Will It Be A Hit, Man? Io’s Next Game

Rather than following up on previous experiments in ultra-violence, Hitman, or Kane & Lynch, Danish devs Io Interactive have decided to head for the cell-shaded hills and create a cute action game entitled Mini Ninjas. As you might expect from the title, it’s a game that features diminutive dudes with sharp sticks, and some kind of Kung Fu cliché. A worthwhile new direction after the Kane & Lynch controversy? Or did Io actually take the time to watch the Hitman movie and decide that their next brush with Hollywood had better be via Pixar? Whatever the motivation, I have to admit I like the look of the giant lumbering evil samurai, and the fact that there’s a happy panda involved. There’s far too many sad pandas around these days, and this is all very cute.

Debut teaser trailer post-click.


  1. The Hammer says:

    This looks lovely. That was a very nice style to the trailer. It wasn’t too OTT, and at the start, it was admirably peaceful. It’s a shame that IO seem to be deviating from the modern-day seriousness that Hitman and K&L had, but cutesy stuff is real fun. I just wonder if it’s getting to a state where there’s too much of it.

  2. James G says:

    Is that Marvin the Martian’s cousins?

    Edit: Do I mean Marvin? Or has my Douglas Adams fan status begun to intrude on my memories of other stuff?

  3. Tei says:

    Here lies “the FMV games”.
    Burned, forgeted, doomed.

    Everyone that can remenber, hate then.
    Everyone that has forget, will repeat then.

    GameCock, Eidos (io interactive?).. have forget
    Linear games will make.

    The Spirit of The FMV Games will walk again,
    with obnosiux pestilence.

    Is Mini Ninjas a step to this mini-gameapocalipsys, or a step far from it?

    Only time will tell.

  4. Kris says:

    Actually the lastest retrospective in Edge – Gabriel Knight trilogy, of which at least one was an FMV game seems to suggest otherwise Tei.
    FMV was an oft abused tool (for cut scenes and for ‘ingame’ use as well), but nothing more in my opinion.
    Bad game design ignores the petty divisions of system, engine, IP or even developer.

  5. Jonas says:

    Hm correct me if I’m wrong, but they’re still working on K&L2 and Hitman 5, right? I believe both games have been confirmed. It’s probably a wise decision to branch into children’s games, and this looks like a decently high-quality take on the category.

  6. Ian says:

    @ Jonas: I dunno about K&L2 but I do know they’ve confirmed a Hitman 5 (yay!).

    Anyway, this game looks like it could be a nice departure for them and the trailer was very nice indeed.

  7. James Tao says:

    No James G, it’s Marvin. Douglas Adams has yet to intrude on that part of your memory, but it’s likely only a matter of time.

    The game looks good in it’s own way, but most of my interest reserved for Io games is directed towards Hitman 5. Because wee, gloomy assassins.

  8. Arnulf says:

    Probably the only way to survive in this industry. Build upon established franchises while at the same time trying new stuff.

    I like the trailer. Would love to see in-game footage. Can you control all three characters? At once?

  9. Heliocentric says:

    I would have totally gone for a lo fi cute chibi hitman.

    Kill a cook and just take his hat everyone thinks your a cook. Same clothes, just the hat akin to the milk man level in psychonauts.

    All the same murdering but but with less requirements on the design team. And i dream of coop murder.

    Hitman you were the true murder simulator, please come back.

  10. phil says:

    The art and super deformed ninja antics reminds me of Just Add Monster’s Powerstone alike Kung-Fu Chaos – though they’ll hopefully drop the causal xenophobia. And any ideas regarding aliens.

  11. NvP says:

    But will it have Mini-Pirates?

  12. LlamaFarmer says:

    Awww, that trailer was made of happy

  13. Gap Gen says:

    Yeah, I thought the trailer looked fun. Of course, it could be crap, but here’s hoping.

  14. MrFake says:

    It’s just so cute! Can’t wait.

    But seeing those three ninjas with three styles of attack, I can’t help but picture Lost Vikings, and then my head spins with thoughts of 3D platforming. I pray it will be more God of War* than Psychonauts, because that only barely skated by on its gameplay. I just don’t think Io has the capability to launch an IP with a similarly unique image to compensate.

    (* Is there a popular game in the same style as God of War, but that came before it? Linear, third-person, hack-n-slash. The closest I can think of is Rune, but that wasn’t quite the same. There’s gotta be plenty more.)

  15. l1ddl3monkey says:

    There’s nowt wrong wi’ Ninjas.

    Looks good. The PC is a neglected platform for games featuring ninja so I hope this is a good one.

    I’m probably one of the few people who actually played K&L all the way through and didn’t totally despise it; I think it was a good idea done badly. The nightclub level was a lot of fun and the HEAT style street shootout made me grin. As for Hitman: my favourite series of games ever. I once, for a bet, did all 4 back to back in a single day, getting Silent Assassin for every mission with no saves or restarts. I can’t think of a better way of proving that I have no life.

  16. Headache says:

    I disapprove of this video and therefore game because those smaller enemies they fought looked like the Samurai Pizza Cats and I don’t like to see them lose. Not even to tiny ninja.

  17. The Hammer says:

    MrFake: Devil May Cry?

  18. Koopa says:

    Lost Vikings was my first thought too. Damn that was a good game.

  19. marilena says:

    I don’t think that those were 3 ninjas. In fact, at least one of them was Chinese. And there aren’t any Chinese ninjas, I don’t think.

  20. UncleLou says:

    “I’m probably one of the few people who actually played K&L all the way through and didn’t totally despise it; I think it was a good idea done badly. The nightclub level was a lot of fun and the HEAT style street shootout made me grin”

    I’ll go one step further. I didn’t only not totally despise it, I throroughly enjoyed. Bit rough and basic at times (albeit not as much as, say, GTA), but with superb style and a reasonably good story. Much of the negativity you read these days seems to come from people who associate it with the Gamespot debacle (and it probably didn’t help that the console versions were said to be signifcantly worse).

  21. Pavel says:

    Screw everything that is not Hitman.They are 6 months overdue with Hitman V, dammit!

    Although Kane and Lynch were pretty good (7/10).

  22. Diogo Ribeiro says:

    Hammer & MrFake: you also have the Soul Reaver series.

    Also, this seems like all sorts of cute’n’fun but I’m hoping there’s a dash of Hitman in there; more accurately, stealth and disguising antics along with multiple solutions. But we’ll see.

  23. Candid_Man says:

    K&L was pretty basic in its gameplay (not much besides shooting and cover-ing), but I did find the game rather captivating and atmospheric, with somewhat developed characters and a story verging on the tragic. And I didn’t even get to play co-op, which probably would have been a blast, seeing as anything is better in co-op.

    But the cuba/jungle moments were unasked for, that is for sure.

  24. PHeMoX says:

    “Or did Io actually take the time to watch the Hitman movie and decide that their next brush with Hollywood had better be via Pixar?”

    Come on, the Hitman wasn’t thát bad. In fact, Hitman and Max Payne both were actually pretty good. There wasn’t a moment where I thought ‘b-flick’ watching Hitman and there was only 1 moment where I thought ‘b-flick’ when watching Max Payne.

    Still, it wouldn’t surprise me if Mini Ninja is a prime candidate for a game-to-movie conversion, it’s totally got the edge of cool!!

  25. Pags says:

    Is it just me that thinks this looks like a 2002-era PS2 game?

  26. Daz says:

    Am I the only one thinking that it is a complete rip off the “I-Ninja” game on PS2 / XBox ?

  27. Daz says:

    Bingo Pags… ^_^^

  28. Pags says:

    Weird, I never even knew that I-Ninja game existed yet I was only off by a year.

    Fear my powers.

  29. D says:

    I was just at a talk with IO’s lead game designer where he showed us a single frame being rendered for this game.

    Apparently the detailed character shadows all get rendered in the first ms, and are never applied to the scene later but instead replaced by blobs. Also, this time they’re streaming their textures and will hopefully avoid the sometimes tiny levels of K&L.

    He also described game programming to programming as what MonsterGarage is to being a mechanic.

  30. Radiant says:

    Hopefully this will be a return to form for IO.
    They started out so well with Freedom Fighters and the first few Hitman games then they just sought of lost their spark.

    Btw Max Payne was a TERRIBLE movie!
    And the Hitman film had that Bond girl in the altogether so there’s that.

  31. Mickiscoole says:

    This game looks good, but I want a sequel to blood money.

  32. Munin says:

    Blood Money was the best IOI game to date, followed by Freedom Fighters. Not really seeing how they’ve lost their spark.

  33. Skurmedel says:

    IO – best thing Denmark has to offer besides chocolate covered wienerbrød.

    I liked all the Hitman games, but Blood Money was the best so far. For some reason I liked the story in Blood Money even though it was pretty shallow. Have no problems with “games for kids” either, so this might be fun.

  34. MetalCircus says:

    Now that looks lovely. IO are one of my faveourite developers, even after the slightly average K&L.

  35. Ian says:

    I wish they’d make Freedom Fighters 2. They said they were gonna do one years ago and (according to Wikipedia) one version got binned but the PC version is “TBA”.

  36. Pijama says: