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Why Ninja Gaiden Black won’t be part of Ninja Gaiden: Master Collection

Team Ninja says data from some Ninja Gaiden games may be forever lost

Ryu slashes a monster with a scythe in Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2 Image: Team Ninja/Koei Tecmo Games

Team Ninja’s seminal action game series, Ninja Gaiden, is coming to modern consoles and PC this summer with Ninja Gaiden: Master Collection. The trilogy of games features three specific releases — Ninja Gaiden Sigma, Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2, and Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor’s Edge — and that’s a point of contention for some fans, namely those who hold Xbox release Ninja Gaiden Black in high regard.

The decision to include those particular versions of the Ninja Gaiden trilogy was partly driven by a lack of game preservation. Fumihiko Yasuda, producer on Ninja Gaiden: Master Collection, told Polygon in an email interview that earlier versions of some Ninja Gaiden games were unsalvageable due to data loss.

Read on for our Q&A with Yasuda, who explains what’s changing and what’s not for Ninja Gaiden: Master Collection, which is coming to Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Windows PC via Steam, and Xbox One on June 10. (The collection will be playable on PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X via backward compatibility.)

Polygon: Why did you decide on these three versions of Ninja Gaiden 1-3? Did you consider adding other versions (e.g., Ninja Gaiden Black)?

Fumihiko Yasuda: We did consider it, but the data we have left from Ninja Gaiden Black and Ninja Gaiden 2 are in various pieces to the point that we were unable to salvage them. However, when we worked on Sigma and Sigma 2, we went and collected as much of that data as possible and organized it. And since we could utilize this data, that’s why we chose the Sigma games. Also, the latest version of the numbered titles are the most polished, and also have a lot of additional costumes and modes, so that is why we chose these three titles.

Will you fully support PS5 and Xbox Series X features with enhanced frame rates, HDR lighting, and DualSense feedback at some point?

No, we don’t have any plans on upgrading the game to support PS5 and Xbox Series X/S features.

Ayane battles a giant demon in a screenshot from the Ninja Gaiden: Master Collection Image: Team Ninja/Koei Tecmo Games

Are there any other enhancements, in terms of controls or accessibility options in Master Collection? Will the collection include bonus materials?

We’ve focused on keeping with the game features and action elements in the original games, so really haven’t made any major changes, but we have been able to improve the resolution and stabilize the frame rate to match the improvements in hardware specs. In particular, 4K resolution and 60 fps for PS4 Pro, PS5, Xbox One X, Xbox Series X/S, and Steam (hardware requirements necessary). Resolution and [frame rate] may fluctuate during gameplay, and players will of course need to have a 4K TV or monitor to play in full 4K/60 fps.

And even though we didn’t include online multiplayer, Tag Missions can be played in single-player mode, and some of the unreasonably difficult parts have been adjusted. However, we haven’t made any adjustments that make the game easier to clear, so we hope everyone is up for the challenge!

In terms of bonus materials, the costumes added in the games included as well as the Sigma Plus and Sigma 2 Plus games are included.

Ninja Gaiden fans want you to put Sigma 2’s blood back into the game. Will you do that? What other fan requests are you considering?

We’re aware of all the various requests and mixed reception, but as mentioned in the first answer, the content will be similar to the original Sigma, Sigma 2, and Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor’s Edge games.

Ryu attacks soldiers in a screenshot from Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor’s Edge Image: Team Ninja/Koei Tecmo Games

It’s been nearly 10 years since we’ve had a new, mainline Ninja Gaiden game. What do you envision for the future of the series? Does the Master Collection offer any hints about the future of Ninja Gaiden?

We are able to work on this remastered version because of the encouraging comments and voices from our fans. Team NINJA will dedicate ourselves to working on new projects, so we hope you will continue to voice your support.

What was it like revisiting these classic games? Did it offer any fond reminders of the development of the Ninja Gaiden series? Are the games as hard as you remember them, even in the age of highly difficult games like Nioh and Sekiro?

The series can be considered the origins of the Team NINJA action style, and revisiting it reminded me that the precise control response is truly amazing. The difficulty has stood the test of time and still remains challenging. The masocore genre gives players various options aside from full-on combat to redeem themselves after dying. But players are clearly required to improve their playing skills in the Ninja Gaiden series in order to advance. For many new players, this stoic approach might feel fresh in comparison and for that reason.

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