In 1993, John Wells, created a series of previews, music and a map for one level of a fourth game which he tried to convince System 3 to make. System 3 turned him down. Many years later, probably around 1999, the idea was rekindled. Originally set for an early 2004 release, the game was shown at the E3 2003 Expo in Los Angeles, but has since been delayed. Released screenshots showed a game looking very similar to Tecmo’s Ninja Gaiden, also in development at the time (released in early 2004).
The game has also been said to be cancelled at least twice, only to return to development, and the development company (still System 3) does not seem to give much information in regard to the development status. Current rumours surrounding the status of the project indicate it has again been canceled. – [Info from Wikipedia]
[Thanks to Andy Lindfeldt for these screenshots!]
Lot more info there.
As regular readers will be aware, SPOnG has been looking forward to
the release of Last Ninja for current platforms for some time, being
as we are ardent fans of the 8-bit series.
However, we can reveal today that the chances of the game seeing a
release are slight at best, with Studio 3 chief Mark Cale making some
of the most absurd claims about the state of the code, its future and
possible release platform the industry will ever see.
Speaking exclusively to SPOnG, Cale tried to explain why the game
still isn’t in any serious state for release. “You see, the game looks
amazing, better than any ninja game ever made,” he bullishly claimed.
“Ninja Gaiden simply doesn’t compare, Last Ninja is far superior.”
This seemed strange to us, given that the Itagaki masterwork from
Tecmo is widely believed to be one of the best-looking console games
of all time.
However, Cale had more to say on the future of Last Ninja, trumping
even his own Ninja Gaiden claim: “The game is simply too advanced
technically for a release on current systems,” he said. “So, we are
going to release it on PlayStation 3 instead. This isn’t any
reflection on any delays, it’s just that we want the game to be shown
off in all its glory, and current systems simply couldn’t handle it.”
As you may be aware, the new Last Ninja game has been linked to a
string of publishers – including Electronic Arts and Simon and
Schuster – and was originally intended to hit retail mid last year.
This date was pushed back to autumn and then it simply fell from view.
To date, four screenshots – said to be Xbox code – as well as a piece
of (god awful) box art have been seen. There is also, according to the
game’s rap sheet, a GameCube version underway, though this is now
likely to have been replaced with a Nintendo ‘Revolution’ SKU.
Understand that SPOnG brings this to your attention without any
pleasure – we had been longing for a return to glory of Last Ninja,
one of the most innovative UK game franchises of all time.
John Twiddy was lead coder
Game was to feature an automatic lock on and 2 button fighting method, as they wanted to keep controls as simple as possible.
Weapons would include:swords, staffs, Ninja Stars, blow pipes.
Equipment included a crude aqualung, nightingale floors (anti-Ninja system that rattled chains and cages when stepped on).
Magic wise you’d be able to create a false image of yourself, have elemental powers (fire, lightning, cyclone etc) spirt walking (take on a ghost form).
Puzzles from the Commodore 64 original were also going to be included.