At GDC, Gamasutra had the chance to speak to Team Ninja's Yosuke Hayashi, and he revealed the pressure the studio is under to live up to its legacy after the departure of its leader, Tomonobu Itagaki -- also sharing that the developer is working on multiple projects, including new IP.
Tecmo and its studio Team Ninja recently announced Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2
, a PlayStation 3 expanded remake of last year's Ninja Gaiden II
, which was originally published for the Xbox 360 by Microsoft. The new version, which ships this fall, will include new playable characters, online co-op play, and other improvements.
When asked by Gamasutra how things have been going for Team Ninja since the controversial departure
of its public face and founder, Tomonobu Itagaki, Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2
director Yosuke Hayashi said, "Even if the face, or the leader, changes, we hope to continue to be the Team Ninja that we always have been."
"We are back in full force, and not just with Sigma 2
, but hopefully in the not-so-far away future, we'll be able to announce new projects that we've been working on for some time."
When asked if the change would allow the team to work on new concepts that would not before have been possible, Hayashi alluded to the difficult balance between the need to continue its popular series while working on something new.
"As Team Ninja, we're most well-known for the Ninja Gaiden
series and the Dead or Alive
series. I think to our fans, and our userbase, we know that they have expectations for us."
"But, yes, at the same time, we would like to experiment, explore with something that is very much a Team Ninja production but may not be something that's already been put out... that's definitely one of our goals and missions that will continue for the team."
In a sense, Hayashi appears to see Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2
, the studio's first release after the departure of Itagaki, something of a proving ground to its existing fans -- while pointing the way to the future.
"With Sigma 2
, Team Ninja hopes that we can really satisfy and convince the hardest-core fan of Ninja Gaiden
to be satisfied as much as a newcomer to the series will be satisfied that this is a great action game."
"That's obviously the first thing on our plate right now. But we are trying to balance a lot of different acts, but within that, like I said before, is something completely new for Team Ninja."
The full interview with Hayashi will be available on Gamasutra in the near future.