Can The Naruto Series Be Competitive And Fun?
As of recent the president of CyberConnect 2, Hiroshi Matsuyama has been trying to push their latest Naruto video game into the largest world-known yearly tournament event, EVO (According to Siliconera). With that goal in mind, Matsuyama has been going around asking veteran developers such as Capcom and SNK for sound advice on how to redefine the game to meet the criteria to pass as a competitive fighter, but at the same time not abandoning its roots that has pushed the Ultimate Ninja Storm series into what it is today. Today we’re going to give our thoughts on his goal including the 2DNinjas movement as well as Hiroshi’s other projects.
For a video game to be recognized by popular competitive events such as EVO, they must meet criteria which are having both a large fan-base and deep gameplay. The latest installment of the Ultimate Ninja Storm series sold over 1 Million copies worldwide which shows growth in sales compared to the previous installments along a growing fan-base with every title release. Even with the series’ growing popularity, it lacks the second and most important criteria to be acknowledged into EVO. The Ultimate Ninja Storm series, like many Anime games attempts to recreate an experience similar of the show to cater to the fans and casual gamers but at the cost of sacrificing in-depth gameplay and the competitiveness that attracts hardcore gamers.
There are plenty of Anime games that were balanced enough to invite casuals into the game as well as keeping the competitive-edge to please hardcore gamers. Some honorable mentions are the original Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure game by Capcom, the Dragon Ball Z: Budokai series by Dimps, the Clash of Ninja series (or known as Gekitou Ninja Taisen in Japan) by Takara Tomy and both Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure: All Star Battle and the original Ultimate Ninja series by CyberConnect 2 themselves.
Back in New York Comic Con 2012, an interview happened between Matsuyama and the leader of the 2D Ninjas, Rockmankb. During the interview, Rockman presented how passionate the fans were over the original UN games with tournaments hosted by fans all over the world, showing as well how in-depth the gameplay was and the potential for it to be a competitive fighter, something Matsuyama himself wasn’t aware of.
However, during the interview it was stated that the Storm series has always been more popular than the original UN series, making Matsuyama reluctant to revive the UN series, as well as being hesitant to re-release the original UN series with high resolution graphics with the addition of online compatibility to see how passionate the fans are about the series. Returning to a less profitable series can be risky, but with Matsuyama’s goal, it’s a risk they should take.
CyberConnect2 is capable of making a fighting game with the competitive-edge that hardcore gamers search for; this was proven with Jojo’s Bizzare Adventure: All Star Battle. However, the problem with Jojo is that it lacked what Naruto has, which is a large fan-base overseas for it to be deemed into large competitive events such as EVO. That being said, CyberConnect2 has met one criterion out of two with two different games, giving them the potential to truly achieve this goal by following these options.
The first option should be to start over with a new Naruto 2.5D series, implementing aspects from both the original Ultimate Ninja series as well as Jojo All Star Battle that makes the game both easy for the casuals to enjoy and relate to the series and give hardcore gamers something worth to mastering. Additionally, they can also take a look at Clash of Ninja, which had more in-depth gameplay and it was considered to have more potential to be a competitive fighter if polished. They can also get the same help they got from veteran developers into developing this game.
The second option is polishing what they already have and revive the original Ultimate Ninja series, as players have proven it can be a competitive game, not to mention that they already would have a fan-base, especially with the 2DNinjas movement to push it forward and makes Hiroshi’s goal more attainable.
At the current state of the Storm series, even if polished to be more balanced and have more depth, it would never reach what it needs to be at least a passable fighting game. The combat is simple enough to get casuals playing the game but it fails to be deep enough to keep hardcore gamers to keep playing and it easily can get boring. So if Hiroshi Matsuyama really wants Naruto to be on EVO, he should take the gamble of returning the Naruto series into a 2.5D fighter.
So what are your thoughts? Leave your comments below!