Late last year, GREE, the developers of NARUTO Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Blazing, announced that the game would be shutting down.
This announcement came as a surprise to many, but was expected for others. Many players had expressed their concern for the game and it’s ability to stay up and running, due to the developer team getting more and more greedy with content. This was often expressed via “memes” in places such as the fan-made subreddit.
After a lifespan of over 4 years, the announcement that the game would be shutting down, was made public in early december 2020, which explained to player what would happen when the game was fully shutdown, in early feburary 2021.
In anticipation for the 3 and a half year anniversary for another Naruto Gacha game, Naruto x Boruto: Ninja Voltage, ShonenGames conducted an interview with game producer, Masahiro Shirasaki on march the 30th. Due to the current COVID-19 situation, the interview was carried out in a virtual environment, as traveling is not as easy as it once was, but also due to the health risks. This interview asked some predictable questions, such as:
“What can we expect in terms of content for the upcoming anniversay?“
“Do you have any major content update planned for the game?“
Along with the follow-up questions:
“Can you tell us when this update is scheduled to be released?“
Masahiro Shirasaki was the game producer of both Naruto x Boruto: Ninja Voltage as well as NARUTO Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Blazing, when it was still online. The interviewer, Kevin Sanchez, took this opportunity to ask about the shutdown of NARUTO Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Blazing. Despite his questions being met with a lot of “No comment” responses, Kevin carried on. Eventually, Kevin Sanchez asked about how the shutdown came to be:
“How long had the shutdown of the game been on the drawing board?“
To which game producer Masahiro Shirasaki responded:
“The shutdown had been planned for a while. We had earlier released some April Fool’s day content that we thought was well worth it, and it also seemed that way to the players, however, we wanted to build on this idea we had, so we contacted our server host and asked, if it would be possible to shutdown the servers around april 1st in the new year. They responded quickly and let us know that it was no problem, and the servers would be shutdown on march 27th. After this, we thought everything was fine, but as it turned out, it wasn’t. We were contacted again by our server host a few months later, with the bad news that they shutdown had to be moved to, at the latest, feburary. We had no choice but to simply comply, and have the game shutdown quite a while before we had planned.“
It was then, Kevin Sanchez jokingly asked:
“Well. What was this ‘plan’ you had? Shut the game down a few days before April Fool’s day and then turn the servers back on again after April Fool’s day? *Nervous chuckle*“
Much to the surprise of Kevin Sanchez, Masahiro Shirasaki responded with:
“Yes. We wanted to update our ‘pranks’ like we did in 2018 with the prank that turned the game into a Role Playing Game (RPG). This time, we had thought of the perfect plan, even if the timing came to be a little flawed, we still wanted to execute the prank, as we didn’t have a back-up plan to rely on.“
Descriped as having a “shocked face”, Kevin Sanchez asked:
“So, this means the game will be back online again after April Fool’s day?“
To which Masahiro Shirasaki clarified:
“Yes. Following the usual schedule we had when the game was online, the game can be expected to be online again on april 6th after a maintenance. We have in mind to compensate all players with an attractive amount of premium Ninja Pearls. In the time that the game has been offline, we have also worked on new content set to be released in the coming months.“
After a few more non-important questions, the interview concluded.
With this news, players can expect to be able to play NARUTO Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Blazing again as usual after april 6th.