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Tecmo Fired Itagaki, Fight in Court

| 24 Jul 2008 20:05
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The battle between Tomonobu Itagaki and his former employer continues in court after it was determined the company terminated the Dead or Alive designer "without reasonable cause", labeled him a "money-grubber" and owes him pay.

Nearly two months after Itagaki, who gained notoriety for reviving Ninja Gaiden and developing Dead or Alive, sued Tecmo left the company due to unpaid compensation related to Dead or Alive 4 development, it has been shown that Tecmo fired Itagaki before he was able to quit following the lawsuit announcement.

Evidence presented by Itagaki disclosed that his contract was signed by Tecmo's previous president prior to the promotion of Yoshimi Yasuda to the position. The agreement allows Itagaki to receive "special incentives" based on the profits of his team's individual titles, specifically 6.66 percent for DOA4.

Yasuda was recorded in a private conversation by a former employee he name-called an "idiot" who was "no good" with "no class." In this private conversation at Tecmo before Producer Yoshifuru Okamoto left, Yasuda admitted that he was on the corporation's board of directors that had approved the compensation package, supporting Itagaki's case.

During the recording, Itagaki was also called a "money-grubber" for asking about his bonus. When the lawsuit was originally unveiled by Itagaki, Yasuda said, "If you are dissatisfied with the decision not to pay the bonuses, either quit the company or sue it."

With evidence in hand, the Ninja Gaiden guru raised his claims, asking the courts for 164,000,095 yen ($1.53 million) in damages instead of 148,000,000 yen ($1.38 million). He claims that the increase is for wages he would have earned if Tecmo had not prematurely kicked him out "without reasonable cause."

Following his dismissal, Itagaki was legally gagged by Tecmo so he couldn't speak out against the company. As it turns out, Tecmo had secretly withdrawn its four-point gag order, but never revealed publicly that it did so. Itagaki claims the company kept it hidden to sap his resources fighting it.

He stated, "It is clear that this self-centered behavior by Tecmo Co. Ltd. and its president Yoshimi Yasuda, from the filing of the petition to its subsequent withdrawal, was an attempt to increase my own personal burden in both time and funds needed to combat the petition."

Source: Kotaku (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4)

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