Mark of the Ninja
GDC 2013: Why Mark of the Ninja Wasn't Always a Stealth Game
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It's hard to imagine now, but during one spell in Mark of the Ninja's creation, it wasn't a stealth title.

Speaking at the Game Developers Conference in a session called 'How We Created Mark of the Ninja Without (Totally) Losing Our Minds', founder Jamie Cheng outlined Klei Entertainment's struggles while developing the hit XBLA title.

Apparently, finding a balance for Mark of the Ninja's mechanics was so difficult that the game's stealth focus was temporarily abandoned.

“Even when we started the game, we had a clear vision,” said Cheng. “We knew that it would be stealth game, we knew that you would stick to the shadows, we already had that written down.

“But the problem was we had no idea how to actually get there. And so we had all these assumptions that we were building on that we thought would work, but none of them were working.

“We actually had all the elements, like stealth kills and shurikens, but it felt all mushy and kinda sucked. In fact it was so bad, that at one point we actually thought this isn't going to work at all, we can't build a stealth game.

“So at one stage, for a couple of months, we decided that Mark of the Ninja wasn't going to be a stealth game any more and that it was going to be an action game with stealth elements. And of course that made the game even worse.”

According to Cheng, the key to getting back on track was stripping back, refining and in some cases abandoning many of the game's mechanics.

One example given was a counter-attack system that originally appeared in the game, similar to that of the Assassin's Creed series. “It was cool,” said Cheng, but it just made players want to engage in open combat more often, which detracted from the focus of the game.

Only after ripping out or simplifying many systems like this could Klei make Mark of the Ninja work as a stealth tile. Cheng described the finished product as a “finely sharpened blade.”


User Comments

Forum Posts: 3002
Comment #1 by Dirty130
Monday, March 25, 2013 @ 06:29:13 PM
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Next time this is on sale for 600 Microsoft Points, do yourself a favour and buy it..

Forum Posts: 109
Comment #2 by Kailon791
Monday, March 25, 2013 @ 06:43:54 PM
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Dont even wait for a sale. Only behind The Walking Dead, this is my favorite XBLA game. Well worth full price and I can't wait for the DLC to come out.

Forum Posts: 1022
Comment #3 by Mr Yac
Monday, March 25, 2013 @ 07:39:11 PM
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really is an amazing, game. i'm as annoyed as the next guy at the rising prices of arcade titles and DLC but that's only because so few are actually worth the price of admission. this game however is worth full price without question

Forum Posts: 96
Comment #4 by BBQ
Monday, March 25, 2013 @ 07:54:01 PM
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ive been out of the xbox loop for ages so this never appeard on my radar, After a random click on this (and some much needed googling) IM SOLD.

Thank you x360a and members!

Forum Posts: 44
Comment #5 by Tobi
Monday, March 25, 2013 @ 08:04:13 PM
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I still yearn to see more non-Arcade titles use a hand drawn art style like what Klei do. I think that it'd look sick if it leveraged the power of the next generation, too, particularly in the background/character detail and the animations.

Forum Posts: 384
Comment #6 by Kankui
Monday, March 25, 2013 @ 08:14:17 PM
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This game was amazing. Bought it day 1 for the 15 bucks and received a full 400/400 in it. Just an amazing game that every one overlooked and Klei didn't do a lot of advertising for. Maybe because it is a steathly game? *shrug* Don't Starve was just announced at this time too and I think they were a bit more focused on advertising that. Whatever you do, do yourself a favor and pick this game up. It's worth it if you like good, fun games.

Forum Posts: 3574
Comment #7 by Shiftie
Monday, March 25, 2013 @ 08:42:19 PM
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Best XBLA title ever... maybe tied with Costume Quest :p

Forum Posts: 19
Comment #8 by Dasha UK
Tuesday, March 26, 2013 @ 07:31:16 AM
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@7 id have to chuck dust an elysian tail in there with them two.

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US September 07, 2012

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