Last month 360Monster was invited as part of the Microsoft Xbox Community Network (XCN) to submit a selection of questions, which would be answered in a Q&A session with Duane Colbert, Global Product Manager Xbox. We put this to our community via our forum and in return we received some pressing questions from our members. The most interesting and inventive questions were selected and submitted towards the Q&A interview.

What follows an in-depth Q&A exclusive to XCN members, with Duane recently this month.

How does Tenchu Z let you master your environment?
Tenchu Z is a ninja stealth action game where you customize your own ninja and complete over 50 missions set in Ancient Japan on your way to becoming the ultimate ninja assassin. You master your environment by mastering the ancient art of stealth, knowing how to use the surroundings to your benefit, and completing missions that enable you to buy and make the best use of a variety of ninja accessories. Master the right accessory for the right task at hand and master the stealth kill for best results.

How does Tenchu Z evolve the action of the previous games in the series?

The combat has been definitely been stepped up in Tenchu Z because of the focus on stealth game play. When you are surrounded by a group, they should be hard to beat just like in real life. If you make good use of the various actions, ninja accessories and power ups, you can avoid that situation. Another change is the multiplayer mode and character customization aspect.

Why is stealth so important to Tenchu Z?

The Tenchu series has been evolving steadily as a ninja-themed, stealth action game. Its strengths include the stealth moves and features that convey the stoic nature of real ninjas. Players must constantly monitor their “Ki-Meter” to ensure they remain undetected via sight, sound or even smell. The point system is such that you are rewarded for stealth kills and conversely are deducted points for every second you are being actively detected or are attempting non-stealth hand to hand combat.

We’ve heard that your enemies can smell you in Tenchu Z. How does this work?

As you play, you can pickup scents from blood spatters, falling into soiled waters or walking through chicken coops that will cause your enemies to detect you via your rank odour! There are also dogs throughout some levels that will detect this smell and alert others to your location if you aren’t careful or don’t use the ninja cleansing accessory.

Why is it cool to be a ninja in Tenchu Z?

Who doesn’t like to be a ninja? In addition to all the cool, yet simple to execute stealth kill moves, players get to customize their ninja to their liking. You can customize your ninja’s appearance through a selection of gender, face types, hair features, tattoos, outfits and clothing accessories and further adjust your ninja’s attributes that include vitality, strength and agility. You can also select the type of attack your character will specialize in and optimize your skills with exciting combination moves. Additionally, abilities can be increased with new moves available for purchase through gold coins awarded for successful missions.

Some of the stealth kills are pretty gory – can you explain how they work and what kind of results players will get?

If you aren’t into blood, this can be toggled off in the options menu. All the stealth kills are context sensitive… so depending on your approach and position, you’ll see a different result. All the kills are easy to execute with a single button push when you see the stealth kill mark on the screen. Essentially just use your mastery of stealth to sneak up on your enemies, and a circle of 9 Japanese characters will appear on-screen when you are close enough to perform a stealth kill. Just press a single button and sit back and enjoy your cool moves. How you choose to handle your sword now directly relates to your ability to remain silent. Sheath your weapon to remain hidden or unsheathe it attack your enemies. A variety of stealth-kill options are available so that you can sneak attack an opponent from behind, while hanging from the ceiling, through a door or screen, or even from under the floor. The new double kill technique allows you to eliminate multiple opponents without sacrificing your stealth.

What other kinds of cool stealthy moves can you pull off in Tenchu Z?

You can use your grappling hook to hop up to the rooftops to get above the action and choose your targets wisely, or just squat down in a bush, peek around corners, or use one of your trusty ninja accessories to distract or subdue your foe.

How does Tenchu Z’s Xbox Live mode work?

There’s new co-op play in Tenchu Z where the players can help one another complete the mission or partner on individual kills along the way. For example, one player could act as a decoy as the other player sneaks come from another direction to sneak up from behind an unsuspecting enemy. This requires good teamwork and smart tactics. Of course, players can choose to disrupt other players or act on their own, but the outcome will not be favourable since the missions are designed to reward team success over individual success.

Thank you Duane for your time


Luke De'ath

Bristol based Luke is a keen gamer who enjoys a good FPS or Stealth title. His Favourite game is Metal Gear Solid. Luke also loves FIFA and is a season ticket holder for Bristol Rovers FC

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