Ninja Gaiden 3 Was A 'Japanese Hamburger,' Creators Say

The folks behind poorly received action game Ninja Gaiden 3 tried too hard to make it appeal to Western tastes, says Yosuke Hayashi, head of developer Team Ninja, the studio behind the game.

In a new interview posted by Gamasutra yesterday, Hayashi talks a bit about what he thinks went wrong, calling the game a "Japanese hamburger" and saying from now on, the team wants to stop making hamburgers and start making "damn good sushi".

"It seems like we made a Japanese hamburger for the West," says Team Ninja head Yosuke Hayashi, who spoke to Gamasutra at E3.

When the game was released and reviewed, he was forced to face the fact, however, that "maybe as a Japanese developer, we need to make good Japanese food... and that's what people are wanting from a Japanese developer."

Unfortunately, he says, "the state the Japanese industry is in right now" means that developers are "doing everything they can just to basically stay above water." This has lead to attempts to pander to Western tastes at the expense of what they do best, but Hayashi is optimistic that everyone giving their all to try and solve problems will result in "answers for how to move forward, and how to make things work in the future."

He's right: Japanese developers need to be playing to their strengths, not abusing cinematics and timed events in a futile attempt to appeal to Western tastes. In other words, we need more Suikoden.

Serving 'damn good sushi' is the Japanese developer's path, says Team Ninja [Gamasutra]


    While I certainly agree that Japanese studios should play to their strengths and make great Japanese games, the problem with Ninja Gaiden 3 (and Ninja Gaiden 2 to a lesser extent) was not that the game was too 'westernised'. The issue was that it wasn't a very good game, however you want to slice it. When you take a punishing but rewarding series and then take most of the challenge and variety out of it (and add quick-time events to what would've traditionally been gameplay; I love you Shenmue, but you have a lot to answer for), you're left with a boring and uninspired game. It worries me that Japanese developers believe that this is what Western tastes consist of.

      To be fair their nearest comparison was likely God of War, which makes me think 3 things, quick time events, spamming, spec runs, the former of which they pretty much incorporated, and which are reasons a lot of people originally liked NG and NOT GoW. The last of which is awesome but isn't really a feature you just 'add in,' and NG 3.... only let you.. use dragon sword. 0_o

      Allthough, Shenmues' Quicktime events were always seperate from real-time action. Shenmue is the only game where Quicktime events worked perfectly - love'em.

        I liked the ones in RE4, myself. Given, that was the first time I'd encountered them in a game but still, I thought it was brilliant. Especially that knife fight!

        I think the best thing about Shenmue's QTEs was that failing one didn't necessarily mean game over or going back to the start of the QTE.. I failed one of the chase sequences, and then ended up having to follow up a completely different lead.

        Oh I completely agree. Shenmue's Quick-Time Events were fantastic. Unfortunately, QTEs have become a major fad since Shenmue popularised them. My comment was in reference to Shenmue being a kind of precursor to the over-saturation of QTEs where they don't necessarily belong, not a claim that Shenmue was at fault at all for such a thing. My apologies for not being clearer in my meaning. :-)

    Oh this is just hilarious, so basically what fans were telling them from the moment the first gameplay hit the stream? No no no ignore them completely, release game.... concede you did what everyone who should have mattered said you were doing? Without conceding anyone said you were doing it?
    I understand Japanese developers are struggling and many are trying to westernise their games, but a vast majority of people did not want this, while an absolute f ton of people were ready for another Ninja Gaiden that played like Ninja Gaiden. It's hard to have sympathy when all TN needed to do was a little focused market research, ask a few critics, a few fans and at least swerve things back toward the older games if restarting development is not an option (which granted it practically never is).

    So in other words it was just a slab of spiced meat with no bun or filling? That explains why the reviews were so bad

    For one, Ninjas are Japanese. So no need too westernise. In fact, Japanese developers don't need to "westernise" any of their games, just a good, english translation is all that needs to be done. The reason we play Japanese games is because they are Japanese. That unique style and gameplay that only Japan can produce.

    Having eaten at Mos Burgers, I firmly believe that japanese hamburgers are amazing. That being said, NG3 was genuinely a poor game. Instead of blaming cultural differences, they should look at how they could improve on what they had offered previously.

    "appeal to Western tastes"? More like APPEALED TO PEOPLE WHO HATE VIDEOGAMES!

    What a load of japanese wank

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