Team Ninja shifting focus to story and emotion rather than just simple sex and violence
Does Team Ninja's focus on violence and sex get tiresome after a while? If so, then you may be pleased to hear that the studio's head, Yosuke Hayashi, seems to think so as well.
While the staff of "about 200" staff consists mostly of original members, Hayashi believes that Team Ninja's vision has changed since he took over following previous head Tomonobu Itagaki's departure. And he believes that upcoming releases Ninja Gaiden 3 and Dead or Alive 5 will be the first opportunities for the studio to show off that new vision.
"The old team was known for making games that just had two primary elements: Sex and violence," Hayashi told Gamasutra. "It was very obvious. The new team, we want to take it to a new level – to a direction that contains emotional experiences that can move players."
"Rather than just having violence for the sake of violence and cheap thrill, we wanted to give meaning to violence: Why does this happen? We want to link emotion to violence." For Ninja Gaiden 3, "we wanted to make a game that is for mature audiences, that can make adults think."
But what about Dead or Alive, the franchise that, to many, is known more for its… well-rounded female characters than for its gameplay?
"We've always had the sex factor in the game; in the past, the female characters had to have big breasts, they had to have scanty dress," Hayashi said. "In DoA 5 especially, we're trying to focus on the real women that surround us; the voice of a female, the mannerisms. We are being realistic about it."
He went on to say that, "In the series up to now we focused on some kind of... Sports Illustrated [aesthetic] like a magazine for high school kids, with women portrayed in that sense. But that's not what we want. We want to show something that's more high class, that adult males of our generation could look at a woman [character] and be impressed with her as a woman, not just as a pin-up. That's what we wanted to tell our fans."
Hayashi knows that this change in vision may upset, and possibly alienate, those who play the DOA games for the fan-service, but feels confident that longtime fans have become more mature over the years and are ready for something different. "The world has changed," he said. "People want something that's more substantial."
A writer, journalist, and aspiring storyteller, Peter Grimm has been gaming since the days of the Nintendo 64, and reporting on the goings-on in the World of Gaming since late 2011. His base of writing operations is located within the void between Here and There, or so he would have you think.
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