Interview: Team Ninja Boss Yosuke Hayashi
Our first chat with the new leader of Team Ninja, on Itagaki, Sigma 2, the Koei Tecmo merger and Ninja Gaiden 3.
(This interview has a related news article here).
If there were any doubts about the talent of Yosuke Hayashi after he directed Ninja Gaiden Sigma for the PS3, then they were surely alleviated with the fantastic DS title, Ninja Gaiden Dragon Sword, on which he was director and producer.
Hayashi, the new leader of Team Ninja, has boldly stepped into the office formerly occupied by Tomonobu Itagaki, someone whose pantomime Kikizo has long been a fan of (and we must admit, a party to, when you consider he's sat down for interviews with us no less than six times).
I've seen people literally trembling as they enter an interview room with Itagaki, and then watched them leave looking like they want to cry. But while we always smile at Itagaki's character where many fear it, the bottom line is it's his games - and particularly the Ninja Gaiden series - that we're actually fans of. And the games gave him his pass to say whatever he likes.
So, are these awesome games Itagaki's, or Team Ninja's? The answer from Hayashi-san may come as no surprise, but other details in our first interview with the new 'man' of Team Ninja may well do. The interview focuses on broader stuff before looking at Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2, the PS3-exclusive remake of last year's brilliant Xbox 360 game Ninja Gaiden II, as well as other stuff.
|Thumbs up: Yusuke Hayashi|
Hayashi: Well Itagaki liked to talk a lot! Me, I hope I don't have to talk so much. I believe my games will speak for themselves.
Kikizo: But in the eyes of many gamers, Team Ninja's franchises are seen as Itagaki's own rather than Team Ninja's. He pushed them as his creations, so how does today's Team Ninja feel about that?
Hayashi: Well games are team efforts. A person can have his vision and be a creative force, but in the end, it's a team effort. I think that the DNA, or the essence of the foundation of Team Ninja has not changed at all, and the internal staff hasn't really changed either. It's not like we're a different team, it's just that that the face and the leadership has changed.
As an example, most of my staff working on finishing up Sigma 2 has also worked on Ninja Gaiden 2, so it's not like we're giving it to a completely different part of the team. We also have a strong desire to work on something completely brand new, but which still holds true to the Team Ninja DNA.