The next wave of Wii U games begins on Friday when Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor's Edge is released. Nintendo's new console launched with a bang with 24 new games but Nintendo will be hoping to keep up the momentum in 2013 and they're kicking things off with one of the bloodiest games you'll have ever seen on a Nintendo console.
With Ryu dismembering limbs in slow motion and blood spraying everywhere, it's even more violent than the Xbox 360 and PS3 versions. Does this mark a change of direction for Wii U after the family friendly Wii? We spoke to directors Yosuke Hayashi and Fumihiko Yasuda to find out...
Why did you decide to re-release Ninja Gaiden 3 for Wii U? Did Nintendo approach you or did you approach them?
Hayashi: When we heard about this new Wii U platform, the timing worked out well with Ninja Gaiden as a title that Team Ninja could release. We wanted to release a solid action game on the new platform at launch, so that's how we decided on Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor's Edge.
How did you find working with the Wii U hardware so early in its development?
Hayashi: One of the reasons we decided to develop Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor's Edge was because we heard about the development concept of Wii U itself early on. I think that starting development early was what allowed us to create a game that fully takes advantage of the hardware specs and special features.
The way you've used the GamePad in Ninja Gaiden tends towards being functional, offering a variety of control options on one controller, rather than new gameplay ideas. Do you feel this is a strength other developers are ignoring?
Yasuda: It just wasn't a realistic option to redesign Ninja Gaiden's lightning fast gameplay to a play style that requires players to switch between screens. I think we have managed to implement features focused on making player controls more convenient. However, game design will vary by title, so I'm really interested in the ideas that other games like ZombiU bring to the system.
Do you feel as though Wii U offers developers like yourself new opportunities in making games?
Yasuda: Absolutely. That's clear from the launch titles and other games that are currently being developed.
Where other Wii U ports have focused on extending what the originals achieved, yours changes elements of how the original game worked as well. Do you see ports in general as an opportunity to improve on the fundamentals of a game, as well as extend it for a new platform?
Yasuda: It depends, but in the case of a title like Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor's Edge, where it is determined that the game needed certain changes, then a port becomes an opportunity, not just to make little improvements here and there, but rethink major elements of the game itself.
Did changing the shape of the game, for example including all the downloadable weapons from the beginning, force you to rebalance or tweak how the game played?
Yasuda: Yes. We have gone back and made improvements to balance throughout the entire game.