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[Interview] GungHo talks Ninjala – Monster Hunter Rise and Sonic partnerships, future collaborations and plans, more

Posted on May 9, 2021 by (@NE_Brian) in Interviews, Switch

Ninjala is quickly coming up on its first anniversary. It’s been a busy year for the Switch title between various updates, collaborations, and more.

Nintendo Everything was recently given an opportunity to catch up with Kazuki Morishita, the president and CEO of GungHo Online Entertainment as well as the game’s executive producer. Morishita spoke about collaborations (including the ones for Monster Hunter Rise and Sonic the Hedgehog), future plans, and more.

Here’s our full discussion:

Monster Hunter Rise teaming up with Ninjala is one of the game’s biggest collaborations so far. How did the partnership come to be?

I myself have been playing and love the Monster Hunter series, so whenever I meet with someone from Capcom, it’s become a habit to always say “Please let us collaborate with Monster Hunter” everytime. Maybe because of that, we’ve been able to work with Capcom for Puzzle & DragonsMonster Hunter series collab.  I’m also close to Ryozo Tsujimoto, the producer of the series, so I asked if we could collab with Ninjala and he was happy to accept.

What kind of feedback did Capcom have to ensure that Monster Hunter would fit into the world of Ninjala?

When we asked Capcom for a collab, they offered Monster Hunter Rise because it’ll be released on the same Nintendo Switch. After that, Capcom has helped us with many of our proposals. Due to their cooperation, not only were we able to create avatar skins, but we also included many Monster Hunter-like references such as the BBQ Emotes and sound effects.

We know that Ninjala had another big gaming collaboration previously having teamed up with Sonic the Hedgehog. What led to that partnership with SEGA?

The world of Ninjala is set in the modern times and we have created it so that it can allow contents from different types of IPs to exist. Our first stage, Eagle City, is inspired by the United States and we thought Sonic The Hedgehog’s color scheme and vibe would fit Eagle City perfectly, so we proposed to SEGA about the collab.

What can fans look forward to in the future regarding collaborations?

Most of our collabs so far have been with game IPs and we’ll continue to collaborate with other games, but we also want to try collaborating with other types of entertainment IPs such as anime and movies. How do we decide on those IPs? The main criteria is to select IPs that we love.

Gumchi is one of the game’s main mascots, and our readers are quite curious about the character. What was the inspiration for its design?

Gumchi isn’t just the game’s mascot, but he has a very important role in the story. The inspiration for his design is that he’s wearing a blown up bubble gum and since he has a connection with Genunsai’s (Genryusai’s younger brother) kendo dojo, he’s holding a shinai (bamboo sword).

Ninjala will be coming up on its first anniversary in just a couple of months. Is the team satisfied with the response to the game and its growth since launch?

We are truly grateful to all of the players around the world for playing Ninjala. The pandemic really affected us by creating an environment we’ve never experienced before, and in the midst of that we had to hold the beta test and release the game. Last year went by so quickly because of that, but we’ve received great feedback and requests from the players, which really motivated the dev team and we are able to continue making many updates. We now have a wide age range of users from all over the world playing and we are very happy.

Are there any plans for new modes that will stay in the game permanently? If so, what can you share?

We plan to bring back the past Featured Battles periodically. We also have many ideas for new Featured Battles, so please look forward to those too.

Has GungHo given any consideration to releasing a physical version of Ninjala in the west?

We currently have no plans to release a physical version.

What can Ninjala players expect from the game in the future?

Firstly, we are very thankful for all of the players worldwide for playing Ninjala. We will continue to add more features, Season updates, and other non-Season updates. We are also planning for a surprise, so please look forward to it.

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