Ninja Gaiden for the Xbox was released in 2004, but it was first shown in 2002, with a trailer that contain many beta elements and differences. In 1999, Team Ninja started work on the “Next-Generation Ninja Gaiden Project”. The first stage of development was to create the game on the Sega NAOMI arcade system board. They then planned to move the project to the Dreamcast console for further development and release, but this was abandoned when Sega announced the end of Dreamcast product line in 2001.
At this point, Tecmo decided to release Ninja Gaiden as a launch title for the Sony PlayStation 2 in the United States. Itagaki, however, had other plans; the Team Ninja Leader was impressed with the software development kits for the Xbox and pushed for his team to develop for the Microsoft console.
In the 2002 beta Ryu’s model / suit is slightly different from the final one. The copter boss was in the train turnstyle area, instead than on the bridge like the final game. In this same area we can see Ruy on the electricity tower, but he cannot go over there in the final. Other scenes, as the one with a ninja that came out from the ceiling of the first level, were never used. Also the graphic of the game was still incomplete, with ugly textures and a lot of aliasing. There are a Green “U” Nimpo in the same screenshot of the “X” item, this Nimpo doesn`t appear i the final version and this “X” neither appear in this level, in the final version, this appear in an alley where you find the windmill shuriken.
There are even some screens with a removed (?) puzzle in wich Ruy has to find an X item (that looks like the Xbox prototype / development hardware) to open a passage. It’s possible that this puzzle was used in some demos or side missions from the Black version, but we dont have any confirmation about it. The X item was reused in Ninja Gaiden 2 as an easter egg and it heals all your magic and health.
Thanks to www.gamerhistory.com for some of these screens!