How Bruce Willis Saved Tomonobu Itagaki - D.I.C.E. 2012

How Dead or Alive 2 drove Itagaki to drink, and how Aerosmith and Armageddon saved his life.

"Aerosmith and Armageddon saved my life, my company, my friends and my family." Tomonobu Itagaki said that during his D.I.C.E. 2012 presentation, a surprisingly personal trip recounting his entry into games, a months-long alcoholic depression spurred by a dispute with Tecmo and the shipping of an unfinished game, and his ultimate redemption thanks to Michael Bay's blockbuster action film featuring a hit song from Aerosmith on the soundtrack. There's more to the story, but it's probably best to let Itagaki explain in his own words.

The D.I.C.E. Summit (Design, Innovate, Communicate, Entertain) is a once yearly conference dedicated to exploring approaches to the creative process and artistic expression as they uniquely apply to the development of interactive entertainment. It is organized by the Academy of Interactive Arts and Sciences and hosts the annual Interactive Achievement Awards, which celebrate the best games of the past year, as voted by AIAS members. Comedian Jay Mohr will return to host the awards show, which takes place on February 9.

For more, check out GameSpot's coverage page, which will feature full video of every panel and keynote address from the 2012 D.I.C.E. Summit.

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Discussion

64 comments
was2
was2

madre mia pobre itagaki prospero año Mr Itgaki San

was2
was2

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

BSEE10
BSEE10

W/ curled hair, Micheal Jackson

xavvor1
xavvor1

I liked Todd Howard's presentation better

mc_snap
mc_snap

It take a strong person to share that type of story publicly. Great story and a great game developer.

AceBalls
AceBalls

Itagaki is awesome. Michael Bay is garbage.

NS_Sonic204
NS_Sonic204

Very moving. Definitely worth listening to.

rasputin177
rasputin177

its awesome that a man who reads Raymond Carver can cry from Armaggedon.

chechak7
chechak7

Such a SEXY translator :P

rasputin177
rasputin177

Raymond Carver is awesome read alot of him in college.

FusionHunterX
FusionHunterX

Is it just me, or does her English sound semi-British?

BillyColeman
BillyColeman

his story moves me hes real not fake Tomonobu Itagaki will all ways be a god in my book

Excetera-ZEN
Excetera-ZEN

This man is a true inspiration to future developers. What a guy, great story.

mbchfdh2
mbchfdh2

Dude looks like a lady...

Fandango_Letho
Fandango_Letho

Look, Itagaki, we all have problems. If Bruce Willis and Aerosmith saved your '' life '' ( actually, gave you the balls to stop whining and realize that your situation is far from being horrible ), then good for you. Cool story itaga-bro.

OkamiWoodson
OkamiWoodson

When Itagaki-san left TECMO, I was heart broken. All of his games were quality games that didn't just hide behind their names. I always wondered what really happened and I am glad he shared that with us. As a writer and a future game designer, I took every word he said to heart. All media is a way and the best way to make an impact in peoples lives. I pray that Itagaki-san's Studio does well and one day I hope to call him my sempai. Thank you for your passion Itagaki-san.

Yulaw2000
Yulaw2000

Deep guy. We need more developers with such passion for making good games, instead of just trying to make as much money as possible.

Johny_47
Johny_47

@Her0 That does... *puts glasses on* ...look shady YEEEEEAAAAHH! =P He looks cool, if you really want answers though, ask the CSI TV teams =)

hyksiu
hyksiu

Did anyone else constantly look at the translator's legs?

WolfattheDoor34
WolfattheDoor34

Aerosmith and Armageddon - I can't decide which is more awful.

Her0
Her0

Why this guy wearing sun glass in such a dark place? :S

Devils-DIVISION
Devils-DIVISION

Bruce Willis saved everyones life. That asteroid wasn't just headed for Itagaki's house...

Kleeyook
Kleeyook

I'm glad he has the same taste as me. I found critics towards Armageddon to be unbelievable (the movie got extremely low average scores on Metacritics) despite the fact that it's my most favorite movie. "I Don't Want To Miss A Thing" has also become my all time favorite song. Still, his personality doesn't seem to be great, but it's not like everyone can be a saint anyway and I'm sure the molestation things he was accused of might just be a normal behavior of people in Japan to let their frustration of their superior on their workers.

Aurey
Aurey

Glad to know more about him. Can wait to play Devil's third, but I feel a bit sad to think he won't be making anymore DOA or NG games.

OHGFawx
OHGFawx

It was Ninja Gaiden 2 that shipped unfinished in my opinion (Ninja Gaiden Black is a masterpiece). That game had some strange glitches, and a few flat out terrible bosses. On the hardest difficulty, NGB gave you the ultimate test of reflexes and skill while NG2 gave you an exhaustive lesson in how to be spammed to death by off screen projectiles. He knew there would be some Japanese players that would become very skilled at NG, but when he found out how many American and European players were beating Ninja Gaiden on the hardest difficulty he felt ashamed that the game was too easy and immediately got to work on NGB. (Source: Game Informer). I look forward to the Devil's Third and Itagaki-san's hopeful return to prominence. We need game directors like him.

Ladiesman17
Ladiesman17

It's confirmed, next title from Tomonobu Itagaki's Devil's third will comes out on PC too :D

Firzenzo
Firzenzo

too badass to talk in english

psuedospike
psuedospike

Why does it not surprise me that Itagaki has sh@# taste in movies?

Jonny-Two-Delta
Jonny-Two-Delta

Woooo, got a bit choked up there. Itagaki-san's a cool guy. Eccentric, yet grounded in ways that most people aren't. DoA2:Ultimate has always been my fave in the series. Felt like the most complete title, with the most to offer, and the most refinement. I look forward to DoA5, but also to whatever Itagaki-san puts his creative talents to in the future.

Lhomity
Lhomity

Ugh. Cannot stand that song. My ex-girlfriend played it all the time. It drove me nuts. But for reals, I love Bruce Willis. Die Hard is still one of the greatest movies ever made. 12 Monkeys, The Fifth Element, The Sixth Sense, Unbreakable... He's one of my heroes too.

alecrast82
alecrast82

lol, Steven Tyler didn't write the Armageddon song

BranKetra
BranKetra moderator

It is good to see that he's getting back on track.

pokecharm
pokecharm

a surprisingly nice story :)

stick2zero
stick2zero

Itagaki baby! The man brought us D.O.A, Although that chick is kind a hot though it was she make me watch this whole thing.

Montrovant1488
Montrovant1488

Itagaki has all my respect and admiration (the lady is not bad either)

nparks
nparks

So, do Itagaki's awesome games make up for Michael Bay's terrible movies? Tough question. Ninja Gaiden was one of the greatest games ever. But the Transformers movies felt like Bay was molesting my inner child.

CronoFrank
CronoFrank

Proof that "I don't wanna miss a thing" is a powerful song ! I listen to it all the time.