Tomonobu Itagaki Returns to Games Industry with New Studio Itagaki Games

Tomonobu Itagaki

Tomonobu Itagaki, the creator of Dead or Alive and 3D Ninja Gaiden series, has announced he is returning to the industry by forming Itagaki Games.

In a Facebook post on January 16th, Itagaki revealed part of a Bloomberg interview which had been omitted due to character limit. Therein, he discussed working with Microsoft, and how in the past four years he had been teaching. He concluded and revealed that he felt like making games again, and so established a company, Itagaki Games, to do just that.

As the interview was Microsoft focused, Itagaki was asked if he would want the company to become part of Microsoft Game Studios. Itagaki explained that if they reached out to him, and could beat their rivals, he would be honored.

“Haha, I would start again with questions that I made to Seamus [Seamus Blackley] two decades ago. Back then, I asked him, are you confident that you will beat PS2? He said yes. Xbox is called ‘Project Midway’ and I’ll gain the supremacy with it. That’s why I trusted him and actually created Xbox-exclusive games for about 10 years. 20 years have passed since then, and I established my own company, Itagaki Games, which is not Tecmo, nor Valhalla. I know Microsoft is still aggressive. If they reach out to me, it will be an honor for me.”

Itagaki’s gaming career started in the early 1990s, when he joined Tecmo as a graphics programmer for Tecmo Super Bowl. He would later direct Dead or Alive, and began leading Team Ninja in July 2001, and directed and produced Ninja Gaiden. 

In 2008 Itagaki left Team Ninja, and sued then President of Tecmo Yoshimi Yasuda over allegedly unpaid bonuses. Yasuda would resign later that year among other lawsuits by former employees.

Itagaki’s last official work was directing Devil’s Third with Valhalla Game Studios. Itagaki was however the “supreme advisor” on Samurai Jack: Battle Through Time.

Image: Facebook

Ryan Pearson


Taking his first steps onto Route 1 and never stopping, Ryan has had a love of RPGs since a young age. Now he's learning to appreciate a wider pallet of genres and challenges.