E3 News

Itagaki Vs Tecmo: The Story So Far
Posted By: John Manalang - Thursday, July 24, 2008 12:51 PM


When Dead or Alive and Ninja Gaiden producer Tomonobu Itagaki hopped on Tecmo's team in 1992, he was a fairly happy man. Through the company, he was able to give us his breakthrough project Dead or Alive, worked on a version of Tecmo Bowl, and lead Team Ninja's offense. But, as we all know, things have change since then.

In the eve of NInja Gaiden II's launch, which was Itagaki's last project., the major Tecmo developer resigned from the company on June 3 with a vengeance - a lawsuit where Itagaki claims that Tecmo owes him bonuses for the completion of Dead or Alive 4. And we wondered why he never smiles.

How are things between the two sides since then? Through various reports and analyses, we'll tell you how. Check them out after the cut.

Before Itagaki's resignation, the man already had a history of charges within the company. In November 2006, while on the brink of the voluptuous release of Dead or Alive Xtreme Beach Volleyball 2 (packed with a revolutionary "physics" engine), Itagaki was slapped with a sexual harassment from a former Tecmo employee. He faced a ten million yen (around $85,000) fine but Itagaki admitted that he did indeed have a relationship with the woman to nullify any further consequences. (via Joystiq)

But since Ninja Gaiden's release for the original Xbox in 2004, Itagaki was given a lot of credit for his work. The action title was praised by many critics and hardcore action fans were pleased for its challenging gameplay. But, as we have mentioned, Itagaki resigned and sued Tecmo just as the game's sequel was going to be released. He mentioned on his resignation statement that he filed a complaint to the Tokyo District Court about Tecmo president Yoshimi Yasuda's "disingenuous statements" towards him, stating that, "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 a shorter sense, Itagaki just told Tecmo to "(explicitly) off" and the company is full off (explicit stuff). He demanded 148 hundred million yen for damages (about $1.38 million).

After Itagaki apologized to his fans for his depature, Tecmo immediately responded to his resigning statement. The company said that Itagaki's public statement was "self-centered" and he is acting as if he was the sole creator of Team Ninja's various titles - hence, there is no Itagaki in Team, but there is one in NINJA!. To ensure that Itagaki keeps himself away from anymore public stunts, Tecmo filed a gag order (a legal term that suppresses anyone to disclose any further information to the public) to the Tokyo District Court on June 10. (via Kotaku)

But in the process of keeping Itagaki's public mouth shut, Tecmo ran into another manure storm on June 16 when two company employees slapped them with another lawsuit that demanded an 8.3 million yen fine (about $77,000). According to the filed suit, Tecmo illegaly placed workers (about 300 of them) on a "flexible hours" working scheme that eventually led to over 100 hours of unpaid overtime. It looks like Tecmo won't be smiling soon either (via Kotaku). However, in the company's favor (for pride), reports were saying that Itagaki didn't really leave Tecmo on his own, he was actually fired by the company.

But several Kotaku reports suggested that Tecmo and Itagaki shouldn't be looking at the brightside just yet. According to a report, Tecmo and Itagaki's claims did not contain the same information about the bonuses regarding with Dead or Alive 4's completion. The company submitted a similar looking contract, but didn't state Itagaki's entitled compensations. So, indeed, someone is definitely hiding the truth. Itagaki also raised his cash demands to 164 hundred million yen (about $1.53 million) after the claims were presented. The company naturally denies any compensations for Itagaki in court, allegedly calling Itagaki a "money grubber" by president Yasuda. It has become really, really nasty.

It is unfortunate that Itagaki's relations with his former company has gone sour. Who will be affected by all this mess? Why, it's no other than all of us, the gamers. As these two sides continue to plow arguments on each other's back, we will constantly wonder how Ninja Gaiden III would've been or any future projects from the talented developers at Team Ninja. As usual, we'll bring you more updates as soon as they arise.


Posted by mercisan - Thursday, July 24, 2008 10:16 PM

Don't make your decision on what a ranting fanboy tells you on a forum (or whatever this is). If you liked NG or NG Black, most likely, you'll like this one too. Like I said before, camera issues have been known for the series. But NG is about gloriously insane combat, and on that area, you won't be disappointed.

So, go to your cousin's and try it.

Posted by FlameMan101 - Thursday, July 24, 2008 10:07 PM

...the physics and gore were great.

Posted by FlameMan101 - Thursday, July 24, 2008 10:04 PM
It sucks that the companies still own the games after the lead developer leaves. He/She should at least be able to buy it from the company and take it to the new one with money from the new one. It may sound kind of stupid, but if he/she could, then we might've had a shot at DOA 5 or NG 3.

Oh, and NG 2 was a good game, it was just that the camera wouldn't show you all of the enemies you were fighting. So it's really like a B+ or A- in my opinion. The physics and gore was great.

Posted by mercisan - Thursday, July 24, 2008 9:59 PM

I have to disagree with you.His games are as good and better (than some of the ones you mentioned). Of the hack and slash games you mention, I prefer NG. Devil may cry 4 was on the cheap side too . You go through the bosses over and over again. That's the only way to make the game long, I guess. I say this with pain in my heart, since Capcom is my favorite publisher/developer.

The camera issues have always plagued NG. Sigma didn't give you any problems because it was the third iteration of the same game (NG, NG Black, and then Sigma) and they were fixed since Black. But the first NG was also plagued with camera issues and that didn't stop it from being awesome. I feel that the second one may not be as good as the first one (that may be because I actually played Black), but it's close.

Posted by CrookedEyes - Thursday, July 24, 2008 6:24 PM
Does anybody know whether or not there will be another DOA

Posted by CrookedEyes - Thursday, July 24, 2008 6:19 PM
sure NG2 was cheap but when you finally do trample the games story you feel great. (until you play on a harder difficulty) By the way it can still be fun once you go through game again with all weapons.

Posted by moose_ - Thursday, July 24, 2008 5:47 PM

...75% of the time...

Posted by moose_ - Thursday, July 24, 2008 5:30 PM
I like Ninja Gaiden 2, but that game is cheap as hell. I don't care what anyone says, its f#%kin ridiculously cheap. When I played Ninja Gaiden Sigma, Devil May Cry, or God of War 2 on the hardest difficulties when I died it was because it was my fault, I messed up. When I die in Ninja Gaiden 2 75% its because of an attack that came off screen. How can I avoid an attack if I don't see it coming? The bosses aren't that hard its just getting to them that is a pain in the ass.

Posted by blakseed - Thursday, July 24, 2008 4:53 PM
LOL. Really?

Posted by ShinGino - Thursday, July 24, 2008 2:59 PM
@ blakseed:

Believe me, you don't want it so bad.

The story goes: His village gets burned down(again)--revenge.

Posted by blakseed - Thursday, July 24, 2008 2:27 PM
I still haven't palyed NG2. I want to so bad.

Posted by EAmaddenFTW - Thursday, July 24, 2008 2:23 PM
Maybe that's why Ninja Gaiden 2 turned out to be a glitchy cheap piece of S#%^, out of spite for tecmo.

Posted by WhereAmI1980 - Thursday, July 24, 2008 2:21 PM
is that some kind of 360 fanboy of the year award????

but i hope he does get the money that his company owes him.

but sometimes he can be such a d-bag!!

Posted by ShinGino - Thursday, July 24, 2008 1:51 PM
I don't like Itagaki.

All he does is bash on Devil May Cry, Tekken, and God of War.

Just cause his games aren't as good, doesn't mean he has to be a di-- about it!

Posted by santjnthn - Thursday, July 24, 2008 1:24 PM
Move to another development company...

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