"For Ninja Gaiden 3," Hayashi told me, "we wanted to focus on the act of cutting someone down, and what it's like to actually kill someone with a sword. Once you start lopping off limbs, your enemy goes from being a living thing that you're killing to just a thing."
And to hammer the point home (or katana the point home, if you prefer) that these are real human beings you're flipping out and killing, he continued. "When you're actually cutting into a person, and you feel them getting scared, and the blood is spraying right on you, you hear their dying breaths in your ear -- that's the kind of visceral violence we're going for in Ninja Gaiden 3." In the demo level I played, by the way, the enemy soldiers start pleading for their lives as soon as you begin attacking them.
At this point you might think, as I did, that you're going to start feeling guilty about cutting into all these bodies. That's ... kind of the idea. "Ryu Hayabusa is a dark hero," Hayashi explained. "If people want to take the easy way out or a cleaner way out -- not killing people -- that's not what the story is about and what Ryu Hayabusa is about. To be a dark hero, you have to do bad things in order to do good."