When you think of the Shinobi series, it's hard not to think also of the legendary composer Yuzo Koshiro – despite the fact that his music is only featured in a handful of the Shinobi games.
Koshiro's soundtrack to Revenge of Shinobi / Super Shinobi remains one of the best on the Genesis / Mega Drive, which is made all the more remarkable when you consider that it was a very early release, and that Koshiro was still finding his feet on the Yamaha YM2612 hardware.
Since then, Koshiro has continued to produce amazing music for a wide range of games – including ActRaiser, Streets of Rage and, more recently, Etrian Odyssey – but he's also been involved in developing games via his company Ancient. Since its inception in 1990, Ancient has contributed titles such as Sonic on the Master System and Game Gear, Story of Thor / Beyond Oasis, Protect Me Knight and Gotta Protectors.
Koshiro has recently been showing off his copy of Revenge of Shinobi, which is actually signed by the famous Japanese actor Shinichi "Sonny" Chiba.
The story goes that Sega used Chiba's likeness for Joe Musashi's face on the title screen and cover, and later releases of the game altered this face to avoid legal action. Koshiro states that Chiba signed the copy because "he is very kind and has a sense of humour", but what's really interesting is a follow-up tweet about the chances of Ancient working on a new Shinobi game in the future:
Now, it's often the case that idle messages posted on Twitter are taken as being more serious than they actually are, and we're not for one second assuming Koshiro's tweet means he's knocking on Sega's door 24 hours a day demanding the chance to revive Shinobi, but just think about it. The series has been dormant since the brilliant 3DS reboot from 2011 (and the 3D Classics version of Shinobi III a few years later), yet it still has a fair amount of fame with veteran players. If Sega was to decide to bring Musashi out of retirement, we can't think of anyone better to guide that revival than Koshiro himself.
And given Sega's recent announcement that it will focus on 'existing IPs' after posting a $17 million loss, what better franchise to lead with? We can dream, can we not?