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Itagaki Resigns From Tecmo, Sues Company
Itagaki Resigns From Tecmo, Sues Company
June 3, 2008 | By Brandon Boyer, David Jenkins

June 3, 2008 | By Brandon Boyer, David Jenkins
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In surprise news, a representative close to controversial Ninja Gaiden developer Tomonobu Itagaki has told Gamasutra he has left Japanese publisher and developer Tecmo and the Team Ninja studio which he headed. Renowned also for the Dead Or Alive series as well as his forthright opinions on rival games, Itagaki’s departure appears acrimonious.

The representative confirmed to Gamasutra in a release that Itagaki has resigned and filed a complaint in the Tokyo District Court against Tecmo for unpaid completion bonuses and against the Tecmo president Yoshimi Yasuda for “such unlawful acts as unreasonable and disingenuous statements made towards me, claiming damages in total of 148 million yen” ($1.42m).

"Before the start of development on Dead or Alive 4, Tecmo Co., Ltd. had agreed to pay a completion bonus to me for this Xbox 360 title, which I produced. However, when the time came for the actual payment, Tecmo Co., Ltd. went against its previous agreement and refused payment”, said Itagaki in the statement.

“President Yoshimi Yasuda chose not only to violate this agreement, but also turned defiant," he continued, "telling me 'if you are dissatisfied with the decision not to pay the bonuses, either quit the company or sue it.' In addition, he made demeaning remarks about me to my subordinates and colleagues, causing me significant emotional distress and worsening my personal relationships and work environment."

In recent press interviews for the just released Xbox 360 exclusive Ninja Gaiden II, Itagaki had repeatedly stated that it would be the last game in the series he would work on, while also disparaging Ninja Gaiden Sigma on the PlayStation 3 – with which he was not directly involved.

At the same time he began to make reference to work beginning on a new action title unrelated to Ninja Gaiden. It now seems likely that these comments were made with the knowledge that the title would not be created at Tecmo, although Itagaki has given no indication of what his future plans might entail.


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Comments


Kale Menges
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It'll be interesting to see where he ends up. This guy is such an eccentric character, but he does know his stuff. Ninja Gaiden (on the original Xbox) became the foundation for so many different games that have come after it. He is a master of presentation. I think he should get in on that little gathering that Shinji Mekami and Suda 51 have going on...

Andrew Dovichi
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No doubt the man knows his fighters; but I wouldn't be surprised to see him have trouble landing another job as good as the one he left, he's too big of a liability. If our industry has ever had it's 'rock star', it's Itagaki. What other high profile developers have you heard of getting slapped with a sexual harassment suit?



I'd wager that he's going to open up his own studio.

brandon sheffield
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kale - mikami and suda aren't doing anything together.

Thomas Grove
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Brandon - maybe kale meant "start his own company"?

brandon sheffield
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I'm pretty sure he meant Platinum Games, like everyone seems to think he should do, and I was just being a jerk about it. Itagaki will not join Platinum though, given all the disparaging things he's said about Kamiya, and how they're all friendly jovial guys, and he's cantankerous and egotistical.

Anonymous
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All this in mind, it seems kind of odd that someone at Tecmo would do this. Kind of a shoot yourself in the foot kind of feel to it really, when Itagaki's no longer the driving force behind the Ninja Gaiden games I'd wager the series is going to suffer heavily for it. There's plenty of support for this though in other game series, when you take the heart behind it out the series tends to lose it's way.

Christian Nutt
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Actually, I really liked Yosuke Hayashi, for what it's worth. He's the guy who was the director of Sigma. I have a feeling he can continue work on the series -- he's young, and seems self-assured, at the very least. Very different personality from Itagaki.



In a previous life, I interviewed him...



http://www.gamesradar.com/ps3/f/ninja-gaiden-sigma-interview/a-20
07051893455532082/g-2006092210916705008

Anonymous
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Maybe Itagaki should join Yu Suzuki in "retirement." He hasn't really brought anything new to the table with the DOA series or Ninja Gaiden II (unless you count physics-driven breasts and mindless, repetitive violence). He's akin to a dinosaur regurgitating 80's game designs.

Rodney Brett
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He can always go to Namco and develop the next "Tekken" game, seeing he's such a huge fan.(sarcastic, of course.)


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