Team Ninja producer Yousuke Hayashi talks exclusively to PlayStation.com about Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2's new characters, online co-op and downloadable content.
Talk us through the differences between the original Ninja Gaiden Sigma on PS3 and Sigma 2, and what you hope to bring to the fans with this second entry on PS3?
Well, we have introduced three new female playable characters - Ayane, Momiji and Rachel - and secondly an online mode which is different from the story in the form of an online co-op mode.
Why did you choose these characters and how are their abilities different to those of Ryu?
Well the three female characters have in some way or another featured previously in the Ninja Gaiden series. We wanted to allow the players to play through these characters and so that's why we decided to make them playable in Sigma 2.
All three of them have different qualities in terms of action. Ayane is a very speedy ninja; Momiji is very powerful and has some tricky actions that really allow the players to get into the game. Rachel, again, possesses extreme power in her actions and each of them is therefore distinct in terms of their characteristics, and so produce different kinds of actions in conjunction with Ryu.
In terms of who will be the most popular, we just don't know until players start playing the game.
Can you elaborate a little on the online mode and how players will experience it when the game arrives?
The online co-operative mode offers up an arena for a new type of play so in that respect certain campaigns are available online. However, this is our very first attempt at online play and in the future we'll take a look at the possibility of bringing the entire experience online at some point.
Do you think that the future of games such as Ninja Gaiden lies in online co-op play?
I think it's good to experience different modes of play but not all types of play are suited to an online mode. What we tried to do was introduce a new type of experience to players with our online mode. We need to produce new forms of play for players to experience.
I don't believe that all forms of actions games are appropriate for an online mode, and that all campaigns in a game should be available online from beginning to end.
What do you think makes a genuinely rewarding co-operative play experience on PlayStation 3?
The key to co-operative play is the requirement that everyone who takes part in it enjoys it. It's no good if only some of the people involved are enjoying it. The other thing is that we wouldn't want to impose on players the need to do something in co-operation with another player. Our philosophy is to ensure that players enjoy playing together rather than having to play together.
Is there going to be an online scoreboard relating to the co-operative play mode?
Yes there will be. You'll be able to see what score you have achieved and what other players around the world have also scored.
Ninja Gaiden is an adult game, and you have toned down the level of violence from the first game on PS3. What was the decision behind this design choice?
When we developed Ninja Gaiden 2 Sigma we noticed that a lot of games featured a significant amount of violence in them, so rather than replicating this we focused on the cooler aspects in this game.
Will the Trophies available for players to unlock reflect the now infamous difficulty levels of the Ninja Gaiden series?
Trophies are an indication of how well the player has played the game, so we've provided a broad range of Trophies for players. Some are easier to get, and some will prove much more difficult.
What are your plans for downloadable content once the game has been released?
Our idea is to try to build in things that the fans aspire to and we will develop content along those lines. For the time being we are going to provide you with the game on the disc and then we'll talk to fans after release about additional content.
Our thinking on this is to really ensure people fully enjoy what they get on the game disc first.