Finally A Naruto Shippuden Game For North America

Take heart, North American Naruto fans! After years of playing through the same damn storylines over and over again, Namco Bandai is finally moving along the plot with Ultimate Ninja 4: Naruto Shippuden.

CyberConnect2's latest Ultimate Ninja title for the PlayStation 2 takes us on a journey past the time jump, where a more confident and slightly less whiny Naruto has returned after rigorous training with Mr. Pervert. The game actually features a Master Mode RPG platformer that tells the story of how Naruto came to return to the village in a brand-new story arc created specifically for the game.

The time jump of course brings with it new characters, with updated versions of old favourites and new characters like Deidara, Sasori, and Chiyo making up the game's massive 52-playable character roster, the largest yet in an Ultimate Ninja title.

I'm actually a bit excited, though I do wish they'd have moved the whole thing to the PlayStation 3, giving us the Ultimate Ninja Storm experience for the North American Shippuden debut. Hell, it's a start.

I'd just like to give a shout out to all of the Naruto fans who read Kotaku who are the reason I now understand all of this crap. Due to your urgings, I've now watched every damn episode of the series - even the painful filler. Thanks a bunch. Look for Ultimate Ninja 4: Naruto Shippuden to ship in March.

Kotaku AU Note: Seriously no idea if this will see an Australian release, but I'll ask Atari about it.

NAMCO BANDAI GAMES ANNOUNCES ULTIMATE NINJA®4: NARUTO SHIPPUDEN

The First NARUTO Shippuden Video Game in North America Arrives in March with Intense One-on-one Combat, an Updated Roster of Ninja Combatants, and a Variety of New Game Modes

Santa Clara, Calif., (January 15, 2009) - Leading video games publisher and developer NAMCO BANDAI Games America Inc., today announced Ultimate Ninja®4: NARUTO Shippuden, the first video game in North America based on the NARUTO Shippuden animated series from VIZ Media. Featuring the series' trademark one-on-one ninja battles, the game debuts a number of new and exciting characters as well as several new modes of play for the most comprehensive NARUTO video game experience ever.

Set two and a half years after Naruto left the Hidden Leaf Village to undergo a strict training regiment with his mentor Jiraiya, Ultimate Ninja 4: NARUTO Shippuden lets players experience this new storyline for the first time. Returning to help recover his rival Sasuke from the evil Orochimaru, Naruto is reunited with all his old friends, only to find that a mysterious organisation known as Akatsuki now poses an even more ominous threat to the Village.

Ultimate Ninja 4: NARUTO Shippuden features several unique game modes that offer different experiences as players immerse themselves in the world of ninja. The new Master Mode combines role-playing and action-platforming elements, telling the story of how Naruto came to return to the Hidden Leaf Village after his training with Jiraiya; an original narrative arc that fans won't find anywhere else. Players can collect items in this mode to unlock characters in Free Battle Mode, featuring the series' trademark one-on-one ninja battles for one or two players. Packed with new NARUTO Shippuden characters such as Deidara, Sasori and Chiyo as well as updated versions of fan favourites such as Gaara, Kakashi and Sakura, the game features 52 total playable characters to take into battle.

"Ultimate Ninja 4: NARUTO Shippuden will be the first video game based on the NARUTO Shippuden animated series in North America, giving players their first look at how Naruto's world has changed in the two and a half years since he left his friends to refine his ninja training," said Todd Thorson, director of marketing and public relations with NAMCO BANDAI Games America Inc. "Featuring the biggest roster of playable characters ever in the Ultimate Ninja franchise and a variety of new and engaging game modes, it's everything Naruto fans need to immerse themselves in the characters and storyline of NARUTO Shippuden."

Developed by CyberConnect2, Ultimate Ninja 4: NARUTO Shippuden is slated for release on the PlayStation®2 computer entertainment system this March. For more information on the game, please visit www.namcobandaigames.com and www.hokagesroom.com. For more information on NARUTO and to view episodes of NARUTO Shippuden for free, please visit www.naruto.com.

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