Someday, someday soon, I'll write my own words here again. Until then, here's a awesome chat I had with Patrick Klepek over at Giant Bomb:
Patrick came and played Ninja at PAX East. After play, he said he normally doesn't really like stealth games, but really dug Ninja. That was incredibly edifying to hear. I like stealth games a lot, but as I said to Patrick, I get why they can be inaccessible for some people. Maybe it's just by virtue of its 2D-ness, but I'm hoping Ninja can do for more folks what it did for Patrick- allow them to better see the things I find so appeal about the stealth genre/style/form/whatever.
I don't think this ended up in the interview, but one of us (I honestly don't remember which) observed that once a particular genre develops something of a niche, it has three ways forward, two of which is distinctly not good.
1) Games in the genre exist to serve the niche and the basically same game ends up being released over and over, with minimal changes only the most fervent notice.
2) The genre attempts to be more "broad" and loses what about it the enthusiasts liked in the first place. See a great many games drifting away from what made them interesting toward being more generally action-y.
3) Smart developers manage to continue to innovate and refine, bringing in new people without compromising what made the niche so special in the first place.
In the context of horror games, Silent Hill may be 1) or 2) depending on who you ask, Resident Evil is definitely 2) and Amnesia manages to brilliant sail forward as 3).
Point being, I think there's plenty in Ninja for more ardent stealth folks like me, but maybe we'll actually be able to cross the divide and show some new folks what's so interesting here without losing what's so good about stealth games. We've yet to see if we pulled it off or not, but we'll see soon enough.