Although it's set in the Ninja Gaiden universe, Team Ninja looks at Yaiba: Ninja Gaiden Z as its own entity, separate from Ryu Hayabusa's outings and able to develop into its own property. Speaking to Joystiq at Gamescom, studio head Yosuke Hayashi said his team would love to make a Yaiba 2, but it needs to ensure the first Yaiba is a success first.

"It's not a sequel or a spin-off, it is its own thing," Hayashi said, "And so the systems are very different. We want to have it open to another audience, to people who like zombie games. The target is a little bit different, but it should still feel like a good, solid action game."

Yaiba isn't just a ninja meets zombies crossover, it is also a worldwide collaboration between three separate games studios: Ninja Gaiden dev Team Ninja and Keiji Inafune's Comcept from Japan, and California-based Spark Unlimited. It's an unusual collaboration to say the least, but one Inafune believes has worked out well.

"It's been interesting to see the Comcept team, the Team Ninja team, and the Spark team working together on this project," Inafune said. "First we were being careful with each other and respecting each other's boundaries, and stuff like that. But it really has become an open dialog between the teams, respecting the strengths of each team, and bringing out those strengths through discussion and through open and honest collaboration. To see that happen that between Team Ninja and Spark has been something that's really good for Yaiba."

The game stars antagonist Yaiba Kamikaze, a ninja who was killed by Hayabusa but has somehow been resurrected into a vengeful cyborg. Given the new hero, Spark being the primary developer, the cel-shaded stylings, the goofier humor, and the hordes of brainless zombies waiting to be sliced up, we can see why Team Ninja looks at Yaiba as something separate. That said, the studio wants to make sure the game will appeal to its core fans.

"That's one of the reasons we're being directly involved," Hayashi explained. "It takes place in the world of Ninja Gaiden, and actually being an action game we want to make sure that it feels like a good action game, a game that would come from Team Ninja. So we're definitely very involved in the process to make sure that that happens."

Yaiba is due on PS3 and Xbox 360 in early 2014, and by then both the Xbox One and PS4 will be on retail shelves worldwide. So will Yaiba be leaping onto next-gen rooftops?

"We're very focused on making this for the current generation, for PS3 and 360," said Hayashi. "When we first started talking about this project it was before any news on anything about next-gen was out, so that's been our focus for the entire project. If once it comes out and the new hardware is out a lot of people want Yaiba on next-gen hardware, we're certainly open to the idea. But currently there are no plans for that."

This article was originally published on Joystiq.

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