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May 2, 2005

TENCHU FATAL SHADOWS
MASANORI KUWASASHI INTERVIEW

Masanori Kuwasashi Talks About Tenchu Fatal Shadows


The Tenchu series has earned a reputation over the years as one of the better stealth titles and the fanbase for the series is quite large. Tenchu: Fatal Shadows is the latest game in the series and as well as a new publisher in Sega (to be distributed in Australia by THQ Australia) the developers, K2, are also fairly new to the PS2 with only the previous Tenchu title, Tenchu: Wrath of Heaven to their credit. This new game looks nice visually and Masanori Kuwasashi, the supervisor on this latest title, has answered a short Q&A about the game.

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Hiding around the corner.
Hello. First of all, tell us about you – who are you and what has been your involvement with Tenchu: Fatal Shadows?
I’m Masanori Kuwasashi, the main planner of Tenchu. I’m in charge of the supervising the planning of the game and also creating the movies for the narration.

Tenchu is now a legendary game, helping define the stealth-based action genre. But there are lots of stealth-based games out there now – what will Tenchu: Fatal Shadows bring to the table in order to retain its crown?
K2 overtook the development of Tenchu Series from Tenchu 3. The biggest challenge for us while we developed Tenchu 3 PS2 and Xbox was strengthen Tenchu by adding the new playabilities without spoiling the pre-existing advantage of Tenchu.

Whilst in Tenchu: Fatal Shadows, we focused on evaluating the new playabilities we added in last 2 series and improving the basic features through the all Tenchu series. In particular we focused on improving the map and mission for the players to play the game repeatedly and the reinforcement of the Stealth Kills.

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A cut scene.
What are some of the coolest new things in Fatal Shadows that we haven’t seen before in the Tenchu series?
“Multiple Stealth Kills” which we’ve already mentioned in question 2). This is the system which player can kill multiple enemies in one action only in certain condition. To include “Multiple Stealth Kills” to the normal Stealth Kills in your strategy, the play style diverse. We wish players will enjoy this new strategy and the beautiful skills of the two heroines.

How has the technology behind the game improved over previous versions?
We raised the disposal capacity by using the controlling system for the lithography and defragging the capacity of the graphic data and the game can shows larger numbers of the enemies than Tenchu 3. We re-evaluated the basic system of the AI for the enemies and they become more flagitious and sly. We also revised the normal battle system when the enemies are aware of the player and attack to player.

Ninjas, as everyone knows, are just about the coolest thing on two legs. This time we have two nimble ninjas to control. Who are they and, what’s their story?
The reason why Tenchu: Fatal Shadows doesn’t star “Rikimaru”, the hero from Tenchu 3 but girls Ninja, we want to have Ayame the heroine from Tenchu 3as one of the heroine of Fatal Shadows to broaden the world of Tenchu which have been established with the past titles. Not only using Ayame as a heroine, we want to have another heroine who can provide the different aspects and brand new heroine “Rin” appears in Fatal Shadow. The reason why we choose female as a new character is that we already created male hero called “Tesshu”. We create female heroine to bring new aspect to the world of Tenchu. However, the features of Tesshu as an “assassin”, which the users praised very much, were inherited in Rin. We don’t think we should explain Ayame. Rin, the brand new heroine is female ninja like Ayame. However, she looses all of her relatives in an incident and works as hired assassin. Rin meets Ayame in that incident as enemy but they built trusting relationship along with the story proceeds.

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Hiding behind the wall.
Presumably both ninjas will have different fighting styles. What are the differences between the two, and what can we expect in terms of the weapons and tools they will use throughout the game?
The distinct speciality in Ayame’s fighting style is high speed action as established in the past series. In contradiction to Ayame, Rin uses the beat'-em-up fighting style by using her body as the weapon.

Moreover, Ayame uses the traditional Ninja items mainly from the past series and new items added from Fatal Shadow. On the other hands, Rin can use the item to defeat the enemies as well as the useful item for the stealth as she has the feature of the assassin. Please use them effectively.

Seeing as there’s two of them, will we be seeing cooperative and/or competitive multiplayer gameplay?
We pass on to include the multiplayer gameplay this time. Instead we focus on adding the bonus features to enrich the replay value.

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Visually this game's quite ok.
Have you garnered any useful feedback from gamers and the gaming press after the release of the last game? If so, how have you put their feedback to use in Fatal Shadows?
Not only the review of whole game, we held research on the recognizability of the characters and the player’s opinion about the pro and con to the game system. The map reflected the player’s wish to have the latitude in the limited spaces as well as the width of the map that we found on the research. We also developed more sly and tricky AI for the enemies based on the research.

Sum up, in one sentence, what you think is the coolest thing about Fatal Shadows.
The coolest part is surely Stealth Kills. To deepen the gameplay we prepare the new “gimmick” to all Stealth Kills. Please look for it.

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The game is pretty brutal.
With so many stealth series out there, how does Tenchu’s ninjas hold up against the likes of Solid Snake and Sam Fisher?
We didn’t intended but the concept of using Ninja as the main characters stands out Tenchu from the other Stealth games. People find the fantasic and heroic image from Ninja, as Ninja is the mysterious character who is no longer exist in the present. Moreover, the items they use are unique and distinct from the other game as the setting of the game is the different era.

What would be the next step for the series do you think? Bring it into contemporary western environment perhaps?
Frankly, it is difficult to say about our next stop. We could reach to locate the game in the western environment but it seems to be difficult to make consistent with the story of the past series.


Sega's web site can be found at: http://www.sega.com/
You can see the Future Gamez preview of Tenchu: Fatal Shadows at that link.

I hope you enjoyed reading this interview which was reproduced with permission from THQ Australia. If you have any comments or questions e-mail us at : admin@futuregamez.net.