Reports: More staff sue Tecmo

According to news on Japanese Web sites, employees are launching a class-action suit at the Tokyo District Court for unpaid overtime.

The creator of Ninja Gaiden and Dead or Alive, Tomonobu Itagaki, quit Japanese developer Tecmo earlier this month and claimed that it owed him close to a cool million dollars. On announcing his departure, Itagaki also said he would be suing the company in an attempt to get his hands on the cash.

On June 16, more Tecmo employees followed him, filing a lawsuit with the Tokyo District Court for unpaid wages totalling ¥8.3 million ($77,000), reports the Japanese-language Game Watch Impress.

The suit alleges that four years ago, Tecmo illegally placed workers on a "flexible hours" scheme, reports Kotaku. It reports that under the new regime, overtime wasn't paid--and has been clocked up at a constant 100 hours or so per month.

The two plaintiffs who filed the case reportedly represent all 300 Tecmo employees, and also claim that the company created false documents and covered up accounting records.

Tecmo declined to comment on the reports at this time.

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122 comments
rotnem
rotnem

Total pwnage. And to think, in 10 years time I'll be going into the game industry, hopefully.

Raisuke
Raisuke

I really hope this doesn't end with the demise of Tecmo/Team Ninja and DOA and NG. I am really looking to seeing how much better the games will be without Itegaki holding their potential back believing his games are so perfect that they don't need to change in the sequels.

perryg84
perryg84

It is surprising to learn of these turn of events. I am still glad to find that under such dire working conditions the teams were still able to create incredible AAA titles.

Ranteal
Ranteal

Hey Micro$oft, I think Tecmo's gonna be for sale real soon.

vietboi89
vietboi89

theres obviously some corruption here I hope DOA, NG and Fatal Frame doesn't discontinue, that would just break my heart, seeing such fantastic titles die from some problems that deal with money of all things. You would think they would have no financial problems since they are so successful in Japan, America and other countries. Whats a few million dollars to Tecmo, I'm sure they make enough to run a country.

Talgrath
Talgrath

And that's exactly my point, dvdragon; the NES Ninja Gaiden games were BETTER because they combined great combat with great story. A game that only does good combat and calls itself Ninja Gaiden is thusly NOT living up to the name of Ninja Gaiden.

dvdragon
dvdragon

The new NG games are not SUPPOSED to be about story Talgrath - it's all about combat. And that combat is the best in the business, nuff said.

Talgrath
Talgrath

"Talgrath, obviously you haven't played DOA series or NG! these two games are very much loved by many many gaming fans!! so Tecmo is losing a lot here!" Admittedly, I've only played a little of DOA; but I own Ninja Gaiden Sigma (for my PS3) and played it to completion. Ninja Gaiden is an okay action game, but compared to the achievements of the original Ninja Gaiden series (for the NES) the new Ninja Gaiden games are a poor substitute. Admittedly, the storyline of the original Ninja Gaiden games wasn't terribly deep, but in the days of the NES the Ninja Gaiden games were considerably more complex than their counterparts (including most RPGs at the time). So when I picked up Ninja Gaiden Sigma, I expected a complex, fascinating story of vengeance and honor; instead I got a fairly shallow story and a woman with enormous knockers. It's not that the new Ninja Gaiden isn't a decent game, it's that it's nothing special to me and it doesn't hold up to what the original Ninja Gaiden games were.

stevo_360
stevo_360

Fair enough, if you're not being paid for the hours you work, you should do something about it.

Great_Ragnarok
Great_Ragnarok

Talgrath, obviously you haven't played DOA series or NG! these two games are very much loved by many many gaming fans!! so Tecmo is losing a lot here!

happy666
happy666

well erm their company is screwed then lol no workers thnx temco dunb arsses

BigBadCandyMan
BigBadCandyMan

nooooo tecmo!!!!!!!!! what will happen to fatal frame 4!?!?!?!?!?!

ivan_the_one
ivan_the_one

this is almost unheard of this is somtething I'd expect from an american comapany but the japanese should have more respect for thier employees than to try and screw them over.

CVM_123
CVM_123

now tecmo is doom...

zombey1333
zombey1333

Tsk. Why can't companies use common sense?

BigSmitts07
BigSmitts07

if what they say us true then more power to them

PixyMisao
PixyMisao

This is not a new issue, Japanese game developers have always pulled overtime & near 24/7 shifts (sleeping under their desk at the office) to get games finished on time. So I'm glad that this is finally being addressed, these guys work insane hours with very few breaks, no days off and no vacations. They spend so much time making games that they end up frequently dating and marrying fellow employees.

_JPH_
_JPH_

The boss has left. Now it is up to the team to leave soon. And they should join the boss (Itagaki) and build their own company.

Talgrath
Talgrath

"I don't know what's worse; the lawsuit itself or the fact that 8.3 million yen is only worth $77,000 ($76,837.62, to be exact.)" Quick note here: A "yen" is not like a "dollar" in the US, it's equivalent (in thought terms) to a penny. This means that before comparing dollar to yen, you should take that into account. So in this case, 8.3 million yen, divided by 100 is 83,000 hundred yen (which is what it would mathematically be equivalent to in US dollars); and then the conversion rate covers the rest. That said, it is a bit odd that 300 employees are only suing for that much in unpaid overtime; that's only about $250 a person. I think either someone made a mistake in translation (this was translated from Japanese news articles, mind you) or someone at the place that originally reported this made a mistake. Finally, other people have noted this, but Team Ninja CAN NOT leave Tecmo unless Tecmo is willing to sell the name off to another company. The employees can all leave, and try to get hired on en masse at another company and go by another team name, but such team hirings are extremely rare. So no, Team Ninja isn't going anywhere, but the employees certainly may be leaving; and I say good riddance, Tecmo has put out nothing but mediocre games for years (and I include Ninja Gaiden in that; the new Ninja Gaiden games are no where near the level that the original games were back in the day).

LindBergh2007
LindBergh2007

Timstuff you have a point there. But as for some Team Ninja staff, they could probably join SEGA's AM2 team.(just wishful thinking. Don't take me seriously.)

Chief_Kuuni
Chief_Kuuni

if it's true then hopefully the workers get their money

nnn2004
nnn2004

come on tecmo its a few million dolars.

Timstuff
Timstuff

LindBergh2007, Team Ninja cannot "exit" Tecmo, because they are a subsidy of them. There could be a lot of departures from the studio, but they can't take the Team Ninja name with them to another publisher. Yuji Naka (creator of Sonic the Hedgehog) left Sonic Team and Sega a long time ago, and the current "Sonic Team" really has nothing in common with the team Naka founded except that it makes Sonic games, and Sega still owns them. Naka could not take the "Sonic Team" name with him to his new developer, because Sega owns it. It's the same thing with Team Ninja-- when it comes to their name, at least, they're going nowhere unless Tecmo sells them. However, this latest suite doesn't bode well, and it calls into question Tecmo's credibility when it comes to the Itagaki case. If Tecmo is wise, they'll settle this one out of court so they can save enough face to win against Itagaki. Otherwise, we could be looking at a merger or buyout in the future.

Nocturnal15
Nocturnal15

Paying undeserving people more than the people who makes you successful will come back to haunt you. And this is exactly what is happening to Tecmo.

Jd1680a
Jd1680a

All I could say is Tecmo should have paid their employees the money they deserved. Now they have really big problems in a courtroom.

bennae66
bennae66

oh no. whos going to put individual breast physics in videogames now? whos going to let me use a camera?

LindBergh2007
LindBergh2007

Tecmo is in trouble, and it's becoming more and more obvious that they may be joining the ranks of major U.S. publishers facing bankrupcy,mergers, and poor stock value. How could they rule thier company with hiearchy? How could they pay developers less? Didn't SEGA learn that lesson in the 1990s: NOT to underpay developers and overpay hardware R&D engineers? Yes, it one of the reasons while they had to leave the hardware market but it seems that while SEGA has certianly learned from thier mistakes, Tecmo needs to learn especially the hard way if it all comes down to it. I personally see Ikagaki headed to a hentai game publisher. Yes I seriously believe Ikagaki was to make h games! Don't believe me? check out some of his comments on sexuality in games. I highly doubt Ikagaki will even return to Tecmo. As for Team Ninja, there's going to be alot of speculation where they'll go if they leave Tecmo. Will they join Mircosoft of Japan?SCEI? Not very likely. What I assume(this is just wishful thinking) is that Team Ninja will join Sega and team up with AM2 who knows, they might make a DOA/Fighting Vipes crossover Lindbergh arcade game and work on the next Shinobi title.

hatieshorrer
hatieshorrer

So much for another Ninja Gaiden, DOA and, Tecmo bowl. I think they'll have to sell there franchises to other developers that may or, may not take the time to make a true sequel.

X-RS
X-RS

i wont be surprised if someone comes in with a katana and goes on a killing spree.

panteral3
panteral3

With $1 million, Itagaki-san can get a lifetime supply of Proactiv or a 10 year supply of Accutane. And a decent haircut......

gnbfd
gnbfd

OMGROFLCOPTER!!!!! 300 employees suing? Shame Tecmo. Shame.

umbrae
umbrae

Tecmo... The New EA...

blackdragonfist
blackdragonfist

@Chris-555-Tk You are so right! I 'm not worried about the NG ip Temco is still going to keep it and more then likely there just going to pay up and get new management.

Chris_555_TK
Chris_555_TK

Wow, all that overtime and Ninja Gaiden 2's camera still sucks.

dmfreak
dmfreak

shame on tecmo for making those employees eat large nails but with no big reward for their suffering. if they want to continue their DOA/ninja gaiden series, team ninja should become a freelance developer from now on like suda 51's grasshopper to be published by other game publishers except tecmo.

TwinTiger
TwinTiger

I don't know what's worse; the lawsuit itself or the fact that 8.3 million yen is only worth $77,000 ($76,837.62, to be exact.)

V-Nine
V-Nine

...quote Metal gear solid : "!" ...Somebody's in trouble at the wrong time.

Mattyrock
Mattyrock

Well, if they did give Itagaki his pay bonuses that they promised him, then this wouldn't have happened.

ibra_unit
ibra_unit

Wow... looks like EA has got a new franchise to add to their pocket!

brad1087
brad1087

yeah if some or most of the employees win, doesn't even have to be all of them, bye bye NG series.......

Phazevariance
Phazevariance

I can see it now, Ninja Gaiden 3... stick figure killing random ninja squares, because they don't have any programmers to make it proper.

Emma_UK
Emma_UK

I'm pretty sure they mean $77,000 per employee. That's four years of overtime at 100 hours average per worker or so a month--sounds about right.

AZisBack
AZisBack

Hopefully Tecmo Bowl DS comes out before the studio closes because of lawsuits.