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Itagaki Interview

The November issue of Famitsu Xbox 360 has a talk with Team Ninja’s “lead ninja” Tomonobu Itagaki.

First of all, he notes that the number of gamers with HDTVs is low, according to their reader response cards. So he is impressed that Microsoft will be included HD cables in the Japanese Xbox 360 kit. As people pick up the Xbox 360 and PS3, though, I hope they’ll realize just how much better the games could be in HD and make an HDTV purchase. And in a most accurate expression of technical prowess, he thinks that CRT displays offer the best picture quality for gamers. Of course, owning a CRT HDTV, I have to agree. 🙂 The good news is that DOA4 will offer a 4:3 aspect ratio for 4:3 sets, and a widescreen aspect ratio for 16:9 sets. No black bars anywhere! This should definitely be S.O.P. (standard operating procedure) for all next gen games, PS3 or Xbox 360.

On the topic of sound:

Itagaki is also sure to give some talk to sound, offering the hope that players will invest in a 5.1 system. Dead or Alive 4 is fully 5.1 compliant, and Team Ninja has even mixed separate surround and stereo tracks for some parts, including the ending movie.

Again, as an owner of a surround sound home theater system, I couldn’t agree more. But what about the HDD, over which there is much debate. Here’s where it gets really interesting:

“Without a hard disk,” he explains, “it’s difficult to do things like the Ninja Gaiden Hurricane Pack. There are also problems with caching.” He suggests that smooth startup sequences for games would be difficult. Also regrettable, he states, is that, minus a hard disk, he won’t be able to manage sound in the way Dead or Alive Xtreme Beach Volleyball does now, where music is copied over from the game disk.

However, those who plan on buying the fully equipped hard disk needn’t worry, as Itagaki adds “The Xbox 360 I buy will have a hard disk equipped. I believe 80% will buy the hard disk model. And so, take solace that we will make games that fully utilize the hard disk, just as we have until now.” Those without the hard disk are being taken care of, though, with Itagaki planning on tuning the game for the core system as well.

So there you have it. Not having an HDD is quite a disability, but Team Ninja will be fully supporting gamers without an HDD and gamers with an HDD. These are exactly the kind of developers Microsoft wants on their side, it seems.

IGN.COM – Itagaki Speaks (thanks to