Tecmo shares plummet on Itagaki departure

Company's stock appears more dead than alive despite reassurances that major franchises including Ninja Gaiden will continue.

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Just days before the release of Ninja Gaiden II, game creator Tomonobu Itagaki announced that he would be leaving Tecmo and suing the company for unpaid bonuses. Itagaki, the chief of Tecmo's internal development studio, claimed the company owed him over a million dollars--¥148 million ($1.4 million) to be exact.

Oh Dear. Image from BusinessWeek Stock Quotes & Company Profile..
Oh Dear. Image from BusinessWeek Stock Quotes & Company Profile..

Itagaki apologised to fans for his departure, saying that he was sorry he would not get the opportunity to make Dead or Alive 5 or continue on with the Ninja Gaiden story. However, Tecmo responded yesterday by announcing that far from abandoning the two famous franchises, it had several new games in development for both of them. It also added that, contrary to widespread belief, Team Ninja--the studio Itagaki headed up--would not be disbanded after the main man left the building.

However, this wasn't enough to stop Tecmo shares from plummeting on the Tokyo Stock Exchange. At the market close on Tuesday, June 3, shares were trading at ¥1,102 ($10.40). When they opened on Wednesday, June 4, after the news hit, they had fallen to ¥985 ($9.30), a drop of over 10 percent. They closed today at ¥982 ($9.27), with the day's high being ¥1,005 ($9.49) and the low being ¥975 ($9.20).

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