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Team Ninja enlists Inafune and Western dev for next Ninja Gaiden
September 19, 2012 | By Eric Caoili




Team Ninja has brought in Western developer Spark Unlimited and Capcom veteran Keiji Inafune to work on a new, zombie-filled spin-off for the Ninja Gaiden franchise.

Team Ninja, a Tecmo Koei subsidiary, typically develops all of the action series' console entries, but Yaiba: Ninja Gaiden Z will be created in conjunction with the same California-based studio that's also working on Capcom's Lost Planet 3 (another series typically handled by the Japanese developer's internal teams).

Involving Inafune and his IP development group Comcept also attaches a high-profile game developer's name to the project -- something the Ninja Gaiden franchise has lacked since Team Ninja's opinionated head Tomonobu Itagaki resigned from the company in 2008.

Many critics panned the series' most recent release, Ninja Gaiden 3, for veering away from the reflex-focused gameplay and intense difficulty of its predecessors. The game also sought to integrate elements from Western games and appeal to mainstream Western audiences.

And now for this spin-off, which features a new protagonist and the popular Western game trope of zombies, Team Ninja has brought in a U.S. studio that's created mostly Unreal Engine 3-powered first-person shooters like Call of Duty: Finest Hour and Turning Point: Fall of Liberty.

Tecmo Koei hasn't yet announced a release date or planned platforms for Yaiba: Ninja Gaiden Z.


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