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Itagaki and Tecmo settle lawsuit

Former Team Ninja developer and previous employer reach an agreement in 2008 dispute over unpaid Dead or Alive 4 bonuses.


Team Ninja head Tomonobu Itagaki and Tecmo technically parted ways in 2008, but the two have been tussling in court ever since. When he split from Tecmo, Itagaki claimed the publisher owed him about $1.4 million in unpaid bonuses for development of Dead or Alive 4 on the Xbox 360 and filed suit to get it. At the time, Tecmo said it would "let the court decide" on the bonuses.

Tomonobu Itagaki and Tecmo have resolved their legal differences.
Tomonobu Itagaki and Tecmo have resolved their legal differences.

The courts won't get the chance to decide after all, as Tecmo and Itagaki have reached a settlement agreement. The news was originally reported by 1Up and later confirmed by Tecmo representatives for GameSpot. In a statement provided to 1Up, Itagaki mentioned the dispute involved compensation for dismissal, while in 2008 he said he had resigned from the company. Details of the settlement were not disclosed.

The settlement marks an end to a partnership that saw the publisher and Itagaki produce a number of hits, including the 3D revamps of the Ninja Gaiden series and the Dead or Alive fighting franchise. Since leaving the company, Itagaki has established a new studio tentatively referred to as Tokyo Vikings. Meanwhile, Tecmo and Team Ninja have pushed on with the series he developed, releasing Ninja Gaiden Sigma II for the PlayStation 3 and preparing Dead or Alive: Paradise for the PSP. Perhaps most notably, Team Ninja is also developing Metroid: Other M for Nintendo.

While the Tecmo-Itagaki pairing produced some blockbuster successes, it was not without friction. In 2006, a former coworker of Itagaki's filed suit against the developer, claiming he sexually harassed her on multiple occasions. She also accused Tecmo of mishandling the situation when she complained about Itagaki's behavior, telling her to handle it herself.

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