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Platform XBLA, Win, XBLA, Win Publisher Microsoft Game Studios Developer Klei Entertainment Release Date 2012-09-07

Review

Review
11 Comments
8.5

Mark of the Ninja review: from the shadows

Mark of the Ninja never stops being a stealth game. The third act does not feature the addition of heavy weapons, running and gunning, or a climactic boss battle in which the ninja ignores his dynastic teachings to chew gum and kick ass. As Mark of the Ninja progresses, more careful play is expected; the game, quieter; the sword, unimportant. Developer Klei is best known for its Shank series, a duo of beat-'em-up games inspired by Tarantino, Rodriguez and Woo. The hero, sporting a bandanna dyed in blood, literally pounces into battle, liberally running a chainsaw up one enemy while sticking a grenade down another's gullet. On paper, Shank is Mark of the Ninja's opposite. Yet Mark of the Ninja is a spiritual follow-up, more matured and measured than its predecessors. MARK OF THE...

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Opinion
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Why should game stories make sense?

That’s not a new observation, but a month ago I heard some new research on the subject at the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco. Microsoft’s Deborah Hendersen works in user research, and she shared some interviews that she conducted with a series of gamers who were asked how well they could remember the stories of their favorite games. These culture consumers could recall stories from other media without any trouble. But when it came to games, they got lost somewhere after the beginning. They missed big events, and forgot key plot points. When she asked one of them to name his favorite character in Skyrim, he replied "the scary lady." Hendersen had a series of proposals on how to improve comprehension and test narrative earlier in the process. But I was more interested...

Opinion
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The rise of branching stories let us live hundreds of lives, die in most of them

A good, chewy binary decision can make a game, and it takes a great deal of work to make the decision convincing. You can usually only pull it off once or twice in a game. But choices don’t always have to be big. You can build a game from smaller choices, that are just as decisive but that don’t feel as huge: instead of delivering one big moment you can try to arrange a series of them, one after another, in a branching tree that expands out and out as the player makes more and more decisions. Not every choice changes the game, but each one can make the player sweat. If you ever read Choose Your Own Adventure books, you’re familiar with this model. The first decision can lead to a whole different set of endings, and if you’re like me, you probably kept flipping through the book to get...

News
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Don't Starve, Mark of the Ninja toys available in Klei's new store

Don't Starve and Mark of the Ninja developer Klei Entertainment launched a new online store with products for both games designed in-house, the developer announced today. The Klei Store currently includes the Don't Starve Blind Box, which retails for $12.99 and includes one of 12 3.5-inch figurines (pictured above), its unique item and one of 14 accessories from the game. You can also purchase a three-box combo for $32.99, an eight-box combo for $94.99 and a retail box with 16 random blind boxes for $184.99. Klei's new store also includes a eight-inch vinyl figurine in the image of Mark of the Ninja's unnamed protagonist, complete with three interchangeable heads. You can see the $49.99 figure in the video below. The store is a collaboration between Klei and designer Erick...

Report
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How a love of tabletop D&D helps video game designers tell their stories

They are Dungeons & Dragons players or more generically, fantasy desktop adventure game players. Almost always, at their center, will be a core of organizers who have been playing these games since childhood. Talking to professional video game designers who play D&D (I use the term, very loosely, to cover all fantasy desktop games), it becomes clear that they are united in a belief that creating these worlds, exploring the possibilities of imagination at the crossroads of rules and mechanics, has helped them in their work. For anyone who hasn't played a desktop adventure, its format may seem arcane. Whatever the actual game being played, there is usually a set of rules that are interpreted by the Dungeon Master or Game Master (a kind of participating referee and organizer) in order to...

News
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Walking Dead, Mark of the Ninja vets form Campo Santo, working on new game

A group of industry veterans whose work includes The Walking Dead and Mark of the Ninja co-founded a new development studio, according to a post on the new studio's official blog. Campo Santo's staff includes former Telltale creative director and designer Jake Rodkin, designer and writer Sean Vanaman, as well as Mark of the Ninja lead designer Nels Anderson and artist Olly Moss, who's worked with Lucasfilm, Studio Ghibli and others. Campo Santo's first game is "being both backed by and made in collaboration with the stupendous, stupidly-successful Mac utility software-cum-design studio slash app/t-shirt/engineering company Panic Inc. from Portland, Oregon," Vanaman wrote. Panic's software includes the web editor Coda, the FTP client Transmit. Panic also has the distinction of...

News
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Humble Indie Bundle 9 offers Trine 2, Mark of the Ninja and more

Humble Indie Bundle 9, the latest package of price-it-yourself games for Windows, Mac and Linux, is now available with a quartet of titles on offer: Trine 2: Complete Story, Mark of the Ninja, Brutal Legend and beta access to Klei's puzzler, Eets Munchies. In true Humble Bundle fashion, buyers of the package can pick both how much they want to pay for the bundle, and how much they want distributed between the developers, the bundle's organizers and a handful of charitable organizations: Watsi, the Electronic Frontier Foundation and Child's Play. If you can beat the average paid price for the bundle, you'll also nab two additional titles: Indie roguelike FTL: Faster Than Light and Polytron's multidimensional platformer Fez. All bundles also include soundtracks for Trine 2, Brutal...

News
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Mark of the Ninja Special Edition DLC hits Aug. 16 on XBLA, Steam

Mark of the Ninja developer Klei Entertainment will release the game's Special Edition add-on content Aug. 16 on Windows PC via Steam and Xbox Live Arcade, the studio announced today. The Special Edition content will cost $4.99 on Steam and 400 Microsoft Points ($5) on XBLA. Klei announced the DLC in March, and compared it to a Criterion Collection-esque addition to the stellar stealth title. The Special Edition package will contain developer commentary, as well as a new costume, new level — a flashback to the early life of the tattoo artist Dosan — and a different play style thanks to a new nonlethal takedown. You can watch the Special Edition announcement trailer below.

News
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Incognita is Klei's next 'turn-based tactical espionage' game

Incognita, a "turn-based tactical espionage" title, is developer Klei Entertainment's next game, according to a tweet from the developer today. The game tasks players with breaking into and stealing from highly guarded locations, Klei founder Jamie Cheng told IGN, with a focus on information gathering. "In the majority of turn-based games, positioning is your number one priority," he said. "From our standpoint, we wanted to make a game where information is one of the key things that you want." You can sign up to learn more about Incognita at the game's official website, where entering your birthdate and email address will sign you up for future updates about the next game from the developers of Mark of the Ninja.

Deals
23 Comments

Amazon Digital Games Summer Sale discounts more than 900 titles

Amazon's Digital Games Summer Sale kicks off today with discounts on more than 900 titles for Windows PC, including The Borderlands Bundle, Assassin's Creed 3 and more. The Borderlands Bundle, which includes the GOTY edition of Borderlands, Borderlands 2 and the Borderlands 2 Season Pass, is currently priced at $21.99. Assassin's Creed 3 is on sale for $13.31, a 67 percent discount off its $39.99 list price. Additionally, those who purchase any indie download will receive free copies of SCHAR: Blue Shield Alliance, Major Mayhem and Cell HD: Emergence through July 2. Free titles will continue to rotate. Amazon's roster of indie games currently includes Don't Starve, FTL: Faster Than Light, Mark of the Ninja, Hotline Miami and more. Other titles can be found at the Amazon Indie Games...

News
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Klei Entertainment's founder says struggles of AAA devs are fueling independent dev scene

Klei Entertainment's founder Jamie Cheng believes the recent struggles of big AAA developers have given rise to the independent game development expansion, according to an interview with GamesIndustry International. "With all the changes and layoffs, we're seeing so many new studios come up that are doing these games without the crutch of hundreds of millions of dollars of marketing...I think for sure that the layoffs are fuelling way more development in the small, independent space," Cheng told GamesIndustry. That said, Cheng pointed out that AAA developers are still needed as sources of trained talent for independent development studios. "I enjoy having the large AAA around because they were hiring and training tons of people, and I can't do that," Cheng said. "We have 30 people...

Mark of the Ninja Releases
North America
  • Xbox Live Arcade
    • Released 09/07/2012
    • Publisher Microsoft Game Studios
    • Developer Klei Entertainment
  • Windows
    • Released 10/16/2012
    • Publisher Microsoft Game Studios
    • Developer Klei Entertainment
  • Xbox Live Arcade
    • Released 08/16/2013
    • Publisher Microsoft Studios
    • Developer Klei Entertainment
  • Windows
    • Released 08/16/2013
    • Publisher Microsoft Studios
    • Developer Klei Entertainment
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