Recent comments from Tomonobu Itagaki, confirming he has finished with Ninja Gaiden appear to have been only part of the story. The outspoken Team Ninja head has issued a statement announcing his resignation from Team Ninja and a lawsuit against Tecmo.
A statement by Itagaki by way of his aide, Andrew Szymanski, has made its way to 1UP.
"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," read the statement.
Itagaki continued: "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."
Itagaki also had some words for the fans of his games, apologising for the disappointment his departure will cause.
"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 honour promises even when he is able to do so. I truly hope that nothing like this happens again in the future."
As far as Itagaki's future goes, his aide had the following to say.
"...You will likely have questions regarding the content of the statement, or about Itagaki's future plans," said Szymanski. I am afraid that I will be unable to answer such questions for the time being; however, rest assured that more information will be forthcoming as soon as it is deemed appropriate to do so."
There you have it. Sad news for Ninja Gaiden and Dead or Alive fans. Hopefully Itagaki will find a new home at which he can create a new action franchise.
Ninja Gaiden II will be in stores across the UK from Friday and you can check our full review here.