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Posted on Jun 3rd 2008 at 06:49:11 PM by (OatBob)
Posted under Modern Gaming, Tecmo, Itagaki, Team NINJA, Dead or Alive, Ninja Gaiden

Dead or Alive 4Just today, Tomonobu Itagaki announced that he is leaving and suing Tecmo over unpaid bonuses.  He claims a completion bonus for Dead or Alive 4 has gone unpaid; further stating, "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.' "  So far, Tecmo has yet to respond.

Tomonobu Itagaki (via his translator, Andrew Szymanski) has contacted a number of news outlets requesting prompt reporting of this story.  This news arrives the same week as the release of the highly anticipated sequel, Ninja Gaiden II.  This severance of ties to Tecmo ensures he likely won't be able to work on any future Dead or Alive or Ninja Gaiden projects.

Itagaki is most known for his work with Team NINJA where he created the Dead or Alive series and the modern reincarnation of the Ninja Gaiden series.  He derives his success from incorporating 'fun' into his projects to ensure satisfying gameplay.  Itagaki's cognizence of Western gamers' interests also allows his hits to become international successes instead of Japan-only treasures.

Read the full statement after the jump.

Quote
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 ($1.41 million US). 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


Source
[Kotaku] - Itagaki leaves TECMO
[Kotaku] - TECMO stays mum
[Kotaku] - Microsoft thanks Itagaki
[Kotaku] - Itagaki's last day


UPDATE
Tecmo's first response yesterday was not pretty, but today they sent out another press release addressing the issue.  The main highlights of their statement are that Tomonobu Itagaki's last day will be July 1, and their dispute will be promptly addressed in court.  Most importantly, Team NINJA will not be dissolved and will continue to work on future games, several of which are currently in progress.


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Comments
 
I bet he makes a company and gets bought up by MS.
 
This will be interesting to see what happens.
 
@Tondog:
It appears that you're not too far off the mark.  Microsoft replied to Kotaku's inquiry with appreciation for his support of their gaming platform over the past several years.
http://kotaku.com/5012740/microsoft-thanks-itagaki-for-years-of-support

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