Tecmo denies exodus reports

Japanese developer responds to allegations that "dozens" of devs are jumping ship, and what it calls other "false and inaccurate reporting."

It is probably safe to say that it has not been a great month so far for Tokyo-based developer Tecmo. First, Tomonobu Itagaki resigned from the company days before the release of the highly anticipated Ninja Gaiden II. He also slapped the company with a lawsuit, alleging that he was owed unpaid bonuses of some $1.4 million. Next, rumours started circulating that other members of Team Ninja had also handed in their resignations, and finally, that two employees filed a class-action lawsuit for unpaid overtime.

Following an initial statement after the departure of Itagaki, Tecmo had maintained a "no comment" on the following reports, but today it chose to break its silence with a statement released to the media.

First, Tecmo states that it is simply not true that "dozens" of development staff are resigning following Itagaki's exit, and that it isn't true that they are all suing the company. The statement reads, "The rumours are false and no such action is taking place at the company."

Earlier this week, various Japanese Web sites reported that two employees representing the entire 300-person Tecmo staff had filed a lawsuit against the company for not paying overtime. According to Tecmo, "Although a lawsuit was filed by the two employees, on April 1, 2008, Tecmo did notify all affected employees that they would be appropriately compensated, and is currently in the process of solving the matter. There are several inaccurate reports stating that all 300 company employees are named in the lawsuit, and the company would like to clarify that only two employees are involved in the suit."

It also rebuffed claims that it withheld information from shareholders regarding Itagaki's lawsuit, which was filed in May. According to Tecmo, "The company has observed the provisions defined by the [Tokyo Stock] Exchange and has released information accordingly and in a timely manner."

It concludes, "It is unfortunate that false and inaccurate reporting of our organisation and employees' actions have caused some unrest among our development staff members. Tecmo would like to assure its partners and loyal fans that its teams continue to focus and work on several projects to be released and announced in the future."

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112 comments
carlind1
carlind1

Help! Help! I'm being repressed!

BK-Sleeper
BK-Sleeper

Itagaki, love him or hate him, is a huge influence on Tecmo's image, so I'm not surprised that they're being quick to try and repress the matter.

KingSigy
KingSigy

In response to blackdragonfist, I don't think anyone puts Itagaki on a pedestal. He's such an arrogant #^@!^!~ that not many people even like him.

blackdragonfist
blackdragonfist

It's about time some people can admit that both sides are in the wrong one more so then the other. For all those talking about the poor developers out there. Lets remember there are people out there that work just as many or more hours then developers at jobs that contribute to society as a whole more then just making video games and don't get a pat on the back or get to see their families that much why? Because thats what being in the real world means doing hard and sometimes thankless work to pay bills and provide for those families they don't get to see much . Everybody so quick to say let's hate the corporations out there but if it wasn't for these corporations we wouldn't have half the products and services we have today. Love or hate them Temco was the one to give Itagaki his chance. Yea he could have went somewhere else but Temco did it first so people need to cut them some slack. Plus Itagaki does not need to be put on the pedestal people seem to think he does!

McGregor
McGregor

I'm sure both sides of this case have made some sort of foul play. The only downside is that one will get away with it while the other one pays. Also, if breast physics and NG are all Itagaki came up with then he isn't that brilliant. Basically he played Tomb Raider and thought, "i could do something like this...but bouncier!"

combatsoldier
combatsoldier

I know tecmo stocks have to go down a lot after this. They need to end this quickly and just give people the money they earned. They act like 1.4 mil is a lot when they make much more then that a year. It sounds like a stuck up company stepping on employees, when Mr. Itagaki was the main source of revenue for the company. Its okay Itagaki we still love you brother and wish you success in whatever venture you decide to take. Justice will be served. Tecmo is losing a lot of respect from this and I hope the games in the future are not affected because I actually like tecmo, or did I just like Team ninja. We shall see.

Proman84
Proman84

Good luck to Tecmo, they are a good company.

Waskallywabbit
Waskallywabbit

Developers undoubtedly get the short end when it comes to their creations. They work looonnng hours for years on top projects. They are paid relatively low wages given the amount of money that the publisher's executives pull in. I don't think I under-appreciate Tecmo at all, mrjasler. I agree that the average gamer probably does not concern themselves with how much work goes into the games they play, and it is too bad that developers don't have a bigger piece of the pie, so to say. Remember when Atari refused to allow their developers to even place their names on game credits? If Itagaki is owed money for the games he helped create, then Tecmo should give it to him, no question. It doesn't mean that he is the genius that so many (including Itagaki) go on about.

combatsoldier
combatsoldier

Tecmo needs to stop doing damage control and issue a public apology. I hope all employees get bonuses and Tecmo gets some new leadership that will run the company in a new and well managed direction.

d3f1anc3
d3f1anc3

False? Right.... They're taking some serious flak now that Itagaki left.

mrjasler
mrjasler

I don't think any of you realise how much goes into the games you play.. you take them for granted. I vouch for these guys at tecmo because I could see them working overtime and being taken advantage of by tecmo. Tecmo thought they could getaway with it, they are no different to any of the other publishers out there like EA. The guys making your games are not robots.. they have families and they wake up every morning at 7am and go to work and come home at 11pm .. doing the same thing every day slogging away to make a game great.. working weekends as well.. tecmo deserve what they get for not treating their employees properly.

Mystearical
Mystearical

Yeah "dozens" did not resign - but a whole load properly did. Not looking good for Tecmo when Team Ninja is what the company is really all about mainly.

Waskallywabbit
Waskallywabbit

howardorr: That's an excellent point. This is a big deal for Tecmo, and Team Ninja have produced the biggest hits for the company since the late 90's. But just like Timstuff, I'm not ready to scream "Oh Yeah!!!" yet. I wouldn't say that their games were no good. In fact, the earlier iterations of DOA and Ninja Gaiden were great. Its just apparent to me that they may have hit their stride. DOA4 and NG2 are definitely more of the same, and not always for the better. I was not looking forward to DOA5 or NG3, at all. Aside from all of that, I still say that Itagaki was way smaller than his own hype.

howardorr
howardorr

Whether they like it or not, Tecmo are famous largely because of Team NINJA, which Itagaki headed. DoA and Ninja Gaiden are basically his team's babies, and without these two franchises there would be no strength in depth to the company's games. For a small company like Tecmo, who have been punching above their weight, there will be trouble ahead.

panteral3
panteral3

As long as they don't lose the breast physics dude, I guess the company can continue its good work.

combatsoldier
combatsoldier

Wow timstuff, i must say that i am impressed and respect what you have to say. Thankyou for sharing that view with us and it is very enlightening over this entire situation.

daveg1
daveg1

where thers smoke thers fire..

leke
leke

Have any of you considered that maybe Tecmo doesnt own Itagaki anything or that maybe he is just trying to cause trouble?

Timstuff
Timstuff

This place is full of Itagaki Koolaid drinkers, apparently. The reason the legal system exists is so that these things can be sorted out in an unbiased fashion. When Itagaki was getting sued for sexual harassment, the Koolaid drinkers all shouted "not guilty!" When Itagaki sues Tecmo, they all shout "guilty!" Just look at the ludicrous reaction to Itagaki's gag order-- "Oh noz! Freedom of speech is dead!" and "Tecmo has a dirty little secret!" were the responses of choice from the Koolaiders, even though gag orders are common in legal cases when one of the parties has a big mouth that they're likely to open for the media at the drop of a hat. Itagaki is highly outspoken, and without a gag order he was 100% likely to give HIS version of the trial to any journalist that would listen, and that is degrading to the legal system since it introduces too much public opinion into the process. Unlike the political system, the legal system is not a popularity contest. Judges and juries are supposed to be as unbiased as possible, and follow the letter of the law without letting popular culture, media, etc. influence their decision making. It's for that very reason that they are more qualified to decide the outcome of cases like this than anyone here.

Knightlion121
Knightlion121

I bet they wish they just would have paid him now all these negative press is only going to give Itagaki leverage for his lawsuit

Waskallywabbit
Waskallywabbit

I can only agree with King_Jeremy_77 and BelowUp on this. Tecmo was dead in the water in America until they discovered boob physics. Those who remember them best from the 80's and 90's have to agree they have become a one trick pony these days, and I think due to Itagaki, someone I feel has always been way overrated.

LordelX
LordelX

Mass exodus? That only happens at Gamespot.

Santhin
Santhin

Tecmo: "We're not losing dozens of employees" Translation: "We're losing hundreds of employees."

BelowUp
BelowUp

"loyal fans"? You mean the people waiting for the next game from Itagaki or the people who miss the days of Tecmo Super Bowl on the NES?

Great_Ragnarok
Great_Ragnarok

I wonder what itagaki has to say about this? oh wait he got gagged the day before :shock:

combatsoldier
combatsoldier

Mr itagaki is the man and was treated with disrespect. so what if he is a little stuck up, he delivers and thats what matters. we dont want to be his friend. we want his product and he has never failed us. Tecmo needs to get there act together.

EnigManic
EnigManic

@AncientDozer - "Smart business" is no excuse for being a backstabber and showing a lack of ethics. Whatever happened to morality and ethics in America? Pretend you and I were friends. You started a company, and I got rich doing business with you. Then when things got slow for you, I go do business with your competitor. How would you feel?

VirtuaCast
VirtuaCast

Some one needs to put a gag order on Tecmo.

ahyumifan
ahyumifan

this company deserves to be out of business. I know tomonobu itagaki was little stubborn, but seeing this much people following itagaki's way, just tells that company really didn't pay what they should pay. Since they lost him anyways, I am totally lost interest in this company anyway. I feel sorry for good franchise to go away, DOA and NG, but this is just have to be it. I mean seriously what game that is good enough that you remember from this company?

hatieshorrer
hatieshorrer

I hope Tecmo manages to resolve this because, from 1993 to about 2002 Tecmo was practically unheard of. Id hate to see this company fad into obscurity for nearly another ten years.

blackdragonfist
blackdragonfist

@chibi-acer, Silencing the truth yeah right! You and many other people on here seem to think Itagaki is the only who has worked hard for a company and not got what they think they deserve. I can't count how many times I have put in overtime at my job or have had to cover for my lazy ass manger who doesn't show up sometimes and not get what I think I deserve. Even if I did good old uncle sam is going to take a big chunk of it anyway. As far as the truth your taking the word of a man who had a sexual harassment suit filed against him total deny it and then turn around and say he was the one suffering mental anguish. Plus I'm sorry if 300 people felt they weren't getting paid right but only 2 people stand up and say something that smells like some b@#$%^&* to me.

portej
portej

You have no chance to survive make your time

dn3datomiced
dn3datomiced

Well, only two may be filing, but they're representing most of the other employees, from what I've heard on Kotaku. They are screwed.

lamprey263
lamprey263

Tecmo better be right that their workers are not abandoning them by the "dozens", or now they may have another lawsuit along the lines of misleading investors.

ocdog45
ocdog45

so they paid up and ocverd it up with PR huh. thats how big buisness rolls.

nappan
nappan

Given how loathe the Japanese tend to be to sue, I find it hard to believe that there is nothing to what is being said about Tecmo's conduct. That said, I hardly believe what a few sites claim to report about 300+ employees... without more info, all there is to be had is a bit of a sinking feeling. Unpaid overtime and bonuses are hardly beyond belief, but we'll probably never know the exact circumstances. This case will almost certainly be settled out of court to preserve face on all sides, unless Tecmo is squeaky clean, in which case they will hold Itagaki et al's feet to the fire... which I doubt.

chibi-acer
chibi-acer

Of course Tecmo is denying it. They have gag orders in place now to silence the truth, so they can say whatever they want.

nobeaner
nobeaner

To Timstuff: The prison system is already sky rocketing in California.

Timstuff
Timstuff

meta_foxx278: "This just keeps getting more interesting. It's obvious that something really bad is going on within that company that they don't want the outside world to know about. First, they gag Itagaki, then they try to deny all the other news that's being put on them. Someone's trying to hide something. It's right there. To say that it's been a bad month for Tecmo is an understatement. There's no way they can bounce back from this." Did you ever consider that MAYBE, Tecmo does not want to have their reputation wrongfully slandered, and they justly feared that Itagaki's warty little mouth would publicaly divulge their trade sercrets or information about the trial? If someone accuses me of cheating on my wife, and I say "That is a lie!", does that mean I'm trying to cover something up? You have already decided in your head that Tecmo is in the wrong, so you are simply reading everything they do as a cover up for their wrong doing. Thank God that that's not how the real legal system works, or else the prison economy would be skyrocketing from the overflooded jail houses.

p00phead
p00phead

Could this be the end of tecmo ???

Jacobin378
Jacobin378

Wow, it may just be me but Tecmo sounds like they are up to something shady. Im all for Itigaki during this lawsuit, I think he deserves all the unpaid royaltys. I just hope that Tecmo will take him back after the lawsuit and vice versa, because I dont think Ninja Gaiden or Dead or Alive will be as good as they have been without him. Or at least he can buy the rights over the titles if he wins the suit lol. It seems like it was his ideas and talents as a designer that made those titles so great.

Pete5506
Pete5506

it sounds like Tecmo could be over with

cooldude03
cooldude03

Itagaki has always talked about loyalty. I believe that Tecmo should honor the contracts with Team Ninja and Itagaki. I understand Itagaki is full of himself but it's not just talk. He is a visionary and a gamer making games he wants to play. That's why he pours his heart and soul into these games. Grow up Tecmo and pay up. I predict Tecmo to be next company bought out, because they cannot survive without Itagaki.

Kraige
Kraige

If they payed those employees why didn't they just pay Itagaki well whatever Tecmo are ***** any way only Team Ninja were anygood the company will probably bomb after the next DOA if TN follow Itagaki like NeonNinja said, god I hope they do that team working for themselves could make some awesome 360 games.

swamptick
swamptick

I am still pulling for Tecmo. Just because someone ACCUSES them of something does not mean it is true. Tecmo has and continues to give gamers ALLOT of what they want. I for one am grateful.

Agreb91
Agreb91

Tecmo has seen a rough week so far.