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This summer, PlayStation 3 owners will be able to see for themselves what Xbox fans have been raving about all these years, as Ninja Gaiden Sigma - a faster, prettier remake of hyperactive slashfest Ninja Gaiden - leaps onto Sony's new console. In addition to getting some hands-on time with the game, we've also had an opportunity to sit down with the game's producer, Yosuke Hayashi (along with associate producer and translator Andrew Szymanski), to find out a little more about what lies in store for newcomers and Ninja Gaiden vets alike.
GamesRadar: We know that Team Ninja likes to program "straight to the metal," bypassing any middleware, and that Team Ninja head Tomonobu Itagaki generally prefers to program for the most powerful hardware. Does that mean you believe the PS3 is the one that's going to come out the winner?
Yosuke Hayashi: Working directly on the hardware is something that we do every time, because if you're going to develop for a system, you need to make sure that you're getting the most out of it. Choosing a more powerful system means we have more options, and we like to work on high-end platforms. So that's why we're working on PS3 right now, just as we worked on other platforms in the past.
To be honest, I don't really care about who's gonna win the next-generation war. If you're developing a game for a piece of hardware, then it's your responsibility to make the best game you can. Obviously there are people out there who've bought PS3s, so it's our duty to make a game for PS3 that they're going to want to buy.
GR: Moving on, we've seen Rachel, the new character, in action. How is the experience of playing as her going to differ from playing as Ryu?
YH: Of course, the best way to see how she plays is gonna be to actually play as her. So once the game comes out, I hope that everybody will have a chance to do that. But our philosophy is to make a character that's as compelling as Hayabusa, but controls differently, and to make sure that it still feels like you're playing Ninja Gaiden even though she's got quite a different fighting style. It's really... we're trying to provide service to the fans. One of the requests we've had, going back to the Xbox, is to play as Rachel. So this is kind of a way to - we hope - satisfy fans of the franchise.
GR: Has there been any talk about bringing her over to the Dead or Alive series?
YH: Obviously, we love the character Rachel, and within the Ninja Gaiden world she plays a really important part, and I'm glad that she's as popular as she is. But when it comes to Dead or Alive, we have a certain other set of criteria. There are plenty of people on our team, mainly that one guy with the sunglasses (Itagaki) that you may be familiar with, that are in charge of defining the Dead or Alive franchise. So it's going to be up to him and other members of the team.
GR: What do you think are the advantages or pitfalls of working with Blu-ray?
YH: A disc is simply a medium we use to get our game to the consumer. We don't really think of it in terms of Blu-ray being a huge feature that's going to allow us to do all this new stuff. All it means is that we no longer have to worry about running out of space.