In a move that was anything but ninja-like, Team Ninja frontman Tomonobu Itagaki announced his resignation from Tecmo along with this plans to sue the company for various grievances as well as unpaid bonuses from previous titles he has worked on. Itagaki has always been the soul of the Ninja Gaiden series and it’s a remarkable turn of events that he announced his departure on the eve of Ninja Gaiden 2‘s release.
In a lengthly memo to several Japanese and American news outlets, Itagaki explains his decision as well as citing reasons for his legal action. He claims that during the development of Dead or Alive 4 for the Xbox 360, he was promised a bonus for the completion of the title. Itagaki held up his end of the deal but when he went looking for the cash that was rightfully his, it was nowhere to be found.
He elaborates, “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.'”
Well, it looks like Yasuda got his wish. The closing of the letter is an apology to the gamers out there who were looking forward to Dead or Alive 5, which will likely be much different now that Itagaki won’t be working on it. Regardless of all this, I have a feeling that a charismatic figure like Itagaki won’t be absent for too long and he has already mentioned wanting to create a completely new kind of action game, far removed from the Ninja Gaiden series. Now, it appears, he’ll have his chance, and I for one can’t wait to see what he comes up with.