Koei-Tecmo has reportedly lost the data to the non-Sigma versions of Team Ninja’s Ninja Gaiden games, making the Sigma versions the only viable copies.
Last month, Koei-Tecmo announced an upcoming “Master Collection” for the Ninja Gaiden series to be released on PC and major consoles. However it was noted that the game will not include Ninja Gaiden Black and Ninja Gaiden II and will instead port the censored Sigma remakes.
According to VGC the original Ninja Gaiden, Ninja Gaiden Black, and Ninja Gaiden II are considered lost by Koei-Tecmo after admitting they only have partial fragments of the original games.
In a translated interview with Famitsu, Fumihiko Yasuda from Team Ninja explained candidly why they couldn’t port the original titles to Ninja Gaiden: Master Collection.
“I am aware there are pros and cons… 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, we got as much of this kind of data together as we could and organized it… that is the reason why we selected Sigma.”
Ninja Gaiden Sigma II is a censored remake of Ninja Gaiden II that was released on the PlayStation 3. Noteworthy changes include purple smoke replacing the usual blood spatter of the original, and being unable to dismember humanoid enemies (monsters could still be dismembered).
A video showcasing the difference in gore between Ninja Gaiden II and Ninja Gaiden Sigma II can be found below.
While in this case the game’s censorship is an unfortunate accident due to the loss of data. Recently, CyberConnect2’s president claimed Sony Interactive Entertainment (SIE) have policies against depicting dismemberment or missing limbs for Japanese developers. It could be possible this policy was in place around 2008 to 2009 at least.