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Published on June 3rd, 2008 | by Daniel David

Tomonobu Itagaki Leaving Team Ninja, Sueing Tecmo

So close to the release of Ninja Gaiden 2 I don’t think anyone say this coming. Tomonobu Itagaki the mastermind behind Ninja Gaiden and Dead or Alive is resigning from Team Ninja and is suing Tecmo for unpaid bonuses promised to him.

1up received a letter from Itagaki’s aide detailing the reasons behind his departure and lawsuit coming up.

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.

You never mess with someone’s money and I support Itagaki decision. The bad news is that with him leaving Team Ninja now it is clear why he won’t be involved in another Ninja Gaiden or Dead or Alive which DOA seems to be continuing without him.

I’m happy that he was able to deliver Ninja Gaiden 2 and promote his last game before all of this hit. This is still a bit of a shock but you can’t blame him for the reasons he stated for leaving.

I hope everything goes well for him and can’t wait to see the new action game he has planned in the future.

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