251w ago - Curious what ex-Team Ninja head Tomonobu Itagaki has been up to since leaving Tecmo back in June? Our own James Mielke journeyed all the way to Tokyo to score this exclusive post-Tecmo interview with the father of Ninja Gaiden, and boy is it a doozy.
Always quick with plenty to say that can stir things up, this beefy chat with the admittedly drunk Itagaki is overflowing with gems. For example, Itagaki likens the decline of Japanese game development -- and most other things -- to aerial dogfights:
"For instance, look back to World War II. You had aerial dogfight battles with 600 planes on each side. And then, as we got into, say, the Korean War, it was maybe 50 or 60 per side. And in modern times, with modern jet planes, you only need one or two to fight a battle. So you certainly see a progression like that, but I look at it as someone who likes fighter planes and thinks they're really cool. The fact that fighter planes themselves have dwindled in number is certainly somewhat regrettable. But I still like fighter planes, and I think they're the coolest type of plane there is.
If that takes things a little too abstract for your tastes, the former Dead or Alive designer also dispels the notion that the PS3 is too difficult to develop for:
263w ago - Tomonobu Itagaki's announcement that he was leaving Tecmo and suing them for $1.4 million for unpaid completion bonuses, and against the company's president for "unreasonable and disingenuous statements" made towards him has led to Tecmo's share price to plummet.
The share price fallen 10 percent in the space of just one day.
At market close on Tuesday, the publisher's shares reportedly slumped from 1,102 yen ($10.40) to 982 yen ($9.27) -- a reduction of ten percent... quite significant indeed.
263w ago - When Tomonobu Itagaki dropped a bombshell late last night telling us through a translator that he was not only leaving Team Ninja but suing his former employer, it was pretty stunning.
Temco later declined to comment saying that they were aware of his statement but unwilling to say more. Now Microsoft is chiming in, responding to our request for comment, thanking Itagaki for his years of Xbox support.
To quote: Tomonobu Itagaki has decided to leave TECMO and Team NINJA to pursue other opportunities. We thank Tomonobu Itagaki for the many years he has supported Xbox as he has contributed immensely to the success of the videogame industry as a whole.
I'm sure that if Itagaki carries out his threats and leaves Team Ninja he won't be leaving game development. In fact he told us as much last month when he decided to drop another bomb, saying that Ninja Gaiden II was his swan song and that he was thinking of creating a shooter set in the Pacific Theater during World War II, perhaps one from the Japanese perspective.
The question now is will he form his own studio or latch on to another collection of disenfranchised, but artistic developers. Yeah, probably not, I think it's more likely he's going to Microsoft, but I can dream.
263w ago - Tomonobu Itagaki always has something to say. And right or wrong, for that, bless him. Previously, he's announced that Xbox 360 exclusive Ninja Gaiden II is the last entry in the series and that the game won't be going multiplat.
In an interview with game site Kikizo, Itagaki describes the advantages of working with Microsoft -- which included access to a troop of playtesters. But still, the Xbox 360 isn't exactly tearing up the Japanese hardware charts. Why is that? Itagaki offers this:
Yeah, there's nothing that can be done about that. Things like economic policies, the fact that the size of the size of the population of children in Japan is dwindling, people are moving away from console gaming -- there are a lot of factors involved, it's not just Xbox 360 doesn't do well in Japan because it's Xbox; there's a whole load of societal factors involved there. It's not as though the hardcore would make a big difference. This all goes back to decisions that politicians made like sixty years ago.
Of course, by moving away from console gaming, Itagaki means moving away from HIS console gaming. Nonetheless! Itagaki will be announcing Dead or Alive 5 later this summer. It's unconfirmed whether this DoA will also be an Xbox 360 exclusive.
263w ago - Tomonobu Itagaki announced today that he has filed suit against Japanese-based publisher Tecmo, claiming damages in the amount of 148 million yen for unpaid bonuses.
In the suit, which was filed on May 14, Itagaki specifically calls out the company's head honcho, Yoshimi Yasuda, for breach of contract and making demeaning remarks about him to fellow subordinates and colleagues.
To quote: 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."
Itagaki further notes that the comments made by Yasuda has led him to formally announced his resignation from Tecmo. He will leave the company on July 1.
Statement: 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...