Ninja Slayer game gets a sudden name change on Steam because some weren’t aware it was related to the series

The official Twitter account for the cyberpunk ninja novel Ninja Slayer has announced that the name of the tie-in game AREA 4643 has been changed. The new title is NINJASLAYER: AREA 4643, and it was changed because of the number of people that didn’t know it was a Ninja Slayer game.

Tweet Translation:
“◆WNS◆ The series tie-in game AREA 4643 has appeared in events like RTA in Japan but because so many were saying “I didn’t know this was a Ninja Slayer game,” and, “why didn’t anyone tell me?” we changed the name to NINJASLAYER: AREA 4643. It will continue to fully support Japanese language options.”

NINJASLAYER: AREA 4643 is a top-down shooting game set in the cyberpunk city of Neo-Saitama. The game is based on the Ninja Slayer Japanese novel series that was serialized on Twitter and was released for PC by Diehardtales Games and indie game developer DeathMofuMofu.

As previously mentioned, the game was originally released for Steam as AREA 4643 on December 21, 2018. The recent title change seems to have been sparked by the RTA in Japan Summer 2022 event that was held just the other day.

RTA in Japan is a speedrunning event featuring a variety of games, with AREA 4643 being one of them this time around. Speedrunner frapan used Ninja Slayer protagonist Kenji Fujikido for their run and demonstrated skillful bullet dodging while taking down enemies with shots and bombs. After a hard-fought showdown with the final boss, frapan cleared the game in 13 minutes and 15 seconds, faster than planned.

frapan’s excellent play and lively commentary also served to get the chat fired up. But for some viewers, it was also enlightening as comments could be seen by some saying they didn’t know it was a Ninja Slayer game.

Of course, there were also many viewers that knew it was an official Ninja Slayer game. However, some said that at a glance you wouldn’t know the title AREA 4643 is for a Ninja Slayer game, and even when seeing the gameplay, it’s not unlikely that many wouldn’t make the connection.

Taking all of that into account, the official Twitter account announced a name change for the game. The name of the game is now NINJASLAYER: AREA 4643, making it clear that it’s related to the Ninja Slayer series. The Japanese Steam page adds, “After watching RTA in Japan and seeing nobody realize that this was a Ninja Slayer game, we added the title.” It looks like the official Ninja Slayer account was also watching RTA in Japan, and because of that, were aware of viewers’ reactions. Frapan also seemed surprised that their run caused a reaction from the official account.

Tweet Translation:
I didn’t imagine my run would get the name of the game changed!

But why did many not originally realize this was a Ninja Slayer game? In addition to the possible reasons mentioned above, it’s likely because only the most hardcore fans would understand the reference in the title.

The “4643” in the title refers to the Yoroshisan pharmaceutical company in the series. In Japanese, the numbers 4-6-4-3 can be read as yo-ro-shi-san. Plus, the Ninja Slayer doesn’t appear in the screenshots on the store page and was added to the game after launch. The popular Yakuza Tengu character has been in the game since launch but could have been overlooked by those not closely familiar with the series.

Those that noticed the use of the so-called “ninsatsugo,” the way the series uses text to sound like a stilted translation, might have caught on that it was a Ninja Slayer game, but that also feels more like a nod to hardcore fans. Overall, AREA 4643 is a high-context work.

It was probably a good call to change the title so fans can easily recognize it as Ninja Slayer. It might even bring in a new batch of players who are searching for a game by simply using the search terms “Ninja Slayer.” At least we hope so.

NINJASLAYER: AREA 4643 is now available on PC (Steam).

Written by. Nick Mosier based on the original Japanese article (original article’s publication date: 2022-08-17 18:02 JST)