These days, if you ask the average dedicated gamer to name the hardest gaming series out there, there’s a good chance they’ll respond with “Dark Souls.” To be sure, FromSoftware’s Souls series offers a steep – yet accessible – learning curve to hardcore players, as well as an evolving library of tactical knowledge and a vibrant online community. Yet gamers of a past generation might recall an older, perhaps even more unforgiving face of terror: Koei Tecmo’s and Team Ninja’s feudal hack-and-slash, Ninja Gaiden (2004). Jump back a few generations further, and you’ll find one of the most infamous games for the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) in the form of the original Ninja Gaiden (1988). Curse those respawning eagles!
Protagonist Ryu Hayabusa’s adventures across Japan tested many a player’s mechanical skills and wit with brutal boss fights and intense combat. Yet outside of the Dead or Alive fighting game series, we haven’t heard word from the sneaky ninja since his last game, Ninja Gaiden 3, in 2012, which was met with tepid reviews. A spinoff game, titled Yaiba: Ninja Gaiden Z, was released in 2014 and was also lukewarmly received by fans.
The composer for the NES series of Ninja Gaiden games, Keiji Yamagishi, broke that silence today with some puzzling, but hopeful news: he is currently working on a project related to Ninja Gaiden.
I apologize for any confusion caused by this tweet. This new project does not relate to a new video game!
— Keiji Yamagishi (@MoreYamasan) June 28, 2016
He later clarified, though, that this project does not relate to a new game in the series.
The cryptic nature of Yamagishi’s tweet raises all kinds of questions surrounding just what this new Ninja Gaiden project might be. Is it a concert? A compilation album, as he has done in the past? An animated cartoon? Or something else entirely?
According to Yamagishi, we’ll have to wait until July to find out. In the meantime, take a gander at the gameplay for one of the series’ most renowned games, Ninja Gaiden Black. Then check out an impressive speedrunning race of the original NES Ninja Gaiden from Awesome Games Done Quick 2015 (race footage begins at 27:35).