Naruto Ultimate Ninja Storm 3 lead reveals new characters, Dragonball Z DLC
Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 3 is more than just a long title that cramps my typing hand, it's also the latest entry in the fan-favorite fighting game series based on one of the most popular manga and anime franchises of all time. Obviously living up to the spirit of the beloved Naruto series is quite a task, though President Hiroshi Matsuyama of Japanese developers CyberConnect2 thinks that this upcoming fighter (published by Namco Bandai) will be a hit. I got a chance to talk with him at New York Comic Con 2012, and learned about the game's new (and returning) features, the exclusive Dragonball costume available at launch, and the chances of seeing a Naruto RPG.
Hiroshi Matsuyama - President of CyberConnect2
GameZone: What new features can fans expect in the game?
Matsuyama: Two things that fans can look forward to in Ultimate Storm 3 are, A, the really revised battle system, and B, the return of boss battles.
GameZone: Now were [[these additions]] based on fan input on previous games? Did you talk with fans about what they'd like to see?
Matsuyama: Yes, for both.
GameZone: Now obviously you're a big Naruto fan (gesturing to Matsuyama's Naruto costume). Have you been a fan of the series for a long time?
Matsuyama: I've been a fan since the first chapter of the manga.
GameZone: And how would you say your relationship to the series as a fan relates to your passion for this project?
Matsuyama: I think my passion is one of the leading reasons why I'm able to get positive feedback from the fans.
GameZone: Now how far up in the storyline does Ultimate Ninja Storm 3 cover? Is it current?
Matsuyama: The storyline starts 15 years ago during the Nine-tails attack on Konoha Village and continues on into the current episode.
GameZone: Are there some new characters in the game you think people will be excited to see?
Matsuyama: As you may be able to see in the playables upstairs on the demo floor, there are three new characters so far: Darui, Hanzo and Mifune. But there are more to come.
GameZone: Have you been able to go up to the booth and see fans playing it? If so, are you pleased with their reaction?
Matsuyama: I think everyone is really good up there!
GameZone: Better than you?
Matsuyama: Of course. I'm not very good with games. If everyone thinks that anyone on the production side is good at games, you are sorely mistaken!
GameZone: Do you work with the manga creators? Are they looking over your shoulder?
Matsuyama: We don't work directly with the author of the manga, but with the licensor, Shueisha. They make sure everything is okay with the Naruto standards.
GameZone: Is there ever anything you disagree on?
Matsuyama: Not really.
GameZone: Now the Naruto series seems to be wrapping up, building towards its climax. What are the plans for the future of the game series?
Matsuyama: We definitely plan on making Naruto games until the end of the series. But even though it seems like its reaching the climax, we're not actually sure when it's going to end. So we have no plans of what we're going to make after it, we're just thinking about what to make while it's still going.
GameZone: Now CyberConnect2 has a long history of RPG titles. Are there any plans for a full-fledged Naruto RPG? Is that something you'd be interested in making?
Matsuyama: I believe Naruto is a series that really focuses on ninja action. Therefore concentrating on the action is very vital to the heart of a Naruto game. But if fans really want to see a Naruto RPG then it's definitely something we'll consider.
GameZone: Is there anything else about the game you'd want fans to know about?
Matsuyama: Yes, we are finally able to tell you the release date. It will be released in March of 2013, and there will be a special "day one edition" where a costume of Son Goku from Dragonball Z is included for Naruto as downloadable content. So we strongly encourage fans to pre-order now.
GameZone: Are there any plans for future costume DLC? Any other Dragonball outfits?
Matsuyama: There are a lot of costumes planned, but for Dragonball, probably not.
Overall, some very exciting news for Naruto fans, and judging from reactions at the booth this game won't be a slouch. Not to mention that Matsuyama seems open to the idea of a Naruto RPG. Might be time to start up a fan campaign...