Team Ninja’s upcoming action RPG Nioh has already drawn numerous comparisons to the Souls franchise (Both Dark and Demon), and this demon slaying adventure hasn’t even release yet. You’d be forgiven if you had forgotten that Team Ninja dominated the insanely difficult niche market before anyone had kindled a bonfire when it revived the classic Ninja Gaiden franchise. Now, as Nioh goes gold and approaches its February release, it seems that Ryu Hayabusa is not quite as dead as we thought he was.
Team Ninja revived the classic Nintendo game back in 2004 with the stellar Ninja Gaiden on the Xbox, following it up with two enjoyable enhanced editions. Following releases showed a substantial drop in quality until finally reaching a series low point in 2014 with Yaiba: Ninja Gaiden Z. It was believed that a string of sub par sequels finally did what what ninjas, demons, and frustratingly placed birds could not, finally kill this decades old franchise, but Team Ninja’s Creative Director Tom Lee seems to be hopeful.
“Maybe I can say can say that Nioh is a gateway into the next chapter for Ninja Gaiden,” said Lee in an interview with US Gamer. “[Ninja Gaiden] is a very important, if not the most important franchise, for us, but at this point I think this franchise needs to be in the shadows for a while until we bring it back. There will be a time, and when the time is right, we will bring it back.”
While the uncertain time frame can be disheartening, the passion Lee showed for the franchise should be a relief for fans of the series. While Nioh takes its cues from the Souls series and Dynasty Warriors, its setting of a demon infested Japan at the beginning of the Edo period certainly brings to mind Ryu’s sword swinging, shuriken tossing antics.