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Ni-oh (Oni) still in development (well, the game anyway)

Ni-ohSome of you may remember that about six years ago, there was an announcement of a new samurai film based on an unfilmed Kurosawa script. Titled Oni, it was to be the directorial debut of Kurosawa’s son and the head of Kurosawa Production, Hisao Kurosawa, and follow the adventures of a blond-haired samurai on a quest to discover his destiny in 16th century Japan. The film project was quietly cancelled in September 2005.

The film was going to be accompanied by a video game that would also use Kurosawa’s script and run on Playstation 3. As the film got cancelled, the video game publisher Koei insisted that this would not mark the end for the game, which at that point was titled Ni-oh. Two trailers were released for a tentative 2007 release date: trailer 1, trailer 2.

Then, Ni-oh more or less disappeared from the map. There was a mention of the game still being in development last year, but very little information about its status. However, now it looks like the project may again be moving forward.

According to the Japanese video game magazine Famitsu (as reported by examiner.com), the game is now an action-RPG, and is at least partly being developed by Team Ninja, who are well known for their excruciatingly difficult Dead or Alive and Ninja Gaiden games. Although the driving force behind the development of those games, Tomonobu Itagaki, left the studio two years ago, Ni-oh could be in worse hands.

No release date has been given, and neither is it clear whether the current iteration of Ni-oh any longer has anything to do with Kurosawa’s screenplay. Examiner.com does, however, speculate that more could be revealed at the Tokyo Game show which starts tomorrow and runs until the end of the week.




Vili Maunula

There are a couple of sentences about the game in a recent interview at Siliconera:

Team Ninja is also working on Ni-Oh, originally one of Koei’s titles, how is that game progressing?

We ran lots of tests and trials for Ni-Oh. After we ran through these we found a style that fits this title. At Team Ninja, we want you to experience the feel of action in our games. Ni-Oh is set with during the samurai era and we want you to feel what it’s like to be a samurai.

They also mention that Ni-Oh will be the title Team Ninja releases after they ship Ninja Gaiden 3, which should be out sometime early 2012.

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