Dead or Alive creator and Ninja Gaiden designer Tomonobu Itagaki is leaving Tecmo and suing the company for unpaid Dead or Alive 4 completion bonuses! In the following letter sent to press, he apologizes to fans that Ninja Gaiden 3 and Dead or Alive 5 will not be made by him. Kotaku reports he recently said Ninja Gaiden II would be his Ninja Gaiden swan song, which makes a lot more sense now. So fans of the series might get in on Ninja Gaiden II and Ninja Gaiden DS.
To quote the 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 [US$1.4 million/€910,000]. 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.
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
I wonder what company he will work at next, Microsoft?