Former Ninja Gaiden
and Dead or Alive
team head Tomonobu Itagaki is returning to game development, forming a new studio with several of the other Team Ninja members who joined him in leaving Tecmo.
In an interview with consumer site 1Up
, Itagaki revealed he's been spending his time doing photography projects, but now he and several of his former teammates -- including Team Ninja art director Hiroaki Matsui -- are working on a new IP. They tentatively call themselves the "Tokyo Vikings," but concede there's no official name for the studio yet.
Itagaki and his teammates gave few details on the new project, but suggested it would not be a fighting game; former Team Ninja designer Katsunori Ehara commented that "we did all we can do for a fighting game," and Itagaki added "it'd be more fun if we made something new, right?"
The distinctively outspoken Itagaki resigned from Tecmo
in June 2008 under contentious circumstances, claiming unpaid bonuses, and his latest move confirms speculation from that time period that some of his key staff walked out with him.
Although he's known for his blunt criticisms of other developers and games, Itagaki declined to speak negatively of Tecmo, calling it "the same as disrespecting myself." He was not quite so polite to recent Tecmo acquirer Koei, responding to president Kenji Matsubara's assertion that Itagaki would never work for Koei.
"Who is this Matsubara guy, anyway?" Itakagi said. "Were we talking about dynasties? Unfortunately, I have absolutely no interest in the Dynasty Warrior
franchise. In fact, I prefer that old American TV show, Dynasty. I used to watch it when I was a student."