The new "Hero Mode" will allow players to tone down Ninja Gaiden's notorious difficulty level.
"Accessible" isn't a word normally associated with the Ninja Gaiden series, but that could be about to change. Developer Team Ninja has decided to add an optional, slightly easier "Hero Mode" to upcoming release Ninja Gaiden 3 in the hope that it will allow players to fully experience the story without dying quite as often as they did in previous instalments.
Speaking to Joystiq, project director Yumihiko Yasuda revealed that "Hero Mode," which will feature automated blocking and dodging moves, has been created with a view allowing more players to complete the full game. "We really wanted to flesh out the story this time around," said Yasuda, "so we wanted people to enjoy that story and get used to the game as it is. In the past the games were really hardcore and we couldn't get players to stay with us and complete the game."
Yasuda also added that the game will explore protagonist Ryu Hyabusa's character more than previous titles. "He's a human like all of us," said Yasuda. "To leave that aspect out doesn't make sense. We wanted to show that human under the mask. Who is this guy, why he does things."
Hardcore fans need not worry, though; Ninja Gaiden 3 will still have the capacity to do very bad things to your controller if that's your thing. "We've got the super hard difficulty mode," said Yasuda. "We're keeping the hardcore aspect of the game anyway, we're just trying to get the players who have never had a go at Ninja Gaiden to come check it out."
As these screens show, Ninja Gaiden 3 hasn't toned down its gore; "Hero Mode" just means that you'll be able to see more of it without the frustration of the franchise's habitual insta-death routines. Plus you'll be able to tell people that you actually beat a Ninja Gaiden game (even if you have to cough the words "Hero Mode" after). It's worth bearing mind though that Team Ninja seemed to think Ninja Gaiden 2 was "easy," so whether or not "Hero Mode" will obey the usual definition of that word remains to be seen.