Naruto: Ultimate Ninja Storm Exclusive Interview with Hiroshi Matsuyama

Posted on August 18, 2008

Naruto: Ultimate Ninja Storm Exclusive Interview with Hiroshi Matsuyama
Believe it! This fall Naruto fans will be able to get their hands on the most beautiful Naruto game to date! A game that’s equipped with gorgeous cinematic quality HD graphics, and separates the line between anime and video game – Naruto: Ultimate Ninja Storm!  Anime Games Online had the privilege to interview the main man behind this exciting new Naruto experience, the game director and CEO of CyberConnect2, Hiroshi Matsuyama!

Anime Games Online: What gameplay modes will be available in Naruto: Ultimate Ninja Storm, and can you tell us a little bit about each one of them?

Hiroshi Matsuyama: There are two main modes in the game – “Ultimate Mission Mode” and “Free Battle Mode.” Ultimate Mission Mode is the main mode in the game, and includes 100 different missions for players to complete as they roam freely through the Hidden Leaf Village. These include not only the one on one battles you have seen and played so far in the downloadable demo, but also huge boss battles and a variety of different mini-games. 

Free Battle Mode is where you can set up various battles against the computer or another human player. You’ll be able to play as any of the 25 characters in the game in any stage. 

Anime Games Online: How many stages will the game’s 1-v1 battle mode have? And what sort of environments from the anime series will be featured in Ultimate Ninja Storm?

Hiroshi Matsuyama: There will be nine different battle stages. Since we’re telling the story of episodes 1-135 of the television series, these will be from the most exciting and popular locations of the entire series.

Anime Games Online: In the demo released on Qore, players were assigned support characters – Naruto had Sakura and Sasuke, while Kakashi had Guy. In the final version of the game, will players be able to pick their support characters or will there be assigned teams like in the demo? 

Hiroshi Matsuyama: When you start the game, you will be assigned teams. However, as you complete more missions you can unlock more support characters and eventually customize which support characters you want to take into battle. 

Anime Games Online: How many support characters will be available in the game total?

Hiroshi Matsuyama: It’s a secret! Most of the playable characters will also be available as support characters, but we also have some very exciting plans for support-only characters. 


Anime Games Online: What types of customizable options will players be offered?

Hiroshi Matsuyama: In terms of battle, you’ll be able to choose what selection of items you bring into each fight as well as your support characters. You can also select what you want your primary jutsu to be, as well as how you want your support characters to behave when you summon them. 


Anime Games Online: Will the soundtrack include music from the previous Ultimate Ninja games, or will all the music be brand new? Are any of the tracks from the anime included?

Hiroshi Matsuyama: Our goal was to create all-new music for the game, and we succeeded. All the music in the game is going to be original, so please listen closely! 


Anime Games Online: How long has Ultimate Ninja Storm been in the works?

Hiroshi Matsuyama: We’re closing in on two years of development time for the game, but are nearly finished!


Anime Games Online: How many special attacks does each character have?

Hiroshi Matsuyama: You can bring one primary jutsu and Ultimate Jutsu into battle. However, some characters gain different jutsu and Ultimate Jutsu when they go into awakening mode, so this varies from character to character. For example, when Naruto transforms into Nine-Tail Naruto, he gets an entirely different move-set with all-new special moves as well. 

Anime Games Online: Did Namco Bandai have a chance to work with Naruto creator Masashi Kishimoto and if so how much was he involved with the game creation?

Hiroshi Matsuyama: Of course, we have to work very closely with Mr. Kishimoto and his team to ensure that our content is up to his standards. We showed him the game several times during the development process to get his feedback and approval. 


Anime Games Online: What, if any, differences are there between the Naruto: Ultimate Ninja Storm that will be released in Japan vs. the one released in the US?

Hiroshi Matsuyama: I can’t comment on any possible differences, but I will say that this is the first time for us to release a Naruto game in North America before it hits Japan, which we are quite excited about. We know there are so many passionate Naruto fans around the world, we can’t wait to see their reaction to the game when it comes out this November. 


Anime Games Online: Where is the game at right now in the development? How close is it to completion?

Hiroshi Matsuyama: We are currently adding the finishing touches to the game. We are almost there!


Thanks to Namco Bandai Games’ public relations manager, Kit Ellis, for making this interview possible