Ninja Gaiden II director Itagaki quits Tecmo

Team Ninja head Tomonobu Itagaki to sue Tecmo for 148 million yen ($1.4 million); quits company on eve of Ninja Gaiden II release.

by

Tomonobu Itagaki.

Tomonobu Itagaki, the controversial game designer behind the resurrected Ninja Gaiden series and the various Dead or Alive games, has quit Japanese dev company Tecmo. Itagaki's move comes on the eve of his latest game's US release, Ninja Gaiden II, and just days before the game ships globally.

In a statement released to the media, Itagaki said that he was leaving Tecmo due to unpaid bonuses, and that he is suing the Japanese company for 148 million yen ($1.4 million). The head of Team Ninja stated that his last day on the job will be on July 1, 2008.

"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. President Yoshimi Yasuda chose not only to violate this agreement, but also turned defiant, 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. Thus, I have no choice but to resign from Tecmo Co. Ltd.," the statement said.

Itagaki also addressed gamers directly in his statement, saying that he will never be able to make Dead or Alive 5.

"I truly feel sorry to all the fans of the games I have made. Ninja Gaiden II, which will launch on the 3rd of June, will be the last Ninja Gaiden I will create. I will also never be able to make Dead or Alive 5. I regret the circumstances that have forced me to leave Tecmo, where I had worked for so many years, and I regret the disappointment this will cause my fans," he said.

Itagaki has had a colorful past in game design, with some critics lambasting his games for their highly sexualised portrayal of female characters. Itagaki himself was accused of sexual harassment in 2006, a claim that Tecmo rebuffed.

Check back with GameSpot soon for more updates on this story as it develops.

Discussion

810 comments
Incubus420
Incubus420

LOL he is Crazy looking...Oh well his games were getting old anyway. Now its time for him to go back to the Sony Brand and make some Bada$$ games for a company that will actually pay him.

YoJim8obaJoe
YoJim8obaJoe

So who owns the rights to DOA?Tecmo or the creator,will we see another FEAR where they continue making games in the series but have to change the name due to copyright crap?

Rhen_Var
Rhen_Var

If they keep doing this then they should make the upgrades cheaper :(

OnyxPhoenix12
OnyxPhoenix12

Huh. That sucks, I actually like the Dead or Alive series. Fun combat. ...and...y'know. On the extreme off-chance that there might be a plot...maybe...? ...pity they haven't gotten hair in games quite right while the guy was here.

SonicRaptor
SonicRaptor

I will laugh so hard if he joins EA along with all the other wash-ups in gaming. I will laugh so hard.

EtriusQuill
EtriusQuill

LORDCOSMOS needs to see a psychatrist.

LORDCOSMOS
LORDCOSMOS

LORD COSMOS is going to have to agree with the lot of you, Itagaki was one of the real creative forces in the industry, dead or alive and ninja gaiden are series that none of us would like to see "die" anytime soon. Say what you will about his character, DOA, NG:B are superior examples of this art form we call gaming. LORD COSMOS can't ask for another proper DOA or ninja gaiden, that would be too much to ask for. LORD COSMOS can only hope Itagaki will have a lingering fondness for those two genre's and revisit them, in hopes of creating either spiritual successors (a 'la rogue trip) or having tecmo's in house team pick up development on these two (a 'la twisted metal III) either way, very few people win in this situation. LORD COSMOS HAS SPOKEN

McGregor
McGregor

Sucks for gamers everywhere. He made some great games.

Mikect87
Mikect87

nothing is creepier than that picture of bob saget

dex_man
dex_man

Everything about him screams douchebag. They did a show on him on G4 a couple years ago. I remember him (via a translator) saying that he would never have his characters be nude because he thinks of them as his DAUGHTERS (in reference to the Dead or Alive girls). Has he actually played DoA? I don't care what anybody says... That's creepy, man.

KryptAngel
KryptAngel

People try to say that tecmo's stock going into the toilet had nothing to do with itagaki quitting but seriously its a bit too coincidental that a nose dive like that come at the same time even on the heels of a high profile release like NG II lol. Kinda sucks for tecmo them losing itagaki is almost like konami losing kojima . For a guy who's pretty well known for his ego I'm surprised he walked away only wanting money owed I half expected him to try to take his franchises with him. Then again maybe he tried and Tecmo had the sense not to even entertain the idea lol

Rikstah
Rikstah

He'll start another franchise with some other company eventually

Mystearical
Mystearical

So what's Itagaki gonna do now? @Loogie_Man LOLOLOLOLOLOL - EXACTLY WHAT I THINK!!

GreenSamurai07
GreenSamurai07

Haha, there goes the good games coming out for Xbox 360.

StillFreeTagger
StillFreeTagger

And so the industry loses both one of its most cherished franchises and developers.

Red_Trigger
Red_Trigger

Uh, why wasn't this ended with: Now what?

mlbslugger86
mlbslugger86

damn...it's sucks to see him go, after all, he was supposedly the father of the xbox...

DecadesOfGaming
DecadesOfGaming

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

Loogie_Man
Loogie_Man

When I look at his picture I get this vibe from him. It's a dirty vibe, like he was some sort of decrepit, washed up porn star in his earlier years. It might explain how he made the Dead or Alive series. I mean women with such defining features seemed to be a central motif throughout the series.

Timberwolf8889
Timberwolf8889

Eh, he seems like kind of a jerk oh well, his games were cool, but I'm sure the world will go on

chroniclehobbit
chroniclehobbit

There wasn't going to be a ninja gaiden 3 either way. Itagaki demands the money that was promised to him and other employees. I think he feels that his loyalty should've payed off. All he wants is what he feels he deserves. I'm not going to sit around and criticize his character. I never knew he was leaving Tecmo, nor did I care. I know that there is no room for feminist ranting, that clearly targets males as a problem, and at the same time, does not take the time to read over their posts for mis-spellings, and typos. And they did not take the time to think over in their brain that they (themselves) are disrespectful, and it is clear that they do not care about anything but hearing themselves talk. I just hope that they speak better than they type. Please no more rude, or feminist posts, or I will report to the gamespot head moderators. Any ways. My apologies. If he feels he is not getting what he worked for, then he is entitled to take any action necessary. That's just my respectful (more respectful than others) opinion.

ctje
ctje

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

gDamascus
gDamascus

I'm seeing strange parallels between this and the Current War of the early 20th century. Just like Tecmo, Edison says he will pay a large sum of money if Tesla (the parallel of Itagaki) completes his assigned job. Tesla succeeds, and Edison refuses to pay. Tesla leaves and ends up dominating the Current market (pun intended) over his former boss. Of course they are very different in time and details, but the overall similarities are very compelling. It will be interesting to see if Itagaki can do better elsewhere. Now all I have to do is find the modern parallel of propaganda videos of elephants being subjected to lethal doses of electricity.

perfectdefect
perfectdefect

Wouldnt mind seeing him go to grasshopper studios, personally.

runstalker
runstalker

He's a dick a lot of the time, but a great artist. The Tecmo prez is a fool for crossing him out. Whatever Itagaki does next will make a lot of money, as his Dead or Alive and Ninja Gaiden designs did. The man is a Michael Bay of sorts, always going for big, overblown--usually with visually explosive results, mixed emotional results, always with big opening sales. Like him or not, he's necessary. >

balanekk
balanekk

tecmo is still around? must not have released a good game in ages.

Jshaw71
Jshaw71

that's too bad he had to quit, but i wont miss him, he's an overated game designer that has a rock star attitude, i diblt like that attitude in anyone...

CVM_123
CVM_123

im going to cry naa just joking

d_love
d_love

gigity gigity...... alllllll right

TKandPBC
TKandPBC

once he wins the lawsuit, he should use the money to open up a new studio, and have a pirate game (by pirate i mean sailors with one leg and a parrot) to compete with tecmo's ninjas. :P

buckybuckster
buckybuckster

Even with the departure of Itagaki, i'm sure there will be more DOAs and NGs in Tecmo's future, they are their 2 marquee titles and most likely the only reasons why Tecmo is still around. Seeing that these 2 titles appeal mostly to the more knowledgeable hardcore segment of gamers, it's going to be interesting to see if they continue to give these pair of games their support, knowing that the man primarily responsible for their creative vision and direction is gone.

jmartin1016
jmartin1016

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

Vokail
Vokail

no doa5, no ng3? :(

Gameboy2k
Gameboy2k

@ TheGum I hope you're right.

DecadesOfGaming
DecadesOfGaming

IF THESE RUMORS ARE TRUE... TOMONOBU ITAGAKI SHOULD CREATE HIS OWN STUDIO/COMPANY THEN CREATE ANOTHER GREAT FRANCHISE FOR MICROSOFT..HOPEFULLY SOMETHING THAT WOULD MAKE YOSHIMI YASUDA EXTREMELY ENVIOUS.

Shattered_Dead
Shattered_Dead

If he quit just because of money, than he is one happy bastard. You know Microsoft or some big name studio is going to pick him up with a boat load of cash, I mean look at Ninja Gaiden or DoA, they're great! Now who would really pass up having someone like him on their side? The issue is that with his record people may not hire him.

combatsoldier
combatsoldier

Itagaki has already achieved gaming respect around the globe and will be sorely missed however he will do great because he is money baby pure money.

TheGum
TheGum

Well, if he wins the lawsuit, he can always start up his own company.

d3f1anc3
d3f1anc3

While the man is an ass, he is one of the industries most talented artists. He will be missed, and so will his franchises. I just finished Ninja Gaiden II and it was pretty fkn amazing, so if anything, it was a good way to go out. And I agree 100% with any statement related to his personal demenor / behavior. Pretty pathetic to be involved in a sexual harrassment suit, and constantly put down other companies, developers, and franchises. Being outspoken is one thing, but thats crossing the line. I'll miss DoA and NG, but perhaps the industry is better off without him. I'm sure he will make his own developement studio outside of TECMO, or get picked up by one.

DeadlyOnez
DeadlyOnez

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

DeadlyOnez
DeadlyOnez

I recieve -7 thumbs down for a breast deduction joke(lol) people are to serious on here. The man is a petty! He create a 14 yr half naked chick character in ninja gaiden 1. Give him his money so he can spend it at the nearby strip club.

thecakeisalie47
thecakeisalie47

maybe if this dude would stop making creepy/void of story games and stop sexually harassing secretaries and wearing "cool" clothes.... go ahead, report me you angry nerds

Nharia12
Nharia12

With a talent like his some company will pick him up. Unless Tecmo goes on defensive and starts saying bad things about him.

having_trouble2
having_trouble2

no ninja gaiden 3!!!!!! nooooooooooooooooooooo!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Jedilink109
Jedilink109

That totally sucks dude. I hope he can get on another game design team.