Ninja Gaiden Designer Itagaki Resigns and Sues

Takes beach volleyball and bikini and walks out

Posted by Staff
Tomonobu Itagaki: emotionally distressed.
Tomonobu Itagaki: emotionally distressed.
Team Ninja's leader and the creative force behind the bikini-tastic Dead or Alive and the mind-mashingly fighty Ninja Gaiden series, Tomonobu Itagaki has quit Tecmo. Apparenly he was not paid bonuses for completion of Dead or Alive 4 and was made to feel emotional distress by the president of Tecmo. He will exit the building on July 1st this year.

In a statement released to the press, the rock star-styled video game designer states:

"I can no longer continue to work with (Tecmo) President Yoshimi Yasuda, a man who chooses not to honour promises even when he is able to do so. I truly hope that nothing like this happens again in the future."


Those are fighting words no matter where you come from. They follow, according to Itagaki, some equally aggressive statements made by Yasuda. The head of Tecmo apparently told the leather clad game maker:

"If you are dissatisfied with the decision not to pay the bonuses, either quit the company or sue it."


This was not the whole of it though apparently the president also, "...made demeaning remarks about me to my subordinates and colleagues, causing me significant emotional distress and worsening my personal relationships and work environment. Thus, I have no choice but to resign from Tecmo Co., Ltd."

And this is exactly what he did. He is also, of course, suing Tecmo for 148 million yen (725k). We would expect to see a counter-suit coming within the day.

The dark glass-wearing creative also left a message for game fans (well, fans of his games).

"I truly feel sorry to all the fans of the games I have made."


No, this can't be taken to mean that he's sorry about the games he's made. He's being genuinely concerned. In fact, he continues:

"Ninja Gaiden 2, which will launch on the 3rd of June will be the last Ninja Gaiden I will create. I will also never be able to make Dead or Alive 5... and I regret the disappointment this will cause my fans."


So, the end of two game IPs - at least from one man's point of view. We will now see if Team Ninja can stay together and function without its charismatic head.

The full statement is printed below.

"I, Tomonobu Itagaki, hereby announce that on the 14th of May 2008 I filed a complaint in the Tokyo District Court against Tecmo Co., Ltd. for unpaid completion bonuses, and against the President of Tecmo, Yoshimi Yasuda, for such unlawful acts as unreasonable and disingenuous statements made towards me, claiming damages in total of 148 million yen.

"I also announce that this complaint was delivered to the defendants on May 22nd of the same year. In addition, I hereby announce that I have today submitted a letter of resignation to Tecmo Co., Ltd. stating that I will resign as of the 1st of July, 2008.

"Before the start of development on Dead or Alive 4, Tecmo Co., Ltd. had agreed to pay a completion bonus to me for this Xbox 360 title, which I produced. However, when the time came for the actual payment, Tecmo Co., Ltd. went against its previous agreement and refused payment.

"President Yoshimi Yasuda chose not only to violate this agreement, but also turned defiant, telling me 'if you are dissatisfied with the decision not to pay the bonuses, either quit the company or sue it.'

"In addition, he made demeaning remarks about me to my subordinates and colleagues, causing me significant emotional distress and worsening my personal relationships and work environment. Thus, I have no choice but to resign from Tecmo Co., Ltd.

"The conduct of Tecmo Co., Ltd. and its president Yoshimi Yasuda towards me has been unbefitting of a publicly-listed company. I have filed this lawsuit with a strong intent to question the social responsibility of Tecmo Co., Ltd. and its President Yoshimi Yasuda, as well as condemning them for their unjust acts. Today, in addition to announcing the reasons for this lawsuit, I make clear my reasons for resigning.

"To All Game Fans

"I truly feel sorry to all the fans of the games I have made. Ninja Gaiden 2, which will launch on the 3rd of June will be the last Ninja Gaiden I will create. I will also never be able to make Dead or Alive 5. I regret the circumstances that have forced me to leave Tecmo, where I had worked for so many years, and I regret the disappointment this will cause my fans.

"However, I can no longer continue to work with President Yoshimi Yasuda, a man who chooses not to honor promises even when he is able to do so. I truly hope that nothing like this happens again in the future."

Comments

SuperSaiyan4 3 Jun 2008 11:03
1/5
Well I never saw this coming...If this was the case since May thank goodness it wasn't near the start of the Ninja Gaiden 2 game as pretty sure he would not have put is heart and soul into the game.

I already starting reading from PS3 fans on n4g.com how NG2 will come to PS3 the usual dribble etc but with Itagaki gone who knows what could happen, the game is published by Microsoft so no chance.
schnide 3 Jun 2008 11:16
2/5
SuperSaiyan4 wrote:
I already starting reading from PS3 fans on n4g.com how NG2 will come to PS3 the usual dribble etc but with Itagaki gone who knows what could happen, the game is published by Microsoft so no chance.


Isn't half term over?
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Joji 3 Jun 2008 11:56
3/5
Well, this is the suprise of the week, neigh, month. If Tecmo are in the wrong, by all means, fight for what's your, Itagaki. Sometimes these suits get too high on their corporate bs.

Itagaki is a force to be reckoned with, and on top of that just oozes cool from every pore of his being. The thought of Itagaki unleashed to possibly set up his own dev studio, is a mouthwatering prospect indeed.

My mind is bubbling right now, just thinking what he'd createon his own.

Go, Itagaki.
Daz 3 Jun 2008 12:15
4/5
SuperSaiyan4 wrote:
the game is published by Microsoft so no chance.


I don't think a publisher has any say in which console a game is released on, I'd have thought that would have been the developers decision
SuperSaiyan4 3 Jun 2008 12:42
5/5
Daz wrote:
SuperSaiyan4 wrote:
the game is published by Microsoft so no chance.


I don't think a publisher has any say in which console a game is released on, I'd have thought that would have been the developers decision


Microsoft hold the publishing rights for Ninja Gaiden 2 but am sure there is some sort of deal in there, then again nothing stopping Tecmo from making a Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2...
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