Tecmo is a publisher that has gradually
built up its reputation on the back of quality software -- but it only had one
superstar developer: Tomonobu Itagaki, the founder of its Team Ninja studio.
Of course, as everyone knows by now, in
June this year Itagaki resigned from and sued the company. As everyone also
knows, games are not made by one man: they're made by a competent team of
individuals. Bearing both of these facts in mind, what's the future of Team Ninja?
To answer that question, Gamasutra sat down
with Team Ninja producers Hitoshi Hasegawa, who has taken over leadership of
the team that created the Dead Or Alive fighting game series, and Yosuke Hayashi, director of Ninja Gaiden Sigma (Team Ninja's other major franchise) for the
The conversation took in an evaluation of how the team has been evolving post-Itagaki, its views on the platforms at play in the current
space, and -- after a Tokyo Game Show at which the studio showed no new games
-- what the future holds in store for the high-profile developer.
a very high level, what's the ongoing plan for Team Ninja now? Obviously you
had a situation where you had a break, but also right now, you don't have any
announced games. If you could talk about the direction the studio's heading in
the future, that would be great.
Hitoshi Hasegawa: We've been taking some
time reformatting and reorganizing our team around, but one thing for sure is
that we know what our focus and our concentration and our team goals and
We've been using time recently in order to make sure that
that's what we want to do, and continue to work on existing and future
until now, have you been satisfied with the products that have been released by
Team Ninja for the current generation? Dead
or Alive 4, Dead or Alive Xtreme 2,
Ninja Gaiden II, and Dragon Sword as well?
HH: Not just the company as a whole, but
each individual staff member on the team has been very satisfied with all of
the products that we've released so far. But with any project that you've
completed, you have a brand new day, and there are always new challenges and
new points of view that you come up with.
Our staff members already know that
there's a new challenge ahead of them, and there's always going to be
constantly new concepts and ideas floating around. We're ready for that
Tecmo/Team Ninja's Ninja Gaiden Sigma
like to talk a little bit about the different platforms that are available
right now on the market and how you see their situation. Let's start with the
PlayStation 3. You've released one game, Ninja
Gaiden Sigma. Can you talk about how that's gone and how you see the future
of the system, both in the Japanese domestic market and worldwide?
Yosuke Hayashi: For the PlayStation 3, we
do not believe that we've seen the fullest of its potential from any
standpoint: from a developer standpoint, and also a consumer standpoint -- and
just in products in general.
The developers have been releasing products, but
there is a bigger potential. There is greater potential, and we see that
possibility the most in the PlayStation 3. It's going to be up to us developers
and Sony to make sure that that does happen.