Nels Anderson did not want another Ninja Gaiden.

"That's kind of weird," the lead designer of Mark of the Ninja explained in an interview with Polygon. "The ninja as a fictional pop-culture construct affords things like being sneaky and undetected and agile and fast. But, in games, aside from Tenchu, anything with a ninja is just, 'Fucking murder all the dudes, blood, gore, cutting helicopters with giant swords.'"

It wasn't a denigration of those games as much as a level of surprise. Ninjas are trained not to be seen, so why do most ninja games involve creating as much chaos as possible?

"If you want to make a stealth game, you don't want to vomit out some long, complicated exposition like, 'Oh, you're commandos with psychic power, blah blah blah.' You just want to say, 'You're a ninja.' It feels like it should calibrate people's expectations appropriately, being stealthy and all that. But, for some reason that never really happened in games. So I was like, 'Fuck it, let's just do that.'"