Exclusive: Naruto Clash of Ninja Revolution 2 Interview
We were not allowed to post the mp3 file of the conference, so I transcribed it so everyone can see what went on. The call went on for 37 minutes.
Rannie Yoo (hostess): Can you give us a quick overview of Naruto Clash of Ninja Revolution 2?
Glenn Stotz (TOMY corporations product specialist): It’s a sequel to our game that came out last year. What’s really exciting about this one is that we’re taking a whole new original approach to a lot of content that’s in the game, so it’s gonna feature an all new original story that features many of the main stages from the television series but brings in a lot of new characters as well as incorporating new stages, brand new gameplay features, and a handful of new gameplay modes, on top of the tried and true fighting game that we refined for Revolution 2.
Yoo: The biggest question I think everyone has out there is hints about any new characters that will be in the game for the first time.
Stotz: The roster is really important for us. In this title we have four original characters that we’ve created just for the game. We also have three characters new to the Clash of Ninja series, two of which we believe have never been in any prior Naruto game.
Yoo: We’re going to go ahead and ask questions from saiyanisland.com. “What gameplay modes will be available in the game?
Stotz: We have all the gameplay modes that were available in Revolution, like Time Attack, Score Attack, Survival, Team Survival, and we’ve also got a new mode called Kumite Mode. This is sort of a play on of Survival Mode. We of course have Vs. mode which is sort of the bread-and-butter of the Clash of Ninja series. You can play this mode with four fighters. This is the only Naruto fighting game to support 4-players. You can play any way you like, 2 on 2, 4 player free for all, 3 on 1. We also have a couple of other modes we plan on revealing a little later.
Yoo: “What is the premise to the new storyline D3 and Tomy are offering players in the game?”
Stotz: We will have a brand-new completely original storyline that features new characters. I can’t go into too much of the content as far as the premise. It was worked in collaboration with the team that actually approves the original story, so it’s very close to the actual television show. It happens within the Naruto universe, of course, and it features a lot of the main stages from the show, of course introducing new characters.
Yoo: “Will the cinematic sequences be used to progress the Story Mode?”
Stotz: Yes, whereas last year in Revolution we had the stagnant 2-D cut-outs of the characters in between scenarios in the Story Mode. Now we have fully rendered cinematic sequences where characters can actually interact with another and talk and cry and do other things.
Yoo: “Can you tell us a little more about the audio of the game? Will the soundtrack be similar to the first Clash of Ninja Revolution, or will it be totally new? And will the game include voices from both English and Japanese actors from the Naruto anime?
Stotz: We aren’t going to have the Japanese voice actors in this game because all of our content is essentially original. The story is original, all the characters feature the American voices, and there are the brand new characters that have never even been in Japan before, so there is no involvement with the Japanese voice actors at all in this title. It’s all brand new stuff done by the American team. On the subject of the soundtrack of the Clash of Ninja Revolution series, each stage has always had it’s own original song or soundtrack. Since we’ve doubled the amount of stages all of the new stages will have their certain soundtrack, and all of the returning stages will have the same songs that they had in Revolution. We’ll also have new introductory music, and in-game music, as well as menu music.
Yoo: “Making hand signs mid-battle with the Wii Remotes sounds very interesting. Could you please elaborate on how the hand signs are made? Will players be physically moving their hands, for example to do the Tiger Seal position, you first have to cast Fireball Jutsu, or is the process a little different?”
Stotz: The hand sign system works like this. If you’re playing with the Wii Remote with the Nunchuk attached, you have two buttons on the Nunchuk, C and Z. If you hold both of them down, you will go into a stance. It leaves you completely vulnerable, but it gives you the opportunity to move the Wii Remote in a few different series of directions that gives your character a temporary boost. For instance, all the characters can do a Chakra Boost which increases the amount of Chakra they have by a little bit. All the characters can do the attack power boost which increases how much damage they do for a short amount of time. Other characters can do others hand signs to do their transformations, like Sasuke activating his Sharingan. The players will just move the Wii Remote around while holding down C and Z.
Yoo: “How long has Clash of Ninja Revolution 2 been in development, and how different is it making an orignal Naruto game as opposed to making a game based on another franchise?”
Stotz: Revolution 2 has been in the works for a year now. It’s a lot different from prior Naruto games because of all the original content. Everything has to be approved, of course, by the team in Japan that owns the series. While it is a LOT more work to get everything approved, it ends up making the title a lot closer to the series and a lot truer to Naruto universe in the end.
Yoo: Now we’ll go into questions from gamezone.com. “As a Wii exclusive, Clash of Ninja Revolution 2 will have the famous, sometimes infamous motion controls. Tell us about these, how they work, what they allow the players to do, etc.”
Stotz: Like in Revolution, a shake of the Wii Remote sort of functions as a button, as a weak attack. What’s more, when in a cinematic jutsu sequence, you can follow the on-screen commands and do the gestures in order to make the jutsu do a little more damage to your opponent. We’ve also incorporated a couple new gameplay mechanics that take advantage of the Wii Remote’s motion controls, like the hand signs, which you’ll do in battle by actually moving the Wii remote around. There’s also another gameplay feature which we haven’t revealed yet which we will reveal later, but it does incorporate the motion controls of the Wii remote.
Yoo: “Do you play with the Wii Remote and Nunchuk, or just the Wii Remote?”
Stotz: You can play this game however you like. You can play with just the Wii Remote on it’s side, you can play with it with the Nunchuk, you can play with the Classic controller, or the Gamecube controller as well.
Yoo: “How will the Wii Remote controls differ from those with the gamecube or classic controller?
Stotz: If you’re playing with the Wii Remote, you’re obviously going to be moving around, but with the gamecube and classic controllers, you’re not going to be able to do the on-screen gestures with the jutsu, or the new gameplay elements, such as the hand signs you won’t be able to execute.
Yoo: “What are the never before seen game modes? Are they never before seen in a Naruto game, or brand new to the genre?”
Stotz: I can’t reveal what exactly the game modes are, but they are brand new to the Clash of Ninja series.
Yoo: “Clash of Ninja Revolution 2 will feature full widescreen support, and run in 480p. Does this mean we won’t see thin black bars on the sides of the screen, regardless of the type of HDTV we have?” I believe he asked this because he’s played several Wii games that were widescreen, but had half-inch or quarter-inch black bars on the sides of the screen.
Stotz: As far as we know it’s widescreen. It’s as widescreen as can be. Of course, there are different TVs and different settings, so we can’t make up for all the diversity and televisions out there. But we have seen the game run on HD TV’s without the black bars on the side.
Yoo: Clash of Ninja Revolution 2 is being touted as the only four-player fighting game in the Naruto series. In a game like Smash Brothers, this creates a mishmash of button-mashing goodness. But what kind of experience will be derived from Clash of Ninja Revolution 2?
Stotz: I think there’s a lot of depth to the game, a lot of depth that people don’t realize. There’s a lot of different technical expertise that you can undertake in the game. A person might be good in a one-on-one match, but when they get in a four-player like free-for-all match, it becomes a whole different ballgame. What I think is really fun about Revolution 2 and the Clash of the Ninja series in general is that there’s really a whole host of different experiences you can have within just one game.
Yoo: “As one of the key features forwarded to the press, it says, ‘Brand-new storyline specifically created for North American audience. The story will expand on episodes of the popular television series.’ This sounds good on paper, but it seems to be the norm for all anime games. In what ways, if any is Clash of Ninja Revolution 2 different?”
Stotz: I think Revolution 2’s original story is really exciting because it’s not like nothing that happens in our story matters to the main characters. The characters that you’ll meet, the original characters, and enemies and such, actually go into the history of some of the main stages of the show, which is really exciting for us. They actually have a unique way that they have affected how the characters have come out and become the characters that we know and love now.
Yoo: Now we’ll go into questions submitted from animenewsnetwork.com “Can you tell us how the storyline of the game expands? Does each characters have his or her own storyline?”
Stotz: The characters don’t have their own storyline. It progresses linearly and you get assigned to play as characters however the story progresses. The storyline of the game expands on the tv series, because obviously it incorporates all of the characters from the tv show, but of course, they are in these new situations and facing new enemies. It really involves a lot of the thematic elements that appear on the tv series as well.
Yoo: “Can you tell us about the fighters design just for the game? How do they fit into the Naruto world, and what sort of fighting styles do they have?”
Stotz: I can’t tell you too much about the fighters that have just been designed for the game, as far as the original characters. I can go into some of the characters that we showed off at Anime Expo. We did have Asuma, Kurenai, Choji, Kiba, Anko, Ultimate Nine-Tailed Naruto, and Sasuke’s 2nd State. As you know these characters are very varied. Choji is a big heavy-hitter, and he can roll around the screen like a big, tubby ball. It goes from that to someone as different as Asuma, who is sort of quick, and has a lot of attack power, but he’s got those blades on his hands, and as you can imagine, he can spin around with them. Kurenai is really fun to develop for our series too, because she uses the ginjutsu, so her jutsu is really unique, and they are sort of tricky.
Yoo: “Naruto Shippuuden characters were reportedly removed from the last Clash of Ninja Revolution game, presumably because the Shippuuden series hasn’t aired in america yet. Will Revolution 2 have Shippuuden characters?”
Stotz: I think there’s a little confusion with Revolution. There was nothing really removed from Revolution. It’s really a game in itself that was created in North America. There wasn’t anything removed from it, per se. I think they were thinking that it was a port of EX where they had characters removed. For this game, nothing has been removed because so much of it is original and unique, and we’re really building so much from the gorund up that nothing can be removed because it’s our own game. As far as having Shippuuden characters in the game, we have to follow very strictly to what has happened in the American television broadcast, so there will not be Shippuuden characters featured in the game.
Yoo: “How do you think this game stands out from other Naruto fighters.”
Stotz: Like I said before, it’s a 4-player fighting game. What I’m really liking about the game personally is it’s so easy to get into, and it sort of encapsulates the feeling of the Wii, so it’s really fun to get in front of the screen with three of your friends, and shake the Wii remote like crazy, do your hand signs, and just beat each other up. There’s so much depth to this game like guarded attacks, aerials, throws, etc. that it really stands out as a really strong fighting game.
Yoo: And we’re gonna go into questions submitted by mpog.com (?) “Can you talk about the multiplayer modes of the game, and if it’s local play only, or there will be online play as well?”
Stotz: Mulitplayer is strictly local play, there is no online play.
Yoo: In regards to the last game, one of the most immersive aspects, was being able to knock an opponent off the stage, following that up mid-fight with an extra attack, or plan ahead for when they landed. Will this mechanic still be in the game, and if so, has it been expanded upon in any way.
Stotz: The mechanic is still in the game, but it has not been expanded on.
Yoo: “The game features a completely new story that is unique to the game. Can you talk about the story in regards to what it is going to be about, where along in the timeline does it fall, for example, after Tsunade becomes Hokage? Is the story told throguh cutscenes, and will it feature new voice work from the actors?
Stotz: Like I said before, the story is told through a commadation of things, but mostly through the new 3D cinematic rendered sequences. I can’t talk too much about the content of the actual story in regards to what it is about, but in regards to the timeline, it is after Tsunade becomes Hokage, but before her face is added to the mountain. Essentially it’s when Sasuke has left the Village. Yes, all of the voicework is brand new, from the story mode to the menus.
Yoo: Next is questions submitted by gamevortex.com “What are the changes between gameplay modes between this title and the first Revolution? What modes have been taken out, what modes have been added?”
Stotz: None of the modes have been taken out. There is all of the modes that appeared in Revolution, there is also the new Kumite mode I mentioned which s=is a new variation of Survival Mode, and there’s a couple of new modes that we’re adding that we haven’t quite revealed yet.
Yoo: “Do the fights from the Story Mode still require special win conditions, like beating your opponent with a particular move?”
Stotz: I can’t say specifically to which scenario, but there are a lot of different variation in how you’re going to have to beat the different story scenarios.
Yoo: “Are there any changes to the control scheme? Have any steps been made to make the scheme involving both the Wii Remote and Nunchuk tighter?”
Stotz: No the Wii Remote and Nunchuk control scheme has stayed the same.
Yoo: “Does Clash of Ninja Revolution 2 learn anything from the other Naruto fighting games that have been coming out? How much communication goes on between various development teams who make games from the same license?
Stotz: There is absolutely zero communication, we focus solely on making our game a great product. We learn a lot from our previous titles in that we try to take a lot away from our fans, whether that’s through emails they’ve sent to us, or the forums that we visit. We’ve got a lot of new options, and a lot of new tweaks to the builds that have had to do with how tournament players feel the gameplay is, and a lot of the new gameplay features are fun and friendly for Naruto fans. So, we do learn a lot from our previous games. We don’t have any communication with the character development team. We guard our information very much.
Yoo: These are the questions from /nintendojo.com “For those unfamiliar or the fighting game franchise, what does Clash of Ninja Revolution 2 bring to the table to entice gamers?”
Stotz: Well, for gamers in particular, we’ve talked to a variety of tournament players who take the game very seriously, and like the play competitively, and so we’ve added a bunch of tweaks to the gameplay, we’ve added different options where they can turn on or off random stage transitions, or the breakable objects, so we feel like with all the new gameplay modes, and with the tried and true Clash of Ninja fighting engine being refined as much as it has been, gamers are going to find this to be a really fun fighter in addition to being a Naruto game.
Yoo: “A main complaint from the previous title relates to cryptic goals to complete in fights. Has this issue been addressed?”
Stotz: I know that some of the goals were very difficult in the previous title, and there will be different difficulty settings that you can choose, but I can’t speak to how difficult they might be for some people.
Yoo: “Why was online not implemented in some form?”
Stotz: We chose to invest all of our efforts into refining the system, and adding a ton of more content, whereas online- because the game is so split-second and relies so much on the quickness and the pace of the fight it was really gonna be hard to nail down, whereas adding in so much more content, we thought was a better route.
Yoo: “Does the game use a new graphic engine, or is it the same as previous ones?”
Stotz: It’s the same graphic engine, but as mentioned before, it runs on 480p, and it does support widescreen.
Yoo: Okay, now we’re going to get to questions from the forums at wiinintendo.net “I heard that this game had 4 different control options, which one do you think hardcore Naruto fans will enjoy the most?”
Stotz: I think Naruto fans will like the Wii Remote and Nunchuk. I’m a Naruto fan and that’s the one I use. It’s really fun getting in front of the tv with a bunch of friends and just being knuckleheads and shaking the remote around and beating each other up, and I think with the new gameplay features like the handsigns, it’s really dynamic. It never stops, it’s really fast paced, and a whole lot of fun. Of course, you can play with all of the control schemes and still have lots of fun. But Naruto fans, definitely Wii remote and nunchuk.
Yoo: We already asked the question about the Japanese voice acting. “What specifically did you change to make this aim even more towards American audiences?”
Stotz: This title specifically was conceptualized by our American team, and we really wanted to do something that was gonna wow the American audience. We essentially thought of a story that we thought would be really cool for us to see on tv. So there are elements and things in the game that really speak to that.
Yoo: “Are Sasuke, Gaara and Orochimaru going to playable characters, and is there going to be a story mode, or is it straight fighting?”
Stotz: Those three characters are going to be in the game, and the game is going to have a story mode.
Yoo: “Will players to play the previous game to understand the storyline of the single-player?”
Stotz: Absolutely not.
Yoo: That was the end of all our submitted questions. Now anyone here can ask you live questions.
Lewis Beddegon from Gamezone: I wanted a clarification on the differences between the Wii remote control, and the Wii remote and nunchuk. Is it more expansive with the Nunchuk?
Stotz: When you’re using the Wii Remote by itself, it’s on it’s side, you don’t shake it, and it doesn’t rely on the motion controls of the Wii Remote. So, only when you’re plugged in with the Nunchuk is when you’re going to be using the motion controls.
Lewis: Does the Nunchuk have any motion-esque to it?
Stotz: Yes, you can deflect Kunai by shaking the Nunchuk.
Charmy from Wiinintendo.net: I have one. Why should I buy your game?
Stotz: -laughs- I think what’s really cool about this game in talking about just games in general, is that there is sort of a heart in making this a great and fun game. We know that it’s a Naruto game, and if we wanted to make this a game that was just going to cash in on the Naruto license, we could have just dumped, “All the characters. There, done. But I made the game super boring.” What I think is really unique about this title is that we tried to come up with a really cool storyline which is honestly really super cool, and brand new stages, and everything down to how the menus look and the soundtracks for some stages. That’s really gonna wow a lot of people, and give them a lot of unexpected content.
Chris from Gamevortex: I have a question. The new mode, what was it called?
Stotz: It’s Kumite mode. Kumite means ‘sparring’ in Japanese. It’s spelled K-U-M-I-T-E.
Eric from staticmultimedia: Are there any fighter customizable options, either cosmetic or even game affecting?
Stotz: There are no game affecting customizability options, however like previous titles, we have the alternate colors for the outfits.
That’s it! Believe it or not, this took me 4 hours and 20 minutes of non-stop work to type out, so it’s great to finally get it out there. Like I told Mickey in my application for the job, I’m very commited. 😀 I just wanted to say what a great opportunity this has been for me to experience, and I hope that everyone had fun reading. I believe the game comes out October 23rd.