 way, reckons our reviewer. It's "the most balletic, explosive combat game we've seen in years", but don't expect it to be as good as the previous game.
Square Enix has said it hopes to acquire a majority stake in fellow Japanese game developer Tecmo.
It's been a while since we last did this - just over four months in fact - so it seems like a good time to dip back into Microsoft's Game Store to see if anything of interest has been added. This won't be a complete list of every new bit of downloadable content released since April, but rather a closer look at the bits and pieces that caught our eye - whether it's for all the right, or all the wrong, reasons.
As always, we'll be breaking down the cost of each item in real money so you can gauge the relative value of your precious Microsoft Points, and also giving you the lowdown on what you get for your outlay and whether it's worth the effort.
Ninja Gaiden 2
Microsoft has popped the Ninja Gaiden 2 Mission pack back on Xbox Live, but there are still freezing problems that need "a little more time to figure out".
Microsoft expects the Ninja Gaiden 2 mission pack will return to Xbox Live sometime today.
Nintendo has boasted about Wii becoming the best-selling current generation console in the US.
Microsoft plans to release a new downloadable mode for Ninja Gaiden 2 on 25th July.
Microsoft has publicly thanked Tomonobu Itagaki for his Xbox support following his dramatic departure from Tecmo yesterday.
The Ninja Gaiden 2 demo has flipped onto Xbox Live Marketplace and sliced some heads off just in time to be overshadowed by its creator's fiery exit from Tecmo.
Tomonobu Itagaki has reportedly left Tecmo under a cloud, leaving a hefty lawsuit and a personal attack on company president Yoshimi Yasuda in his wake.
Xbox Live VIP Larry Hryb has promised a Western Ninja Gaiden II demo by the end of this week.
When everyone else appears obsessed with making games more 'accessible' (boo!) and 'family friendly' (hiss!), what a pleasure it is to welcome back to the gaming fold Tomonobu Itagaki's unapologetically hardcore take on the veteran Ninja Gaiden series.
The 2004 Xbox-exclusive revival of the action-adventure boasted a complex but brutally unforgiving combat system which caused many a gamer's resolve to collapse in the face of the massive challenge. But for the brave of heart (and vast of patience) who persevered and mastered its intracacies, it became one of the defining action titles of the last generation.
It seems apt, then, that the much-hyped sequel should once again appear exclusively on an Xbox console - a system that cannot shake its hardcore reputation, try as Microsoft's marketing ninjas might. But it's a tag that developer Team Ninja sports with pride - and celebrates with a sea of crimson carrying forth the fleshy remains of a thousand severed limbs.
My living room is full of twenty-something gamers, and they're watching a friend play through the first level of Ninja Gaiden 2. The air is filled with laughter - hooting, cackling, whooping laughter, punctuated with sharp intakes of breath and observations that, well, everything looks like it hurts. Really quite a lot.
Ninja Gaiden 2 is a spectacle. Its predecessor has come to be remembered for a steep but perfectly pitched difficulty curve - but firing up NG2 for the first time is a reminder of just how cinematic and exciting the whole thing is, too. With Ninja Gaiden, we came for the eye-catching, beautiful combat, and stayed for the challenge. Ninja Gaiden 2 ramps up the first part of that formula to a whole new level.
Graphically, of course, it's a stunner, but it's the battle animation and choreography that really pulls in your attention. Ryu's adventure this time around is a far more brutal and violent than his last outing, which featured the occasional decapitation (excised from the European release, you may recall) as a finishing move. Here, the bloodlust goes into overdrive - and with it, Team Ninja's brilliant, over-the-top battle animations.
Top shop HMV is offering free Microsoft Points to anyone pre-ordering Ninja Gaiden 2.
Ninja Gaiden is the franchise that never was, a famous videogame brand that has clocked up over ten titles without ever adhering to any consistent continuity. These are games that play almost identically, yet often have little in common beyond the name of the lead character and a propensity for fiendish difficulty levels. But still they endure, most recently revived and resuscitated by the mercurial talents of Tomonobu Itagaki and Team Ninja. Today gamers fidget in anticipation to see what the outspoken development wizard has come up with. Two decades ago, however, Ninja Gaiden was just getting started, launching in the arcades and on the NES in a peculiar criss-cross release pattern.
Microsoft will be treating those pre-ordering Ninja Gaiden II to a fancy Ryu costume.
Team Ninja main man Tomonobu Itagaki reckons Ninja Gaiden II will be "the world's premier action game", and as hyperbolic as that sounds, there's a good chance it will be. The brand's certainly built on firm foundations - back in March 2004, Tom reckoned the Xbox original was "one of the finest action games ever made". But that was then, and plenty of challengers have come along since that have been even more spectacular - not to mention far more accessible. Ninja Gaiden could give most hardcore gamers a bloody nose at ten paces.
Ninja Gaiden 2 will be released in Europe on 6th June.
Tecmo has revealed that a playable demo for Ninja Gaiden 2 will be available in May.
Tomonobu Itagaki has revealed that Ninja Gaiden 2 will be released worldwide in June, exclusively on Xbox 360.
Team Ninja wants you to come up with some original Achievements for Ninja Gaiden 2.
Are you still wondering what Ninja Gaiden 2 looks like? You mustn't be very good at the Internet then, because it seems to be everywhere at the moment. Never mind - watch our new and exclusive Ninja Gaiden 2 trailer on Eurogamer TV instead. And then look at our new and exclusive Ninja Gaiden 2 screenshots.
The trailer is comprised entirely of gameplay footage - nearly four minutes of it, in fact - and begins with lots of extremely gory footage of Ryu slicing people's legs and heads off in a friendly-looking port.
The action then switches to a room circled by a big snaky decoration, although your eyes will quickly give up trying to make that out in favour of the six-armed arachnid horror that Ryu's involved in a battle to slaughter. Which he does of course. Nastily. After that, more outdoor bits follow, and it's all quite violent. Don't spoil your tea.
Team Ninja boss Tomonobu Itagaki says that he doesn't feel "censored" by ratings boards, and believes that the difficult work undertaken by organisations like the ESRB and PEGI to classify what people find offensive, or too violent, is very positive for videogames as a whole.
"Can I have some I.D, sir?"
Fresh snaps from GDC.
Microsoft has announced Ninja Gaiden 2 will be released exclusively for Xbox 360 next year during a press conference in Tokyo earlier today.