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Beloved TMNT graphic novel The Last Ronin is becoming a video game

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Last Ronin is inspired by big action RPGs like God of War

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Artwork of Michelangelo from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Last Ronin issue #4, by artist Inhyuk Lee
Cover art from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Last Ronin issue #4
Image: Inhyuk Lee/IDW Publishing
Michael McWhertor is a journalist with more than 17 years of experience covering video games, technology, movies, TV, and entertainment.

A new, very different style of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles game is currently in development: an adaptation of The Last Ronin, the 2020 graphic novel that told a grim, futuristic story about the turtles.

Like the comic, The Last Ronin video game adaptation will be a darker, more mature take on the typically colorful Ninja Turtles, according to Doug Rosen, senior vice president for games and emerging media at Paramount Global, the rights holders for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. In an interview with Polygon last week, Rosen likened the upcoming third-person action role-playing game to Sony’s recent God of War titles and said it will be authentic to the story of The Last Ronin arc, which is set in a future where only one of the turtles has survived.

While other TMNT games, like last year’s Shredder’s Revenge, are typically about playing as all four turtles (and sometimes their allies Splinter, April O’Neil, and Casey Jones), The Last Ronin will be a primarily a single-character game. Though Rosen posited that other characters could be playable in flashback sequences, similar to how the comic series plays out, the primary action is said to center on the only surviving turtle.

The identity of that lone remaining Ninja Turtle was something of a mystery when The Last Ronin comic series was announced. The arc’s story was built around a Ninja Turtle who wore a black mask and fought using all four turtles’ signature weapons: nunchaku, sai, bo staff, and dual katanas. It wasn’t until the final pages of the first issue of The Last Ronin where the lone surviving turtle’s identity was revealed: Michelangelo. The remaining turtles, and Master Splinter, have all been exterminated by the Foot Clan, leading Mike to seek justice for their deaths in a battle-ravaged New York City.

Publisher IDW launched The Last Ronin in 2020 as a five-issue miniseries. The arc was written by Kevin Eastman, and based on an idea he first conceived with TMNT co-creator Peter Laird in the late 1980s.

Like The Last Ronin comic book series, the video game will target an older audience, just like the recent collaboration with Call of Duty that brings Shredder to Activision’s shooter franchise. Rosen said there are opportunities for multiple TMNT games aimed at both young and more mature age groups, and that Paramount can take “multiple approaches [to the franchise], and not dial back to make the game something it shouldn’t be.”

The Last Ronin video game adaptation is being developed by an unnamed studio, and is likely a “few years off” from release, Rosen said. But like throwback beat-’em-up Shredder’s Revenge, developed by Tribute Games and DotEmu, and the Cowabunga Collection, developed by retro-game collection experts Digital Eclipse, Rosen said they’ve found the right partner to adapt The Last Ronin into an ambitious AAA video game.

Rosen said to expect more details on The Last Ronin, and much more from the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles in video games, in the coming months and years. In the near term, fans of the Ninja Turtles, will soon see the heroes in a half-shell showing up in Roblox, in a new game set for release alongside Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem, a new animated feature film. The Roblox game is being developed by Gamefam, the studio behind Sonic the Hedgehog’s Roblox outing, Sonic Speed Simulator.

Here’s a first peek at that game’s take on the turtles:

Artwork of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem, as seen in Roblox Image: Gamefam/Paramount Game Studios

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