Ninja Gaiden creator quits Tecmo, sues boss

Tomonobu Itagaki is the head of developers Team Ninja and is best known for being the creator of hit fighting franchise Dead or Alive, as well as the upcoming Xbox 360 exclusive Ninja Gaiden 2.

In an official statement that was faxed to major news outlets across Japan, Itagaki stated that he has submitted his letter of resignation to Tecmo, stating that he will be leaving as of 1st July.

Itagaki has been working for Tecmo since starting with them as graphics programmer for the SNES back in 1992 and has headed Team Ninja since 2001. He is notorious for his controversial remarks about other developers and titles, and has been a harsh critic of Namco’s Tekken series.

In addition to quitting the company, the superstar developer is also suing the President of Tecmo, Yoshimi Yasuda, for making “unreasonable and disingenuous statements” and “demeaning remarks” about him. This apparently caused Itagaki “significant emotional distress and worsened his personal relationships and work environment”.

Itagaki has also claimed “unpaid completion bonuses” that he was promised he would get for completing work on Dead or Alive 4. He is suing for 148 million yen (£717,000) in damages.

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Itagaki also wrote the following message to his 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.”

This news comes on the eve of the release of Ninja Gaiden 2 and could potentially have negative effects on the games sales.

In lighter news, Microsoft’s Major Nelson has confirmed that a demo of Ninja Gaiden 2 will be available along with tomorrow’s release of the game. The demo will be available in all Xbox Live regions worldwide excluding Germany, India, US and Canada.