For those of you that don't know, in many interviews former Head of Team Ninja Tomonobu Itagaki has mentioned that a deal between Tecmo and Microsoft has been struck.
The deal involved releasing 5 exclusive titles throughout the life span of the 360. All 5 titles were to be developed by Team Ninja.
The titles mentioned were DOA 4, DOA Extreme 2, DOA Code Chronos, Project Progressive, And a secret title (which was later revealed to be Ninja Gaiden 2). We know that 3 out of the 5 titles have already been released; we also know that all 3 were released annually from 2006; in addition, we know for a fact that in a second interview with Tomonobu Itagaki, he mentioned that all the remaining titles that are set to be released exclusively for the 360 are all in development.
Not only that, but he actually mentioned that they have been in development for quite some time. If that is any indication, not only are there 2 remaining titles to be released exclusively for the 360, but we will probably be seeing them very very soon!
And if anyone has doubts regarding the level of polish of the 2 remaining titles, know this, Tomonobu itagaki left Tecmo half way through 2008. By that time, Ninja Gaiden 2 was done, and the remaining titles had already been in development for 3 years.
Meaning, most of the work had been done in the presence of Itagaki himself. So do you actually think that the remaining part of the development can't be completed and polished to perfection by the team that worked with him for the last 7 years?!
Some might oppose my predictions by mentioning that Tecmo has been having some financial troubles lately; and that they would probably go the multiplatform way to boost profit for the company. Some might even mention that with the absence of Itagaki, the deal no longer stands. And some might even claim that Tecmo will no longer support Microsoft in the absence of Itagaki.
All i have to say is this, Microsoft did not make the deal with Team Ninja but with its owner, Tecmo. Therefore, neither will the deal end with Itagaki's departure, nor will Tecmo's support for Microsoft diminish; and after the official approval of Tecmo's merger with Koei in January 2009, there financial status seems much better than it did 5 months ago.
In addition, Tecmo is making Quantum Theory as a PS3 exclusive. So apparently, there financial problems aren't big enough to prevent them from continuing to make exclusives; and if that's the case, then the exclusive deal with Microsoft probably still stands.
And given the fact that the remaining titles have already been in development for over 3 years for the 360, and that porting it now to the PS3 would require a major investment of both time and money, not to mention setting up a whole team for the PS3 port which will probably despite efforts be filled with technical issues, the titles will most probably stay as 360 exclusives.
I would also like to add that Tecmo was probably the first Japanese developer to embrace the original xbox. It was also the strongest supporter from Japan for quite some time. So to claim that Tecmo's support for Microsoft is beginning to diminish does not make sense.
Especially when major Japanese developers, such as Square-Enix and Capcom, are now embracing the 360 and even prefering it over the PS3 by providing it with exclusive titles and DLCs. So do you actually think that Tecmo does not see what the other Japanese developers see in Microsoft's console and its potential for sales? why do you think Tecmo embraced the original xbox in the first place?
Now since we cleared all that out of the way, i'd like to give you a quick overview on what is expected of the remaining 2 titles based on interviews and articles related to the subject.
Dead Or Alive: Code Chronos will be a prequel to the dead or alive series. It will relay the story of characters Ayane and Kasumi before the first tournament. That is all that is known. But what is obvious, is that it probably won't be a another DOA title. Hopefully, it will bring something new to the table.
Project Progressive is what people need to get excited about. And the reason is this, it is a new action adventure title from Team Ninja, crafted by Itagaki himself! Apparently, it is supposed to take action games to the next level. All i can say is this, just remember the intensity of the Ninja Gaiden combat system; and then remember how Ninja Gaiden 2 took it to a whole new level.
Make no mistake, Project Progressive has the potential to be the next step in the evolution of action games and to become a major smash hit in 2009. From what i gathered, Itagaki mentions, in several interviews, that Project Progressive resembles Ninja Gaiden's intensity; but differs in story and gameplay.
In other words, Itagaki wants this title to take the action adventure genre in a new direction and to new heights at the same time. And if anyone can pull that of, its Itagaki. According to all the research, he is already done with over 80% of the work on the title!
The remaining work to be done can easily be completed by the current members of Team Ninja. And no matter how you slice the information presented here, one thing is certain, we are only months away from a major announcement from Team Ninja regarding there next 360 title; and that could be exactly what Microsoft needs to change the tides of expectations in 2009.
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