Itagaki surfaces at Valhalla Game Studios

Former Team Ninja developer reemerges as chief technical officer at new studio; longtime Xbox loyalist interested in PC development.

Last week, former Team Ninja developer Tomonobu Itagaki settled a long-standing lawsuit against Tecmo. With the legal spat with his former employer behind him, the developer is ready to focus on making a game for his new employer, which finally received a name today. According to an Andriasang report, the latest print version of Famitsu reveals the developer's new outfit to be Valhalla Game Studios. Previously, the group had been known by the thematically similar but tentative title "Tokyo Vikings."

Knowing Itagaki, Valhalla Game Studios could be a reference to Led Zeppelin as much as the Norse afterlife.

Itagaki will serve as chief technical officer for the company, which was founded by another former Tecmo employee. The developer didn't reveal a name or release window for his current project, but he did tell Famitsu that the game "will be a little bit like nothing anyone has ever seen," according to Andriasang.

One genre the new game will likely avoid is fighting games. As he told the gaming magazine, "At my previous company, I made the best fighting game in the world, Dead or Alive. Fighting games have once again reached a dead end, although to be honest, if there was no Dead or Alive, fighting games would have ended a long time ago."

The fighting genre might not be the only familiar waters Itagaki leaves behind with Valhalla Game Studios. The developer was a vocal supporter of Microsoft's original Xbox as well as the Xbox 360, but would not commit his next game to any specific platform. He indicated that it might arrive on hardware that hasn't yet been released, and specifically expressed an interest in PCs.

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86 comments
DahLong
DahLong

you don't need to learn the language in order to know how to play the game.

codenameaf7
codenameaf7

Let me guess; I have to learn Japanese to play this upcoming game?

Ripper_TV
Ripper_TV

@fetusfart18, of course, I do, but I strogly disagree with those reviews.

was2
was2

ninja gaiden 2 for pc sure will be amaizing !!! or dead or alive series too walking in the future!!

ensatsu-ken
ensatsu-ken

Honestly, as far as the default difficulty settings of NG games go, people greatly exaggerate how tough they are. Its obvious that these people must have never played the original NES NG games which were MUCH harder than the new ones are, evne on their hardest difficulties, IMO. The new games just require a learning curve to get good at, which most casual gamers just don't like, since they just want to button mash. Hell, even in that case NG2 has the Path of the Acolyte difficulty which is easy enough for people to just button mash on.

zomglolcats
zomglolcats

@tbs76: "I just have one thing to say to Mr. Itagaki. Your Ninja Gaiden games would have been better recieved by the general public if you had of made them easy enough for the average gamer to beat without going into controller throwing fits." What? That's the point of Ninja Gaiden, to be ridiculously hard. I'm guessing you never played the original NG games.

ensatsu-ken
ensatsu-ken

fetusfart18: You do know that the amount NGS2 scored higher overall than NG2 is by a measely 0.3 points higher, right? You do also know that it didn't score higher for every review, right? And you do also know that most of the actual NG2 fans did NOT like the changes that Hayashi made in NGS2, because they did not fix any of NG2's real problems, and only padded the game out for more casual gamers, right? Honestly, I do agree that Itagak is arrogant, but I get the feeling that most people here who are bashing him are your standard internet people who just like to bash people because something they say pisses them off greatly. At least when I say he's arrogant, I actually know what the hell I'm talking about, and even then, I don't let that make me completely bias. DoA is far from a great fighting game franchise, but there are far worse ones out there, and it did do some pretty clever and inventive things, mainly like having actual animations that were good and looked like real marital arts fighting. And the NG games I like better than any other hack-and-slash games because the enemies themselves are actually versatile in those games, rather than just standing there waiting for them to hit your and juggle them around mindlessly.

fetusfart18
fetusfart18

Now that I think of it, DOA is probably my least favorite fighting game series. Ever.

fetusfart18
fetusfart18

@Ripper_TV, you do know that Sigma 2 has scored consistently higher rating than regular NG2, right? Anyway I personally hate DOA and thought NG2 was a big disappointment. Don't think Itagaki has anywhere near the right to be as cocky as he's always been....

Ripper_TV
Ripper_TV

@SolanOcard, ha, they already did something without Itagaki, POS named Sigma 2.

SolanOcard
SolanOcard

Shut up Itagaki. Dead or Alive is the best fighting series and the only thing that prevented the fighting Genre from being a dead end a long time ago? I HATE HATE HATE dead or alive. It is boring. I much prefer Tekken (which I have not really played since 4 hit arcades) and Soul Calibur. This might sound harsh, but i think the only reason Itagaki makes Dead or Alive is he thinks of himself as some kind of rockstar, and he needs to be surrounded by babes, but since he is one ugly, pockmarked muthertrucker, the only babes he get (without spending his money) are the virtual denizens of the Dead or Alive franchise. what an egotistical loser. Tecmo definitely the winner of their seperation. I'd like to see what someone without his head shoved up his arse could do for the Ninja Gaiden series.

solidine
solidine

What the hell does "a little bit like nothing anyone has ever seen" mean? Is that like, we've sort of seen it, or it's almost like we haven't seen it?

SciFiCat
SciFiCat

Itagaki being his annoying, pompous self as always. I'm not biting this time, he just throws out inflammatory comments like that to rile up controversy and attention. I really wish for the guy to drop the attitude a couple of notches, I would respect him more as a person as well as a developer if he did.

Great_Ragnarok
Great_Ragnarok

HAHA this is fantastic! I can't wait to see the games he makes. also happy to hear that he's interested in the PC platform. shame though, another NG and DOA from Itagaki would have rocked!

ensatsu-ken
ensatsu-ken

People should know by now that Itagaki will always be cocky. Nothing's going to change that, whether he can back up any of his cocky-ness or not. Personally, though, while I don't feel that he can back himself up on DoA at all, I do feel that he was really able to back up his claims on how great the Ninja Gaiden games are. Personally, I feel that if he is going to be cocky about anything, he should at least choose the game series that more people actually agree is genuinely good, rather than his old fighting game franchise which many people find to be mediocre at best.

SUMMONO
SUMMONO

I like tekken way more than DOA and I'm sure there are lots of people who prefer other fighting games over DOA . Don't be so cocky Itagaki.

Ladiesman17
Ladiesman17

maybe he wants to make a MMO, with many virtual women & anti-gravity breasts. called EXTREME PARADISE.. LoL

ensatsu-ken
ensatsu-ken

Its surprising that some people can't see that he intended to get people all riled up by his intentionally arrogant DOA comment, if only to get some more public attention. That said, as someone who pesonally doesn't care much for DOA (I don't hate it, though), I can say that Itagaki did actually do something brilliant with gaming in making the new Ninja Gaiden series. People can whine and complain about its camera not working right or its difficulty being too cheap all they want, but that doesn't change the fact that me and many others who have spent so much damn time with these fun games have proven that these are truly in-depth skill-based games above all else. I really do hope that whatever Valhalla Game Studios first new game is, that it happens to be something that at least has the same type of spirit as the NG games. They are my favorite action games ever, and part of that is because the enemies in those games are actually challenging and actually try to kill you, which is something that a lot of developers who make games in the same genre could learn from. And, BTW, this isn't an arrogant fanboy statement. I have also played and enjoyed a good portion of DMC games and I also really love Bayonetta. I just like NG more, that's all. =)

buft
buft

i can bet that the new game features realistic breast physics and clantily scad females with worrys about back problems later in life. almost certainly ther will be some form of combat,unfair boss fights and terrible camera

alfredooo
alfredooo

itagaki is back!! can't wait for him to trash upcoming games

Mych53
Mych53

Ah Itagaki, how we have missed you, your shades, and your hilariously overblown ego. Welcome Back!

drangel_jam
drangel_jam

"hardware that hasn't yet been released?" hmn... Speculations please! And as for those getting offendensed, or minding his words, that's Itagaki for ya! While I am the biggest fan of his loud mouth, I respect him a lot for his games, and his drive. You can't blame a man for believe in his own products. As for DOA saving fighting games... Jap please! As much as I love DoA, and yes I'm one of the few who prefers DoA over Tekken, Virtua Fighter (although I recon VF, has set its own bar in many ways), and the last Soul Calibur, saying that is bit ridiculous, given that the DoA hasn't outsold Tekken on the last generation, not to mention the elephant in the room: STREET FIGHTER.

tbs76
tbs76

I just have one thing to say to Mr. Itagaki. Your Ninja Gaiden games would have been better recieved by the general public if you had of made them easy enough for the average gamer to beat without going into controller throwing fits. I love the series but never finished either game due to the steep difficulty and overuse of cheap bosses. Maybe thats why Tecmo fired you cause your vision of a great game didn't coincide with the business model.

vader501st
vader501st

Greedy cheap bastard. Kojima, David Cage, Casey Hudson, Miyamoto and many others should teach him how to make a great game...without sounding like a douchebag.

vader501st
vader501st

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

TheShadowLord07
TheShadowLord07

I'm will be interested if he does games for the pc. I would like to see more japanese devs to put there games onto the pc. Hell I wouldn't mind seeing more jrpgs.

migi1688
migi1688

"will be a little bit like nothing anyone has ever seen," lol =)

Yomigaeru
Yomigaeru

It seems you guys are right on the nose about him talking smack to grab media attention. It's a solid strategy. Just think about celebrities you hear about most often. It's not the positive role models like Johnny Depp or Denzel Washington, it's the Snooki and Lindsey Lohan wannabes you hear about everyday.

Richardthe3rd
Richardthe3rd

Despite saying all that crap about how great DoA is, he's constantly praised AM2's Virtua Fighter series. I think he likes talking a lot of smack because it grabs him publicity, which is smart. I won't say he's the greatest thing since white sliced bread, but he definitely seems to know how to get people's attention. In this industry that's increasingly becoming more important.

shinjisic
shinjisic

"I made the best fighting game in the world, Dead or Alive" I don't think Itagaki is stupid, I think that he loves to push people's buttons to no end.

mundus
mundus

He makes it sound like his games are the best in the world :D. Although Ninja Gaiden 1 was very good, he not behind many other "great" games. DoA2 was basically before his time and it is the best DoA imo.

nejixx
nejixx

go ohh great itagaki-sama may god be with you , this guy is a LEGEND .

Pete5506
Pete5506

This to bad, I hope something good can come from this

cameio
cameio

( I made the best fighting game in the world, Dead or Alive)!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! this guy is plain stupid, thanks god they kick him out of team ninja, just PISS OFF u ugly B!T$@h

storm_trooper10
storm_trooper10

HAHAHAH! 'If there was no dead or alive, the h****i industry wouldn't exsit today' Censor those bits because there 12 year old who sometimes use the site.

Krystyan68
Krystyan68

Can you imagine the backlash if Bungie or Infinity Ward said their products were the best ever shooter? DOA & Ninja Gaiden were great, but definitely not brilliant. Despite his loud, self-important & arrogant mouth, he is a creative person worth watching.

kozzy1234
kozzy1234

"At my previous company, I made the best fighting game in the world, Dead or Alive. Fighting games have once again reached a dead end, although to be honest, if there was no Dead or Alive, fighting games would have ended a long time ago." hahaha, classic.. this guy is a genius. This guy has made some serious classic games, one of the best ever imo

Glade_Gnarr
Glade_Gnarr

I just remember why i hate this guy. Although he did revolutionize the genre, I mean, who could have thought of anti gravity boobs.

etai79
etai79

He probably wears glasses all the time because he's high 24/7 - no wonder he says retarded ****.

magicalclick
magicalclick

LOL, "although to be honest, if there was no Dead or Alive, fighting games would have ended a long time ago" the amont of arrogance can't get any higher. But, Ninja Gaiden is amazing though. And he is really focused on what he has aimed to do. I value that very much.

themyth01
themyth01

The guy is pretty full of himself but he made the best 3D hack-and-slash so far, Ninja Gaiden.

dukerav
dukerav

Itagaki's comment about DoA aside, Id love to see what he could come up with on some of the latest and greatest PC hardware. It would be quite interesting indeed, imo.

solidniko
solidniko

make something as crazy as ninja gaiden and maybe ninja gaiden 3?

parrot_of_adun
parrot_of_adun

Cool. Itagaki made DOA the unbelievably strange yet awesome thing it was. Can't wait to see how he influences Valhalla's stuff. And really guys, lighten up. If you heard, say, some Bungie dev claim that Halo was the best shooter ever, then I might be inclined to dispute that. But this is Itagaki we're talking about here. No one expects you to take what he says too seriously.

gamer082009
gamer082009

I love it when they try something new we haven't seen before, it may be limited what it is, but it's always exciting.

Brettsky128
Brettsky128

Well DoA is one of my all time fav fighting games, I hope SOMEBODY will make a new one eventually! I'm not completely sure about the whole "no DOA = no more fighting games" thing, cuz I never thought it was THATpopular, but I loved it since DoA2 on the Dreamcast :)