Ninja Gaiden Black and Ninja Gaiden 2 Aren't in Master Collection Because of Lost Data

When Ninja Gaiden: Master Collection releases in June, the compilation will feature three classic games: Ninja Gaiden Sigma, Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2, and Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor's Edge. While these titles should be welcome for newcomers, some longtime fans might be a bit disappointed that the compilation does not include Ninja Gaiden Black or Ninja Gaiden II. There is a reason for these exclusions, however: it seems that the data has been lost by publisher Koei Tecmo. Team Ninja brand manager Fumihiko Yasuda revealed as such in Weekly Famitsu (translated by Kotaku). Sadly, it seems this prevented the developer from including the games.

"I am aware there are pros and cons," Yasuda said in Weekly Famitsu. "For me personally, Ninja Gaiden II was my debut, and so I have a deep feeling for it. But there's another reason for this choice. To be honest, there are only fragments of the data that remain. We couldn't salvage them. However, when developing Sigma Plus and Sigma Plus 2 [for the PlayStation Vita], we got as much of this kind of data together as we could and organized it. Because we use utilize that is the reason why we selected Sigma."

Unfortunately, Yasuda's comments highlight one of the biggest struggles of the video game industry: preservation. The video game industry has notoriously had a lot of difficulties over the years when it comes to preserving concept art, storyboards, and even entire games. While the industry has gained a lot more awareness about the importance of preservation, Ninja Gaiden: Master Collection highlights just how widespread the problem remains.

The Ninja Gaiden games have had a complex history, which can get a little confusing for newcomers! Ninja Gaiden first released on Xbox in 2004, followed by Ninja Gaiden Black on Xbox in 2005, and Sigma on PS3 in 2007. Black received an Xbox One X upgrade in 2019, boosting its visuals. Ninja Gaiden 2 released on Xbox 360 in 2008, and was ported to PS3 as Sigma 2 in 2009. The Sigma versions did not involve director Tomonobu Itagaki, and feature a number of alterations from the original versions. As such, some fans prefer Black and the original version of Ninja Gaiden II to the Sigma games.

Ninja Gaiden: Master Collection will release on Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC on June 10th.

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