As we can read on Wikipedia, Kasumi Ninja is a 1994 one-on-one fighting game developed by Hand Made Software and published by Atari Corporation for the Atari Jaguar. The game went through several changes before it was released to the public. Kasumi Ninja was previewed approximately 8 months before its original release by a virtual game magazine distributed via CD. In this preview, Kasumi Ninja had a very heavy story element to it. Beating the game with each character would produce a specific key which, when combined, would unlock the gates to the final confrontation with Lord Gyaku.
This method of gameplay would have required the player to invest more time in order to complete the story mode. Players would have to navigate the labyrinth to find their opponents, and characters would be unlocked for play only as they were defeated by Senzo and Habaki.
Many of the backgrounds and character designs went through several revisions. For example, Alaric’s default outfit had red trim, as opposed to blue. Habaki was garbed in black, but this was changed to represent Lord Gyaku. A fourth palette-swap ninja, garbed in blue, was seen in previews but apparently never made it to the final game.
The final game became a rush job. Pressuring the development team to get Kasumi Ninja out in a “timely fashion” (holiday season 1994), Kasumi’s story mode was dropped in favor of the fighting concept sans storyline. The labyrinth exploration and key gathering concept was condensed, but the character unlocking system remained intact. Video from viMasterJag’s YouTube Channel!
Thanks to Adam for the contribution!