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September 11, 2007 // 1:35 pm - It's been nearly three and a half years since the Ninja Gaiden series made its triumphant return. Since then, the critically lauded Xbox remake was rereleased in 2005 with new content as Ninja Gaiden Black, and then graphically upgraded and further expanded for this year's PlayStation 3 port, Ninja Gaiden Sigma.

But while the resurgent adventures of shadow warrior Ryu Hayabusa have spawned an all-new DS game, Ninja Gaiden: Dragon Sword, many have been wondering when a true Ninja Gaiden sequel would arrive. Though he would not confirm a sequel outright, Team Ninja head Tomonobu Itagaki has declined to deny assertions in the gaming press that his shop is working on Ninja Gaiden 2.

Today, though the proof was in the pudding--blood pudding, to be more precise. An eagle-eyed poster on gaming-news bazaar/loosely controlled riot NeoGAF posted a series of screenshots he or she claimed to have taken from an official product page on the Japanese version of Though the page was, unsurprisingly, quickly pulled down, the authentic-looking screenshots show a far bloodier and gorier game than the ultraviolent original.

Embossed with the official Xbox 360 logo, the pictures show Hayabusa not only dispatching foes, but also dismembering and, in one case, beheading them. In one shot, the master ninja is seen lopping off a foe's arm in a cloud of arterial spray worthy of the teahouse massacre in Kill Bill or one of its Japanese filmic inspirations, such as the Lone Wolf and Cub series.

The official story: "At this time we are not commenting.--Microsoft rep. "Sorry, I can't comment on that."--Tecmo rep.

Bogus or not bogus?: Either not bogus--or an incredible job of fakery. So now that the question of "if" there will be a Ninja Gaiden is answered, gamers can now excitedly ask, "when?"

Rumor: Ninja Gaiden 2 unmasked?

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