Sony has announced that I-Ninja, developed for Namco by UK-based Argonaut, will be released in Europe during Q1 2004, and will be a PS2 exclusive. With the stylish platform adventure due out on PS2, Xbox and Cube in the US, the European move comes as something of a surprise.
I-Ninja is a cute little game about a ninja, who darts around his little ninja world mastering various ninja weapons. His mission, related to him by his Sensei, is to recover the lost Rage Stones and free the prisoners of Master O-Dor's evil army of Ranx. In addition to slashing his way through the robotic hordes, the player's ninja will run on walls, grind rails, hover using his "sword-copter" ability, throw explosives and generally behave like a Manga exile.
When we saw the game at E3 in May, it was much more than a simple run-and-jump platformer. In fact, platforms were quite thin on the ground - as we recall, we had to balance on top of a big ball and roll it gently across a big room, and then face off against a massive amphibious boxing robot using a hulking exoskeleton.
With I-Ninja now in Sony's hands, and hopefully free of Namco's excruciating promotional efforts (I-Ninja is "an ultra cool ninja with extreme attitude," apparently - superwickedfab!), it stands an even better chance of doing well early next year. Let's hope Sony does a better job marketing I-Ninja than it did with The Mark of Kri, Sly Raccoon and so on...