Itagaki RESIGNS from Tecmo!

Looks like Tomonobu Itagaki’s recent words about Ninja Gaiden 2 and Dead or Alive 4 being his last entries into the series had quite some substance behind them, as the outspoken game developer has resigned from his post at Tecmo, where he has been a fixture for more than ten years. In fact, resigned is a soft way of putting it- he has basically excommunicated himself by suing his former company and boss, pretty much burning bridges and slamming the door on his way out. Here’s his very strongly-worded and public resignation statement:

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.

Tecmo Co., Ltd. Creative Officer
Leader, Team NINJA

Tomonobu Itagaki

This is quite something to happen, on the day of the release of his latest (and last) game, Ninja Gaiden 2. I am thus given to thinking the somewhat sloppy flaws of NG2 were testament to perhaps Itagaki not giving his best to the project as he was preparing to leave anyway. Well, what does this mean? Itagaki’s future is uncertain at best, but a creative game veteran like him may find a place in another company, or strike out on his own. OR he could just vanish into obscurity forever. As for Ninja Gaiden and Dead or Alive- if Tecmo owns the rights to these franchises, perhaps they’ll be given over to another person to continue what Itagaki started. More on this as it happens.


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