All About Japan

Hang Onto Your Turtle Shell!

Ninja Gaming

Unlike a number of other American cartoon hits of the 1980s, there wasn’t an anime house in Japan doing the heavy lifting for the original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cartoon, produced instead by the California-headquartered Murakami-Wolf animation studio. However, all the best-received Turtles video games came from Japanese developer Konami.

There’s now a new video game installment on the way for the franchise, and once again from a Japanese developer. History isn’t repeating itself exactly though, since Konami won’t be handling the honors this time. Instead, the baton is being passed to PlatinumGames, which has just released the trailer for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutants in Manhattan.

You might know PlatinumGames as the independent studio founded by a group of star employees from Capcom, including Shinji Mikami and Hideki Kamiya, creators of the Resident Evil and Devil May Cry series respectively. Or you may know it as the developer behind critically acclaimed action titles Bayonetta, Vanquish, and Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance.

But most relevant to this new game is that PlatinumGames was responsible for Transformers: Devastation, the nostalgia-packed game released last fall which perfectly replicated the look and sound of the transforming robots from the original animated TV series.

Perhaps because the Turtles have gone through a greater number of redesigns over the years than the Transformers, Platinum doesn’t seem to have hewed quite so closely to the ninja siblings’ initial cartoon artwork. Still, the designs have a good blend of heft and flexibility that make the action visuals work, And Platinum’s artists have done a great job making sure each of the heroes’ personalities comes through in their expressions and mannerisms.

The supporting cast is also present and accounted for, with April O’Neil and Master Splinter still having their fondnesses for canary-colored clothing and facial hair.

And since it wouldn’t be an action game without plenty of people to beat up, Platinum is stocking the game with adversaries, including one of the coolest versions of the Shredder yet.

The inclusion of villainous mutants Bebop and Rocksteady shows Platinum’s characteristic willingness to give the fans what they want. Another encouraging sign is that all four turtles can be seen appearing in both gameplay and cutscenes, unlike some disappointing video game outings for the franchise in which either the action or story felt a little lonely by focusing on a fraction of the group at a time.

Publisher Activision says Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutants in Manhattan should be ready in time for a summer 2016 North American release for PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, Xbox One, Xbox 360, and PC.

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