|• General information•|
|Publisher||Namco Bandai Games|
Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 3, known in Japan as Naruto Shippuden: Narutimate Storm 3 (NARUTO-ナルト- 疾風伝 ナルティメットストーム3) is a fighting game developed by CyberConnect2 as part of the Naruto: Ultimate Ninja video game series which is based on the successful Naruto manga by Masashi Kishimoto. It was released by Namco Bandai Games on March 5, 2013 in North America and March 8, 2013 in Europe. It was released on April 18, 2013 in Japan.
The game has 80 playable characters including several new, making it the largest cast in the Ultimate Ninja series. The fighting system has been modified, with the Awakening Mode, a state that gave each character enhanced abilities when their health was low, being possible to be used at anytime during a fight, for certain characters. As in the previous games, the player can choose two characters to assist the player character in battle. The assisting characters now can also aid the playable one through the use of thirteen different types of combos. Additionally, the assistants have health bars, losing health whenever they get hit, ultimately being unusable when their health bars deplete. Several arenas have become interactive, making the player automatically lose a fight if they leave a specific area.
The story mode is similar to that of Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 2 rather than the previous game Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm Generations as it features boss battles that include quick time events and require the use of strategies to defeat the opponent. The plot starts off by following the ending of Ultimate Ninja Storm 2 but it first focuses on the Nine-Tailed Fox attack to Konohagakure (The Hidden Leaf) with the player first controlling the characters defending the village. From then the game also covers the events from the series' world war adapting past the episodes aired on television by the time the game is released. Thus, Tobi's real identity is never revealed in-game and the War is temporarily won by the Ninja Alliance. It also includes the "Ultimate Decision Mode" which gives the option to change the result of the battles.
Additionally, the game has mob battles in which the player controls a single character that has to battle a series of enemies.
Leaks of a new Naruto game were first shown online through the Weekly Shōnen Jump magazine in June 2012 with Namco Bandai Games confirming it was Ultimate Ninja Storm 3 shortly afterwards. Alongside the official announcement, Yusuke Sasaki from Namco Bandai promised improvements regarding the fighting system and the story mode. In order to make areas more interactive as well as to add more strategy to the fights, the staff added the ring out option.
The story mode was developed to be accessible to people who are not familiar with the Naruto series. CyberConnect2 CEO Hiroshi Matsuyama also promised the return of "epic boss battles" that were absent in Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm Generations. Bandai promoted a vast improvements in the graphics the game would use in the first trailer which was released in July 2012. Two of the alternative costumes available for Naruto Uzumaki, a samurai outfit and Goku's uniform were based on illustrations by Masashi Kishimoto published in a Shonen Jump issue and an artbook. The two of them attracted producer Yuki Nishikawa who consulted other members from the company in order to include them in the game.
In August 2012, CyberConnect2 started a new suggestion forum in their official website, requesting players from all over the world to share their opinions regarding what they would like to see in Ultimate Ninja Storm 3 and upcoming Naruto games they would release. The feedback was used as a reference in creating the game. At Comic-Con International July 2012, Namco Bandai Games America representatives confirmed plans for a March 2013 release in North America. First run copies of the game include a code to download six exclusive costumes; a Goku's costume from Dragon Ball, a samurai suit for Naruto Uzumaki, Road to Ninja costumes for Hinata Hyuga and Sasuke Uchiha, a kimono for Sasuke, full piece swimsuit costumes for Sakura Haruno and Tsunade, a Japanese school uniform for Sakura, and ANBU costumes for Kakashi Hatake and Itachi Uchiha.
On July 4, 2013, Namco Bandai Games Europe announced the official debut of Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 3 Full Burst, which comes in a retail pack or downloadable add-on and with support for PC. The game itself contains numerous additions such as enhanced cinematics from the original game, 38 additional character costumes, more missions and one playable character, and an additional chapter in the game's story mode. It is currently set to be released on October 22, 2013 in North America and winter 2013 worldwide.
The game has sold one millon copies in North America and Europe as of May 2013.