Tecmo affirms Itagaki departure

Japanese publisher acknowledges celebrity gamemaker's departure, says new Dead or Alive and Ninja Gaiden games "already underway" at Team Ninja.

Yesterday was supposed to be a celebratory day for Tecmo and Team Ninja, what with the launch of the anticipated Ninja Gaiden II on the Xbox 360. However, that seemingly joyous occasion took a sudden and severe turn for the worse when the controversial chief of Tecmo's internal development studio Tomonobu Itagaki announced he would be departing Tecmo on less than amicable terms, and had filed suit against the company for an unpaid incentive bonus.

While Tecmo was initially mum over the situation, the Japanese publisher today dispersed to the media a written statement in English, acknowledging Itagaki's departure. "On June 3, 2008, Tomonobu Itagaki, executive producer of Tecmo-owned development studio Team Ninja, submitted his resignation," reads the statement. "Due to the fact that he had recently filed a legal complaint against Tecmo, there was no choice but to accept his resignation."

Tecmo's statement also addressed Itagaki's lawsuit. "The legal complaint is in regards to a claim to an incentive bonus linked to a past project," said Tecmo. "The parties could not reach an amicable resolution to this matter and Itagaki chose to seek a legal remedy. Tecmo will let the court decide the outcome of this case and will seek a true, fair, and quick resolution."

As related by Itagaki yesterday, the celebrity producer is seeking ¥148 million ($1.4 million) in compensation stemming from a completion bonus for Dead or Alive 4. According to Itagaki, when he pursued payment from Tecmo president Yoshimi Yasuda, the executive denied his request, saying, "'if you are dissatisfied with the decision not to pay the bonuses, either quit the company or sue it.'"

In a somewhat penitent moment, Itagaki also expressed remorse to his fans yesterday for not being able to continue the two franchises he is most well-known for--Ninja Gaiden and Dead or Alive. However, Tecmo has said that it not only has no plans to dissolve Team Ninja, but the studio is already at work on a number of new games in both franchises as well.

"Most importantly, Tecmo would like to assure its loyal fans that Team Ninja, known for its top selling and critically acclaimed Ninja Gaiden and Dead or Alive franchises, is intact and, as a matter of fact, have several new projects already underway," said Tecmo. "Team Ninja is, more than ever, committed to producing compelling and cutting edge games in order to maintain its reputation as a high quality developer and to continue to receive the support of its loyal fans."

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Discussion

135 comments
yoyo_beats
yoyo_beats

it doesnt matter if there better sigma was really nothing but a remake just some upgraded graphics and some enemies thats just about it so just a waste of time if you ask me but still itagaki's popular "gamming franchises" is what kept tecmo alive and who told you itagaki didnt work with sigma? black maybe he didnt but i got hard poor he worked with sigma yet that game was still a failure to ps3 thats why they discussing porting it to the 360

happy666
happy666

yhh not being funny bt itagaki had nothing to do with black or sigma which were both better than the first one soo good bye mate

parrot_of_adun
parrot_of_adun

Tecmo better not fail us... Itagaki's were the only good tecmo games to my memory though... Damnit.

Basil777
Basil777

this also means DOA will come to ps3 yay =D

Kraige
Kraige

Well I don't think they'll make the games as good a Itagaki but it will be good that they continue to make them never the less I also think with Tecmo calling all the shots both series could go multi-platform with the next versions as its my understanding that only Itagakis dislike of the PS3 was what kept them as exclusive as they were. Either way if Itagaki continues to make games he's likely to make them 360 exclusive (Hopefully) like Sakaguchi, going on to better his original series like Sakaguchi did with BD and LO, which means 360 would get the best of both with the TN series and Itagakis new games if he makes any.

dvdragon
dvdragon

Well I think Itagaki said it would be HIS last NG, didn't he? (as opposed to it being TN's last NG...)

Indecipherable
Indecipherable

It all depends on Team Ninja. If they decide to make a great game and rub it on Itagaki's face, that's what will happen. If they feel lost without him, the game will suck. However, i see no reason for that to happen, Itagaki's is only one man, I don't think he can affect an entire company. The only thing that puzzles me though, is that they said they'll continue NG. Iagaki said before resigning that the second would be the last in the franchise.

subzerodark01
subzerodark01

what he left that suck it take leadership to make a good game and plus teamwork u can't have team work with out leadership. it would break apart without a good leader to lead the team to victory and success sometime a team fade apart from one another because with different idea and no one that decide to break the voted when make a cast a vote on the idea or not on the idea

hotdork70minus1
hotdork70minus1

I just got Ninja Gaiden II yesterday and WOW !!! Hands down one of the most beautiful games i've ever seen.

mykel77
mykel77

oh my god, you guys act like he was the only person to make those games, it takes a team of like 60, he was just the director. grow up fanboys and expand your minds, itagaki was NOT the only person to make those games. if you ever played doax2, youd see his work was slipping.

gnbfd
gnbfd

What are Ninja Gaiden and Dead or Alive without Itagaki? But maybe those games will finally be on the PS3 now :D

Grandstream
Grandstream

DOA and NG are Tecmo's bread and butter games. Without Itageki at the helm, the games have a 50-50 shot of not sucking. But this means that unlike Bioshock, NG2 may see a PS3 release, after all...

KhanhAgE
KhanhAgE

'Henninger' you're being a hypocritical (insert expletive). You say "Those r his visions & every1 who thinks that they won't suffer w/o him is dumb". But then go on to say "...DOA might actually get better". Don't contradict yourself.

Henninger
Henninger

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

KrunkMastaX
KrunkMastaX

They're continuing NG and DOA without him? There goes those 2 games quality.

ZhugeMarc
ZhugeMarc

Atrimus: that last part would be halfway relevant if Soul Edge and NG were the same genre.

kratos_karmakar
kratos_karmakar

to be completely honest im relieved that ninja gaiden and DOA will continue but im also heartbroken that itagaki for whom those games undeniably had a certain x factor wont be involved. hard to imagine a DOA or NG title without him behind them.DOA and NG might get better or might take a turn for the worse but its a fact that neither series will never be the same without Itagaki-san. damn tecmo for going back on promises.

CStheGreat
CStheGreat

Regardless of who is at fault here, Temco and Team Ninja's reputations will surely suffer from this news. I think it is unfair for Team Ninja, they worked hard on Ninja Gaiden II and instead of celebrating it's release, they are stuck in the middle of a developing legal battle. Best of luck to all parties involved.....

magicalclick
magicalclick

Certain I will go for Itagaki's new IP. As far as NG goes, I loved the series, but I will have to wait and see. NG2 already is not as good when Itagaki is not 120%. I have doubt on NG3. Besides, how many Team Ninja's left with him?

Subterfuge
Subterfuge

Well, it sound like we will be getting the best of both worlds. Ninja Gaiden / DOA sequels will continue to be made, and possibly new Itagaki IPs.

nate1222
nate1222

Ninja Gaiden and DOA were good series'. If they stiffed Itagaki those franchises may suffer for it. I liked DOA and Ninja Gaiden on the original XBox. Hell, I played NG1 & 2 on the 8bit NES when I was a teenager. But as fighting games go, I'm more of a Mortal Kombat man. I still play Deception (GC) and Armageddan (PS2). I own Midway's Arcade Treasures (GC) just for MK2 & MK3 and I own UMK3 (Genisis) and MKTrilogy (PS1). I also LOVED Soul Calibur on the Dreamcast, it made DC worth owning. DOA is good, but there are better fighting games out there.

ibanezdropd
ibanezdropd

itagaki is an amazing game creator. people hate on ninja gaiden and and dead or alive (which started on the sega saturn btw), but they are still great games. people hate on thing cause it's "cool" to hate whats popular. screw that. he's awesome. i can't wait to see what he comes out with next..

barJerubsheol
barJerubsheol

I'm guessing it's probly the best for Gaiden series. I just hope it doesn't end up a PS3 exclusive.

polsci1503
polsci1503

If you promised to pay the bonus, then you pay the bonus. I'd sue your behind too.

ctg867
ctg867

Bad news for DOA and NG fans. This might have an influence on how the game came out, given that so many reviews I've seen for it are average to negative. Hopefully he can move onto other projects and make quality games, and hopefully the DOA and NG games don't take too big of a hit.

Pete5506
Pete5506

This is bad news, he will be missed

mykel77
mykel77

i agree with atrimus, team ninja is made up of many developers who will continue the work. doa and gaiden are sure to be multi platform now. thats what the president wanted. I see this as a good thing, not everyone has all consoles, so why not offer everyone the same game across all platforms. its our benefit. The fanboy thing is just ridiculous, itagaki was one and look what happened. how dare he insult tecmo and the director of sigma. it was the best version of the priors and it appears that he didnt like being challenged. i wish him the best, but he wasnt the greatest, hes no miyamoto, lorne lanning, or jason rubin

kingsalami
kingsalami

Get off of your high horses. The man has had to leave his 2 babies. Even if he is half as arrogant as people think, its very obvious that enough BS has happened to make a very proud man give up the very things he's most proud of... and that is sad. Best of luck to Itagaki-san and tecmo. Both of whom now have some rather painful sounding times ahead.

Vash67
Vash67

That's really disappointing. While I'm sure Team Ninja can hold it's own without him, Itagaki definitely added his own special touches to the games. I'm sure he'll end up starting his own studio again and it'll be interesting to see what comes of that, especially when there's the possibility he would have to compete against his own series'.

Eclipse_ShinRa
Eclipse_ShinRa

@Marked_Man aww look a fanboy.. NG isn't overrated and it's a great ass game, too bad fanboys aren't gamers..

EnderSR388
EnderSR388

"Itagaki also expressed remorse to his fans yesterday for not being able to continue the two franchises he is most well-known for--Ninja Gaiden and Dead or Alive. However, Tecmo has said that it not only has no plans to dissolve Team Ninja, but the studio is already at work on a number of new games in both franchises as well" Wow, that's gotta be a slap in the face for Itagaki. :?

nsmnpc5000
nsmnpc5000

Hopefully Itagaki-san can get everything that he is due. Regardless of the monetary amount, no employer has the right to breach contract and there is no way that he doesn't have this in writing. Most likely on the contracts that he has signed. Seems like Tecmo would probably want to settle this without having to be embarrassed any further by actually going to court. I think that if any of you that are running of at the mouth had been monetarily screwed over by an employer in the past, you might be singing a different tune. It's as low a blow as you can be dealt in the workplace, outside of being unjustly fired. Yes, this is personal experience speaking on both offenses.

Redgarl
Redgarl

Itagaki is probably the most arrogant guys in the industry I know. The guy is ugly, sexist and he did harass a woman... This guy deserve to never work anymore.

Unholyone123
Unholyone123

How will Tecmo ever create grossly over sized breasts without him? I really don't see what the big fuss is about. There are so many more talented people in this business that make this guy look like a joke.

rulo_rezn0r
rulo_rezn0r

i think that in some way Itagaki's departure could be a good thing, because dead or alive 4 plays almost the same as doa 2 and NG 2 is extremely similar to NG, even in the graphical department eventhough they were developed for diff gen consoles. Maybe new fresh ideas from the rest of the team ninja crew could rejuvenate both series, who knows

maverick_76
maverick_76

Hopefully he will be able to lend his creative talents to another series or start fresh from scratch a brand new IP. Either way this is not the last we have seen of this guy, he is too good to leave this way.

Marked_Man
Marked_Man

HA HA HA HA! That's what his arrogant ass gets.NG is overrated anyway.Now the game will have a chance at being good and actually sell once it goes multiplat.Putting Japanese games exclusively on a system that's dead in Japan was always a dumb decision.If any of you are real fans of this series,then you know it needs the PS3 to be successful.

razgriz_101
razgriz_101

i think team ninja will do a great job prolly itagaki has a few protoge's in there so that the games and creative direction are still good.I think as time goes on Team Ninja will go from strength to strength. im hoping Itagaki goes to Sega a lot of their old school games need a reboot especially golden axe or shinobi and he is the perfect guy for the job.

Generic_Dude
Generic_Dude

I wonder if this means cross-platform DOA... and further cross-platform Ninja Gaiden?

Livewirez
Livewirez

Oh yes, when itagaki leaves tecmo it's all, 'team ninja is **** or 'they'll never be able to do either series justice', yes, he single handedly developed those games himself without the team's help at all...just all him....WAKE UP! He started the series, but that doesn't mean that a team who has developed the games for many years have not learned what it takes to make a ninja gaiden game or DOA game, they're not lost without him.

atrimus
atrimus

to this day it amazes me how much support this dude has gotten from gamers since it was found out he was leaving/suing Tecmo. he's dissed his subordinates multiple times, and now he's suing the very company that helped sweep his sexual harassment lawsuit under the rug. he's been a turd to just about everyone really, but i guess in this day and age of cynical internet fanboys thats a good thing. i don't think Tecmo's games being exclusive to the XBox/360 had anything to do with Itagaki, did it? but at the same time Sigma appeared on PS3 without Itagaki's blessing, so who's to say? hopefully in the hands of another developer the series (Ninja Gaiden) will pick up a story, because god knows the first Itagaki-Ninja Gaiden had a story lacking of any entertaimnent at all. as for DOA, who cares either way? since i first played Soul Edge (yep, Soul EDGE at the arcades; that was back when most of you whippersnappers were still counting on your fingers and toes) i haven't looked at any other 3D fighter with any genuine interest at all, well, except for Virtua Fighter.

akoolbrother420
akoolbrother420

so true Grende1 I really had to stop reading posts a whle ago because I was really hating the PS3 for no reason other than it's fanboys negative comments about the 360. But I realized that I enjoyed games to much to let fanboys ruin my gaming experience, so now I gonna to purchase a PS3 to compliment my 360 and enjoy games on both systems

Grende1
Grende1

akoolbrother420, you've just described the pathetic nature of fanboys. Just because a game is exclusive to a platform they don't own, the game therefore automatically becomes medicore or crap in fanboys' eyes, without them every actually playing the game. It's sad, because real gamers would play video games because they are quality fun, regardless of what platform they're released on.

jimmyand360
jimmyand360

I thought that NG 2 was the last? Is there going to be a NG 3?

DFalcon999
DFalcon999

Tecmo sure didn't waste any time, did they? But like I said in the previous news story about this whole scandal- I doubt their abilities to do EITHER series any real justice. Itagaki saved the company singlehandedly and they had him be their golden boy and pointman up until recently. I somehow doubt that in all that time they suddenly found a developer near his skill level.