We had a chance to sit in with a conference call with Glenn Stotz, product specialist at TOMY, and Nobby Matsuo, producer at TOMY, to chat about D3 Publisher’s upcoming Naruto: Path of the Ninja 2 for the DS.
The call began by talking about the game’s Wi-Fi features. Players will be able to pit their team against teams from all over North America. Like the rest of the game, online battles will be turn based, and all items, experience, and equipment gained or unlocked during online play will carry over to the single player mode. For those of significantly higher or lower levels, there is also the option to set a level cap at 30, putting both teams on relatively equal footing.
Playing online matches will yield points that can be traded to unlock items, equipment, and characters. Winning a match nets three points, but the losing player still gets one point. Matches taking place on Saturdays between 10am and 4pm PST are considered bonus hours, and both teams will gain two additional points.
Another new feature is region cards, which are awarded to players through online matches based on the players’ locations. Each of the 50 states will have its own card, as well as Mexico and Canada. These can be traded amongst players or cashed in for prizes.
It was asked how Path of the Ninja 2 compares to traditional Japanese RPGs like the Final Fantasy series. It was announced that players should feel right at home with Naruto since it will be a turn-based game with four-member parties, and all the usual things like experience, leveling, and equipment will be there.
Another feature the call highlighted was the Squad Leader system. As mentioned before, players will create a four-member party, and they will also be able to select a leader. The leader will change the stats for the party as a whole. For example, choosing Naruto will give the team a boost in attack strength but will cause a slight decrease in defense. Each character will effect the team in various ways, so it will be up to the players to find the style that suits them best.
There will also be a system called Ninja Tags that boost various stats. As characters gain levels, they will have a greater capacity to equip Tags, and there will be many to choose from.
Another feature that was highlighted are the side-scrolling portions of the game. Between major areas, there will be small platforming sections of the game. In these, the task will be to grab as many scrolls while trying to dodge enemies. It was also mentioned that this will have forced scrolling.
They also touched a bit on the game’s jutsus, which are similar to magic attacks in traditional games. These require chakra to activate, and this is typically done by scratching the screen with the stylus. In Wi-Fi play, whenever an opponent is using one, the player on the receiving end can try to block the attack by also rubbing the touch screen.
The chat also mentioned that the built-in mic would see some use. Typically, the player will blow into it to light torches with fireballs, but there are segments in which you will have to cheer into the mic to to “pump up your characters.”
In the final round of questions, Glenn said that there will be approximately 10-12 hours of gameplay in the single-player campaign, but the Kumite mode will add extra time. It will essentially be a bunch of challenges that will yield prizes. For example, one challenge might be to win a fight with a specific team within a certain amount of turns. It was also announced that there will be content that can only be unlocked via online play, including two characters. One of them was announced to be Sasuke’s second state. Glenn also revealed that Naruto: Path of the Ninja 2 would be an entirely new storyline that takes place in the time period after Sasuke leaves Hidden Leaf Village.