Yosuke Hayashi, head of the post-Tomonobu Itagaki Team Ninja, says the studio's prurient days are behind it. The upcoming Ninja Gaiden 3 and Dead or Alive 5 continue two series long known for bloody violence and Russ Meyer-esque levels of playful sexism – but Hayashi says players expecting the titles to bring the same “cheap thrills” of their predecessors are in for a surprise.
“It was very obvious,” Hayashi tells Gamasutra, that Team Ninja's output was known for “two primary elements: sex and violence.” With the new Ninja Gaiden, for instance, the director “wanted to give meaning to violence,” he says. “Why does this happen? We want to link emotion to violence.” The new Ninja Gaiden looks to take a more character-based approach to series hero Ryu Hayabusa, and Hayashi says the team aims to produce “a game that is for mature audiences, that can make adults think.”
Similarly, Hayashi says Dead or Alive has traditionally been known for its Sports Illustrated-style presentation of women, “like a magazine for high school kids, with women portrayed in that sense. But that's not what we want.” He says the new game aims to “show something that's more high class,” saying he wants players to look at any given heroine and “be impressed with her as a woman, not just as a pin-up.” Here's some new shots of the game: if these don't do it for you in the same way earlier iterations have, just remember you'll always have Soulcalibur.