Itagaki quits Team Ninja, sues Tecmo president for “unpaid completion bonuses”

Tuesday, 3 June 2008 07:31 GMT By Patrick Garratt

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Update: Kotaku‘s got a statement out of Tecmo on this: “We’re aware of the statement sent out to the press by Itagaki but do not have anything more to add at this time.”

Boom. According to this 1UP post, enigmatic Team Ninja head Tomonobu Itagaki has resigned from the developer and is suing parent company Tecmo for “unpaid completion bonuses”.

In a statement, Itagaki said: “”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.”

Itagaki’s resignation was effective as of June 1.

The developer said that a completion bonus had been promised before start of work on Dead or Alive 4, and was never paid.

“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,” Itagaki said.

“Thus, I have no choice but to resign from Tecmo.”

Itagaki added a note to game fans at the bottom of the statement, saying he was sorry that he’ll never be able to make Dead or Alive 5.

The news comes as what will clearly be Itagaki’s last Tecmo game, Ninja Gaiden 2, readies for launch this week.

Read the full thing after the link.

“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.

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.

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 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

Tomonobu Itagaki”

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