Tomonobu Itagaki: Interview Summer 05
Kikizo's latest hot interview with the Team Ninja Boss on Dead or Alive 4, Ninja Gaiden Black, DOAX2, breaking Xbox 360 dev kits, his wife, and much more!
It's not that long since our last chat with charismatic leader of Tecmo's Team Ninja development studio - but since then, Dead or Alive 4 has been unveiled - and once again, all eyes are on Tomonobu Itagaki and his team to see just how much they can do for Xbox - this time, as a truly exemplary developer on the new platform.
Of course, we wanted to talk with Itagaki about more than just DOA4... a lot more. Like the latest with Ninja Gaiden, for example. But first, in typically cheeky style, it seems Itagaki-san has a question or two for Kikizo...
Itagaki: So, by the way... what does Kikizo mean?!
Kikizo: You tell me... we just made the word up, so I hope it's not an offensive word in Japanese or something...
Itagaki: No it's not, but it does sort of sound Japanese, so it could pass for a Japanese site maybe, even though we don't know what it means.
Kikizo: That was our intention for it to sound sort of Japanese and cool sounding. The website is "entertainment information" which are two clumsy words to make a good name, and anything you try to register as a dot com domain is gone, so we made a new word up.
Itagaki: Ah, I see - so it's intended for US or UK audience?
Kikizo: It's a global audience, most of our commercial activity is in the UK but we do a lot of the editorial stuff here [in the US].
Itagaki: Because if it was aimed at a European audience, maybe the information I can give you would be more exclusive...
Kikizo: How would information for Europe be different?
Itagaki: For example the launch date in Europe would be later, and we could also talk about certain worries concerning certain things... [in English:] but of course, you can do as you like!
Kikizo: Let's try and cover everything! [Catering person brings in loads of Coca Cola]. Erm, can I take a Coke? I haven't eaten or drunk all day.
Itagaki: Yes, please...
Kikizo: I am too anxious at to eat at this time of year.
Itagaki: Well you know, once a year we have a chance to lose weight, right?
Kikizo: [pointing to self:] Yeah, well it's not going very well, as you can see... [laughter]
Itagaki: [In English, pointing to some of the enamel-worn buttons on Kikizo's oldest video camera:] What's this?
Kikizo: It has been used quite a lot...
Itagaki: [In English:] Pressing too much?
Kikizo: Yep, it's just sort of worn off...
Itagaki: [In English:] Ah... this machine is very happy! [laughter]
Kikizo: So, thanks as always for your time today... shall we start with Ninja Gaiden Black? The impression we have is that it's the Hurricane Packs rolled into one standalone unit - what else should we know?
Itagaki: Well, it's not like we just simply added Hurricane Pack to the original Ninja Gaiden - we actually put the elements from Hurricane Pack into the original Ninja Gaiden and kind of rebuilt the whole thing. A lot of people will assume that it's just like a booster disc type of thing, but that's not the case - we took our time, and kind of essentially the game.
Kikizo: But you know, with those Hurricane Packs having been free and everything, it just seems like an amazing amount of effort that you personally, and your team puts into it - just purely for the joy of the user, with no obvious commercial incentive to be doing it. That's pretty unique. Is that something that reflects your attitude as a developer?
Itagaki: [Smiles]. Of course, people will think that we're doing this purely as a service to the fans. But the fact of the matter is that, as a developer, I just wanted to keep on polishing up the game, and making the game better. Of course, we spent a lot of money making Hurricane Pack - in fact, you could buy several nice big homes with the money we spent building the additional Hurricane Pack! But it's like an investment for the future. We know we'll continue to make the Ninja Gaiden series, and we know that all this work is not going to be wasted.
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Dead or Alive 4
Full trailer HD (Tecmo)
|5.03m||128MB||DF, HD, 60
Dead or Alive 4
Full trailer SD (Tecmo)
|5.03m||91MB||DF, SD, 30