Friday, December 7, 2007
Wii ninja game- diffrent game
Every day new games are coming with new new concept.
More than a year ago, game-development veteran David Luntz saw the Nintendo Wii, and he saw one of his dreams finally coming true.
He saw, at last, how he could make a game about being a ninja that was different from all the other ninja games out there. After all, the world already has "Ninja Gaiden," "Shinobi," "Tenchu," sequels to those games and plenty more. But his ninja game — the newly announced "Ninja Reflex" — would be different.
"Those games are, although awesome games, I felt that that road of 'Let's go around and kill people' had been fairly well explored," Luntz told MTV News in an interview last week. "My focus was less on the killing aspect of martial arts as on the path of skill."
Luntz wanted a game that emphasized the ninja traits of moving with undetectable speed, a test of reflexes beyond any first-person shooter, racing game or anything else that requires a gamer's finely honed ability to twitch. The Wii's motion control could do this, he thought, and time players down to the milliseconds.
The upcoming game, set for release in March, consists of six mini-games: nunchuck swinging, katana sword-fighting, shuriken-throwing, firefly-catching, fish-catching (by "hand") and ensnaring flies with chopsticks. Each involve just the Wii's remote controller (not, ironically, the secondary nunchuck) and can be played in multiplayer.
To catch flies, players point at the insects, squeeze buttons on the Wii remote (the A on top and the B underneath) and put them in little rice bowls. In multiplayer, they should only try to catch flies of their color. The shuriken-throwing has players locking on to targets and flicking the remote to toss the throwing stars. The nunchuck game requires players to swing the remote in a small, sideways figure-eight, snapping that swing when objects are thrown at them.
Luntz's idea for "Ninja Reflex" didn't come from some dry marketing meeting. He's had a longtime interest in martial arts and developed many of the concepts during a six-week trip last yea, during which he visited and, in some cases, studied with a range of practitioners, from Shaolin Monks in China to kyudo archers in Japan.
(Check out pictures from Luntz's inspirational trip here.)
The concept for the katana sword-fighting mini-game, for example, jelled when Luntz went to Kyoto, Japan. "I was in a bamboo forest and I had just come from Tokyo and been in a training center where they were practicing kendo. If you hear kendo in person, the practitioners, before they attack each other, let out a blood-curdling scream that pretty much paralyzes you, as best as I can tell. I saw them doing that and the next day I found myself in the middle of this bamboo forest. So I started getting this concept for a katana game of oni [Japanese demons] attacking you in the middle of a bamboo forest. And they let out these battle shouts that are very much like what a kendo-ist does. The metaphor for that game is overcoming your fears. ... You learn how to confront them and strike them down."
The fish-catching game came from Tokyo. In the game, the player needs to point the Wii remote at a pond of fish. The longer they can track the movement of a fish, the closer it gets to the surface for a split-second opportunity to grab it. Tracking big, slow fish is fairly easy. Catching small ones is tough. The fish that gamers will see in that part of "Ninja Reflex" are based on ones photographed by Luntz, who captured about 5GB of footage during his tour of Asia. "All the reference footage I took out of the Ninomaru garden at the Imperial Palace Garden in East Tokyo," he said. "The emperor has his koi there; they're stunning and spectacular and visually mesmerizing to watch."
Some of the things Luntz saw that didn't make "Ninja Reflex" might make it in a sequel, if he gets the chance. For instance, there was the Japanese archery, which he was invited to try in a class taught by someone he was told was the private instructor of the emperor: "It was thrilling and it was fun and it was unbelievably difficult. The bows are literally 6 feet tall, much taller than me, much taller than my wife. It takes a tremendous amount of strength to pull the bow back. And you shoot these tiny targets that are far away — they looked roughly a football field away. When the class started and people stepped up with the bows, I thought, 'They are never going to hit these.' The first guy went 'thwunk.' I just couldn't believe it.
Luntz's small publishing company, Nunchuck Games, which is basically him and his wife, is working with developers at Sanzaru Games. The game will be co-published by Nunchuck and Electronic Arts. He hooked up with EA, one of the biggest publishers out there, this year. EA liked it, Luntz said, because, "I showed them a concept, not just at the idea level but very far along, almost at beta. They understood the concept and thought that the general concept of martial arts and ninjas are cool, and it has stuff that you just haven't seen in a game before."
The mini-game-collection scene on the Wii is fairly crowded, including Wii pack-in game "Wii Sports" and the year's best-selling Wii game, "Wii Play," to say nothing of "Carnival Games," "EA Playground," "Mario Party 8" and several others. Luntz isn't worried because he thinks "Ninja Reflex" exhibits one of the best qualities of the best of those: "You can take any of the six mini-games in 'Ninja Reflex,' and they are complete in and of themselves. You can jump in and do something with fun and intensity and focus and then get out."
For all his interest in authentic martial arts, Luntz assures, naturally, that "Ninja Reflex" will not make its players a ninja. "It doesn't purport to be the substitute for learning a martial art. It's about having fun playing a game and getting exposed to the core ideas that underlie martial-arts training. Those ideas involve calm, effortless mastery and, maybe most important of all, a sense of humility.
"I trained a little with a guy in Hong Kong who is 80 and moves faster than a 16-year-old," Luntz said. "I've got an Olympic gold medal [winning] tae kwon do teacher a mile from my house. It doesn't matter who I talk to. They would say the same underlying theme about progress and training and mindset that I wanted to try to introduce people to." That underlying principle? "In general, I like the martial arts as a metaphor as a way to live: the concept in martial arts of your progress being a path," he said. "The belt you get in the end is just a piece of cloth and maybe a milestone for something, but in the end, you're always a student and you're always improving. The people who are the best in the world in any given martial art will tell you flat out, 'I'm just learning. I'm still a student.' That to me is a good way to live in general."
"Ninja Reflex" is set for release in March on the Wii and in a stylus-controlled version for the Nintendo DS.