GAMES - Article
15:00 - 3rd July 2016, by NEO Staff

Riders On The Storm

To follow up our bumper feature last issue on Naruto Ultimate Ninja Storm 4, we spoke again to Naruto cosplayer Hiroshi Matsuyama – who also happens to be President and CEO of CyberConnect2, as well as Executive Game Director for the release. Given his huge love of the franchise, it’s not surprising that he wants to give fans the best Naruto experience possible.

“As this game is for new generation consoles, we wanted to focus on an absolutely overwhelming lifelike expression. In other words, we wanted to give more reality to the game,” he says. “For example, there are huge giant characters, so we wanted to give them more sense of weight. When they do damage on their opponents, unlike a normal sized character, it’s more like a heavy attack given their mass. If a character unleashes a fireball jutsu, before it would only damage their opponent. Now we wanted more reality – if the fireball is unleashed on an opponent, their costume will start burning, and if the opponent jumps in the water it will extinguish the fire. So that’s what we’re aiming for now with the new gen consoles.”

Epic Story

The Naruto manga was coming to its epic climax while Matsuyama-san and his team were working on Ultimate Ninja Storm 4, and they wanted to include those events in the game. “Story-wise, the main storyline won’t be changed, because that’s already established in the manga and anime,” says Matsuyama-san, “but for example, Story Mode breaks into a number of episodes, so whenever the player completes one episode, another episode is unlocked. At the same time, some sub-scenarios are unlocked so the players can proceed to the next main episode to see how the story unfolds – but they can also stop the main scenario for a while and jump into a sub-scenario. It’s up to the players.”

In addition to Naruto, there are a wide range of playable characters on offer. “It depends on the episode,” says Matsuyama-san. “This is a game where we say the main person in the game is yourself, the player who is enjoying the story.”

As fans know all too well, some storylines in the manga and anime run for a very long time, which presented a challenge for the team in adapting the Fourth Shinobi World War for the game. “We’re trying to take the important elements from the Fourth Shinobi World War and integrate them in different episodes,” says Matsuyama-san. “For our scenario itself, we’re arranging it from the original manga / anime. Of course we’ve been supervised by [Naruto’s creator] Kishimoto-sensei too.”

Naruto Challenge!

Another vital concern was making sure the battles are challenging without being too tough. So Matsuyama-san and his team tried to set up situations to let players get comfortable with new skills before facing massive boss battles. “For example, in the anime and manga there is Sasuke with his final form, flying in the sky, and Naruto in Kyuubi form, also flying and fighting in the sky,” he says. “So we can use Sasuke in the intro to the battle so the player can get used to it, and then after the story moves on, the player controls Naruto and they can fly and fight in the sky. Because they have experienced it with Sasuke in the beginning, they get used to how you play and they can think of more strategies. That balance was a concern for the team. When we think about the battles, if we make it too difficult, then the players will have a difficult time. We want to entertain everyone playing the game.”

If you’re ready to be entertained, Naruto Ultimate Ninja Storm 4 is out now for PS4 and Xbox One from Bandai Namco Entertainment.

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