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
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
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.