Following the news that outspoken ex-Team Ninja boss Tomonobu Itagaki has settled his dispute with Tecmo over "unpaid completion of bonuses" for Dead or Alive 4, Team Ninja has revealed plans to "listen to fans more" as it attempts to broaden the appeal of fighting game series Dead or Alive.
Speaking to VideoGamer.com in an interview conducted this morning, Yoshinori Ueda, the producer of upcoming PSP-exclusive title Dead or Alive Paradise and a developer who has been with Tecmo for over ten years, said Team Ninja intends to make Dead or Alive "more user friendly" as it takes the series forward following Itagaki's high profile departure.
"The team as a whole, we understand that Mr Itagaki made the Dead or Alive brand," he said. "But the staff here knows the game and knows the tradition, and wants to keep the tradition and the quality that has been established.
"But at the same time, we're looking from a game design aspect at things, and trying to listen more to users and make things a little more user-friendly. We want to listen to our fans, listen to our users a little more. Keep the good of what's been established, but reach out to more users, and make games that even more people can enjoy."
Unfortunately, Ueda refused to discuss what "more user-friendly" means for the sure-to-be-released Dead or Alive 5, only saying: "We can't really talk about anything right now. We've been concentrating on DOA Paradise."
He did, however, thank fans for their patience. "We really appreciate it," he said.
In 2008 Itagaki left Tecmo and filed a lawsuit regarding his dispute over "unpaid completion of bonuses" for Xbox 360-exclusive Dead or Alive 4, and "unreasonable and disingenuous statements" made by then Tecmo president Yoshimi Yasuda.
This morning, via a message sent to 1UP, Itagaki formally announced that the lawsuit had been amicably settled out of court.
The last Dead or Alive game was Dead or Alive Xtreme 2, released in November 2006 for the Xbox 360. Dead or Alive Paradise is due out on the PSP this spring.