Ninja Gaiden: Master Collection interview: Bringing brutal challenge to a new generation

We wanted to know more about Ninja Gaiden: Master Collection so we had a chat to the producer of the collection, Fumihiko Yasuda, of Team Ninja.


Currently in development by Team Ninja, Ninja Gaiden: Master Collection looks to bring several of the titles to a new audience across multiple platforms. Shacknews recently had the pleasure of asking Fumihiko Yasuda, Chief of Team Ninja and Producer of the Master Collection, about what it’s like bringing Ninja Gaiden to a generation of gamers that haven’t experienced the series before. We also touched on the challenge the series is renowned for and whether we could see Rya Hyabusa appear in other places.

Shacknews: There's a generation of players out there who may not have played this series of Ninja Gaiden games. How would you describe the Master Collection to them?

Fumihiko Yasuda: The three games included in the collection are part of the Ninja Gaiden series and its hallmark has always been its amazingly precise control response which is deeply rooted in Team Ninja's action style. Even though you're faced with enemies in every junction, Ryu Hayabusa is your formidable weapon to command each battle as you master the controls. The games have stood the test of time, and I hope players new to the series will enjoy the challenge.

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Shacknews: What made the team want to put together this compilation for the new consoles? Was it out of a desire to introduce Ryu Hayabusa to new audiences or was it out of a sense that older fans may have started to forget Ryu and what he's brought to this type of game?

Fumihiko Yasuda: The Ninja Gaiden series along with the Dead or Alive series is Team Ninja's signature franchises. And it's been on our minds for a long time that the Ninja Gaiden series hasn't been available on the Nintendo Switch, PS4 and Xbox One generation of hardware as well as PC, and also the timing fit since we had completed work on Nioh 2.

In addition, the number of staff at Team Ninja who are of the generation that grew up playing Ninja Gaiden is slowly increasing. So, for our development team we wanted this to be an opportunity for them to get involved once again with the Ninja Gaiden franchise.

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Shacknews: The Ninja Gaiden series, whether in 2D or 3D, has always been considered some of the most challenging games in history. How were you able to make the 3D Ninja Gaiden games feel as challenging as their 2D predecessors without making them feel overly frustrating?

Fumihiko Yasuda: We've been very particular about the player control input, so that Ryu Hayabusa moves according to how the player wants him to move.

Shacknews: Was there a particular chapter or a particular area in any of the games that you consider to be the peak of the modern trilogy? What are you most proud of putting together?

Fumihiko Yasuda: I think Team Ninja is proud of every single title. Personally, I am proud of the Sky City Tokyo stage at the beginning of Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2, which was the first thing I worked on.

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Shacknews: How did your time on the Ninja Gaiden trilogy help influence the later development of the Nioh series?

Fumihiko Yasuda: I think the responsive controls and unrelenting enemy AI are just some of the things we've adopted. At the same time, simply making games difficult isn't our primary goal as it is  to create an immersive game that players can enjoy navigating and overcoming. I think this core philosophy was carried over to the Nioh series and other Team Ninja titles.

Shacknews: You've said in previous interviews with other outlets that you would like to work on a new Ninja Gaiden. Is that still the case? Do you still want to see a new Ninja Gaiden? And if so, what would have to happen in order for Ryu Hayabusa to live again?

Fumihiko Yasuda: Yes, that's still the case. To make it happen, I think it's important that we clear that standards of various games and not just current action games, and ensure that it remains a Ninja Gaiden game.

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Shacknews: Lastly, if there's no new Ninja Gaiden on the horizon, is there another place where Ryu Hayabusa can pop up? Since we're living in an unprecedented age of cameos in fighting games, is there any chance Ryu could pop up in a major fighting game franchise?

Fumihiko Yasuda: We don't have any plans, but we'd love to have him take part in a new Team Ninja game or if we receive a fitting offer from another publisher.  We're waiting for any invitations!

Ninja Gaiden: Master Collection is scheduled to release on June 10, 2021, on PC, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and PlayStation 4. Be sure to check out the Shacknews 2021 video game release date calendar for a look at every game coming out this year. You can learn more about Ninja Gaiden: Master Collection via the Team Ninja site.

Senior Editor

Ozzie has been playing video games since picking up his first NES controller at age 5. He has been into games ever since, only briefly stepping away during his college years. But he was pulled back in after spending years in QA circles for both THQ and Activision, mostly spending time helping to push forward the Guitar Hero series at its peak. Ozzie has become a big fan of platformers, puzzle games, shooters, and RPGs, just to name a few genres, but he’s also a huge sucker for anything with a good, compelling narrative behind it. Because what are video games if you can't enjoy a good story with a fresh Cherry Coke?

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