DOA Online, Ninja Gaiden details
Tomonobu Itagaki discusses online gaming, DOA and Ninja Gaiden sequels and even has a go at Namco.
Tomonobu Itagaki, head of Tecmo's Team Ninja, has given a couple of lengthy interviews with GMR, posted at Gamers.com, talking at length about DOA Online and Ninja Gaiden, and clearing up some of the confusion surrounding DOA4/Code Cronus, and Tecmo's sequel plans.
In the first interview, on the subject of DOA Online, Itagaki-san confirmed that both Dead or Alive 1 and 2 will be playable over Xbox Live, and that although DOA2 will be based on the latest "DOA2 Hardcore" version from Japan, the game has been reprogrammed from scratch. "We threw all the original DOA2 data out the window," he said, "and we created it from the ground up on Xbox." This approach has given Team Ninja plenty of opportunity to improve the game - it's "a recreation for Xbox. This is a very important message from Team Ninja," he said. "The graphics of DOA2 Online are better than DOA3," he told GMR, largely because "DOA2 Online is using DOAX as the base engine."
In terms of gameplay, "I want to make rankings, peer-to-peer matches, but now we're still in the planning stages for our network features." And in order to reward series fans who understand all the anally retentive plot timelines and such, DOA Online will include a "World of Dead or Alive" series of movies to straighten out the story.
Itagaki-san also took some time to clear up the various projects underway at Team Ninja, and he stressed that DOA Code Cronus and DOA online are two very different titles. "DOA Online is a fighting game, DOA Code Cronus is not a fighting game," he said bluntly. "But DOA Code Cronus is not Dead or Alive 4 either. I have many ideas for the DOA franchise. I want to create many DOA titles, but I am only one man," he mused. "And I'm already thinking of the sequel to DOAX." Finally on the subject of a possible DOA3 Online, Itagaki-san seemed to confirm this intention. "I think that DOA3 is still a good game," he told GMR, "and that many people want to play DOA3 online, but DOA1 and 2 is first."
Itagaki-san also took the opportunity when handed to him to have a poke at long-time foes Namco, saying he's "sick and tired of all these recent cheap multi-platform games. They take data coded for low-end machines, sprinkle a bit of anti-aliasing on top, and try to pass the thing off as an Xbox game," adding that "We don't need any weapons in order to shut up the game that you have mentioned. DOA Online will be more than sufficient."
On the subject of Ninja Gaiden, Itagaki-san went into incredible detail about the mechanics, the characters and the story, but the most significant news is probably that Team Ninja has "already started to plan Ninja Gaiden 2." With Ninja Gaiden set before the original DOA tournament (and featuring a 14-year-old Ayame, apparently, "which should cause problems with the ESRB"), Itagaki-san doesn't deny that the Gaiden 2 might be set after the third DOA. He does confirm however that the first Gaiden will be a side-story and not the series' fourth chronological instalment - certainly not a successor to the Ninja Gaiden trilogy on the NES, which he described as "a complete story."
Certainly if you're interested in Team Ninja, and particularly DOA Online and Ninja Gaiden, you should definitely check out both interviews. For a developer, Tomonobu Itagaki is refreshingly candid.