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Subpar Dead or Alive 2 release drove Itagaki to independence

The version of Dead or Alive 2 Tecmo published for PS2 was incomplete, driving franchise creator Tomonobu Itagaki to found an independent studio.

Speaking at DICE Summit 2012, as reported by Wired and GamesIndustry, Itagaki said Team Ninja were asked to port Dead or Alive 2 from arcade the to the then brand new PS2 in just two and a half months - and couldn't do it.

"All of the staff, led by me, fought for a victory with all their energy, but unfortunately, the result wasn’t what we expected," he said.

Although it seemed Team Ninja had no choice but to accept a delay, Itagaki said Tecmo had other ideas, claiming the publisher's sales general manager asked to borrow the incomplete build.

"I said, sure, yeah, go on, and I handed him the disc which was still under development, but this disc was never played by them," the developer remembered.

"It was taken into a factory for production on that day without me knowing it.

"To be sure the company made a huge profit and of course the IPO was a success too. But I thought I would quit making games because the incomplete game was released."

Itagaki suffered a period of depression in the wake of the sub-par release, watching the fulm Armageddon and listening to Aerosmith's I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing until his three year old daughter told him to snap out of it.

"So I became independent and created my own company and became a stock holder myself," he said.

"Do whatever you want to do and follow your passion. Not just for self-satisfaction and not just for earning money, make something that change audiences lives. I believe video games have such power."

Although he eventually returned to complete the game as Dead or Alive: Hardcore, he was moved to start his own company, Valhalla, further down the track. Valhalla's first release, Devil's Third, will be published by THQ.

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