Exclusive: Team Ninja's Itagaki Talks DS Versus PSP
As part of an extensive new Gamasutra interview
, Team Ninja's Tomonobu Itagaki (Dead Or Alive
) has been discussing the merits of Nintendo's DS and Sony's PSP, pinpointing both the PSP's "toned-down" console roots, and suggesting that the DS market may be getting flooded with low-budget titles.
In the interview conducted immediately following the recent Tokyo Game Show, Itagaki was asked why Team Ninja has decided to produce a title, Ninja Gaiden: Dragon Sword
, for the DS, rather than something for the PSP - and he commented:
"When Nintendo first announced the specs of its unit, it was around the time that Sony was also announcing that they were bringing out the PSP. When I looked at the estimated specs of both, I knew which platform I wanted to work on... and I am sure that you, or people like you, might wonder, 'If the visual is so important, then why choose DS over the PSP?'"
Itagaki continued, explaining exactly why the DS appealed to him:
"The reason is because the PlayStation Portable is basically designed on the philosophy of having a console that you can take with you. They are basically just toning down what we see on home consoles such as the 360 or the PS3; whereas the DS was looking at a whole new method of input. Just as I said earlier, one of the key aspects of game design is the interactivity between the user's input and what happens on the screen, so I thought: here is a chance to do something totally original, using the strengths of this hardware. If I was going to make a game for PSP, I would be better off making a game for PS2, because they are essentially attempting to do the same thing."
The Team Ninja head added, regarding those who try to compare the two main handheld systems, something he suggests doesn't make complete sense:
"So the whole viewpoint of the PSP versus the DS is flawed. What Sony really needed to do was get those key Game Boy users and broaden the market. When Nintendo first announced the DS, they were very realistic at the time in knowing that it may be a success or it may not; they certainly weren't convinced of its success. They just knew that it was something they needed to try, for the sake of the industry, to continue to expand the kind of experiences that were available. And that type of spirit is something that I could relate with, and part of the reason why I chose to go with this hardware."
Later in the interview, which also deals with a number of other subjects, Itagaki also addressed the current state of the Nintendo DS in terms of software titles:
"So now that we are in this market where there are a glut of relatively low-budget games that are filling up the marketplace, the market may be ready for a more serious, more refined experience. We are right at this turning point in the portable space, where we will be launching this Dragon Sword game, and this may be exactly what people out there are looking for. They may be tired of all the "training" games, and looking for something more substantial. Or maybe not. We won't be able to tell until we actually throw it out there and see how people react."
The full interview with Team Ninja's Itagaki
is now available on Gamasutra, including plenty of other details on Itagaki's views of development and the state of the game industry.