Team Ninja: How Ninja Gaiden and Nioh connect to Rise of the Ronin

May 23, 2024
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Many of you who have already played Rise of the Ronin may have noticed some elements of our previous works such as Ninja Gaiden and Nioh from Team Ninja. Today we’re excited to share some of the behind-the-scenes development stories for the first time. Plus we share details on an upcoming game update.

Ninja Gaiden connections

The Iga-Ninja Armor is one of Rise of the Ronin’s connections with Ninja Gaiden, an action game from Team Ninja.

From a very early development stage, we have discussed with PlayStation Studio’s XDEV team our desire to include costumes from the Ninja Gaiden series. When considering which costumes and weapons to implement, we’ve agreed on the costume of the main character, Ryu Hayabusa, as an iconic and recognizable costume for an in-game armor design.

Historically, ninjas are said to have existed during the Bakumatsu period (late 19th century), which is the setting for Rise of the Ronin so there is a high degree of affinity with the worldview of these titles.

One of the combat styles, Hayabusa-ryu, was initially implemented at the same speed as in the original, but the attacks were so fast and extremely powerful that we struggled to adjust them to match the game speed of this new version for Rise of the Ronin. 

In addition to Hayabusa’s iconic moves, such as the Izuna Drop, we also incorporated as many of Ninja Gaiden’s techniques as possible, such as his Ultimate Technique. 

Rise of the Ronin marks the first appearance of Ninja Gaiden-related content on PS5, so re-creating these features in high-resolution 4K format was a challenge. The distinctive costumes of the Hayabusa-ryu ninja, such as the raptor-inspired headgear and sleeveless armor, were newly designed with the image of reconstructing them with weapons and materials from the end of the Edo period. We believe that this fits seamlessly into the worldview of this game and hope that our fans of the series will enjoy these references.

Nioh series connections

As it has been nearly two months since the release of Rise of the Ronin, let me give you a bit of a spoiler, that William, the main character of Nioh, appears as a hidden boss in this game. We decided to have him appear early in the planning stage, as we thought it would be a pleasant surprise for those who have played the Nioh series.

As the game is set in the late Edo period when Japanese and Western cultures started mixing, and many Westerners such as Commodore Matthew Perry appear, so I believe the appearance of William wearing armor was implemented in a way that didn’t feel out of place.

Regarding the combat style Nioh-ryu, we initially had an idea of making the three stances that are characteristic to the series, upper, middle, and lower, into independent styles, but since the controls would have been too complicated, and because we felt that Nioh really is about fighting while switching between the three stances in real time, we implemented it as one style that encompasses the three stances. Nioh has a large number of techniques, so we had a hard time deciding which techniques to include.

The armor he is wearing is based on the Obsidian Armor that appeared in the Nioh series, and incorporates distressed design that evokes the passage of time from the Nioh era to the end of the Edo period.

The effect of the Blade Flash in Rise of the Ronin is the Ki Pulse in Nioh. Flux can also be used, and by holding down the martial arts input, you can perform the martial arts move directly from any stance without changing stances. It’s a difficult style to master, but we think it’s been incorporated into the action in a Team Ninja style, so we hope you’ll give it a try.

Other than William’s appearance, just like Ninja Gaiden, Nioh is not influenced by the story, so even those who have never played Nioh will be able to enjoy the world of Rise of the Ronin purely.

Looking back on the start of this project, Rise of the Ronin had been in development for more than seven years. The game takes on many new challenges and pursues the kind of action and worldview that is characteristic of Team Ninja, and as we explained in this article, we believe that the game is packed with elements that will please fans from previous titles. I hope this article will help you better enjoy the game’s world even more.

Additionally, we’ll be releasing a new update later this week.

New and expanded content

  • 5 new Ally Missions added.
  • When replaying a world in Midnight, you can choose to have Public Order deteriorate again.
  • Level sync selection feature added to missions from Testament of the Soul.
  • Two new Set Bonuses added to Midnight difficulty.
  • Addition of dojo training partners.
  • Add Martial Skill type bonus and raise limit of target score.

Gameplay Improvements

  • When equipped with the same weapon type on weapons 1 and 2, the number of styles can be expanded to a maximum of 6.
  • Changed the specifications so that special equipment will be given even if the player does not confess.
  • Changed the specifications so that greetings with characters after a breakup will return to normal over time.
  • Adjusted to make it easier for asynchronous characters to be selected.

Thank you for continuously supporting Rise of the Ronin!

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