Click to viewAs we broke earlier today, the second round of oral arguments in the Itagaki vs. Tecmo suit commenced. Dead or Alive creator Tomonobu Itagaki is suing for unpaid DoA 4 wages. These "special incentive" wages were agreed to by the former Tecmo president and the board of directors claims Itagaki, but the current president is claiming these "special incentive" wages were made single-handedly by the former president and not approved by the Tecmo board. Early last month, Itagaki left Tecmo and filed suit for unpaid bonuses. As Itagaki stated then, "President Yoshimi Yasuda chose not only to violate this agreement, but also turned defiant, telling me 'if you are dissatisfied with the decision not to pay the bonuses, either quit the company or sue it.'"
We've posted all the documentation Tomonobu Itagaki submitted into evidence during the second round of arguments. Itagaki claims he has even more evidence, going as far as stating: "I am prepared to reveal this evidence as the need arises for the sake of greater justice." The evidence submitted earlier today after the jump. Heads up as there's lots of big images ready to suck up your bandwidth — and they're all in Japanese.
This contract, dated March 4th 2005, covers "special incentives" for Dead or Alive 4. The "special incentives" program was proposed by the former president of Tecmo (the president before current president Yoshimi Yasuda) where all employees would receive a certain percentage of the profits from a big-selling game. The profit points would be distributed among members of the team with the highest share going to the senior employees. In the DoA4 contract Itagaki submitted, it clearly states that he is entitled to 6.66 percent of the earned profits from the project.
In the statement Itagaki released today, he has now increased his claim for damages against Tecmo from the previously announced figure of 148,000,000 yen to 164,000,095 yen. In American money, that's an increase from $1.38 million to $1.53 million. The claim increase Itagaki is asking for simply reflects the wages he should have earned at the end of this June had he not been fired by the company.
This is the document Tecmo submitted to withdrawal its four-point gag order submission. As Itagaki says in his statement, "From the outset, the claims made in this petition had changed repeatedly in a short period of time, causing me to wonder what they would claim next; apparently Tecmo and its president Yoshimi Yasuda finally realized that their petition would most likely be denied, and before the fourth round of debates regarding its merit were held the claim was withdrawn unexpectedly." Continuing "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."
This is the signed affidavit from Ninja Gaiden II producer Yoshifuru Okamoto. Okamoto explains that he recorded a conversation with Tecmo president Yoshimi Yasuda on January 22nd of this year. The reason for this, Okamoto explains, is that Yasuda had harassed him, calling him names.
Above is the audio transcript of the conversation between President Yasuda and Okamoto. In the transcript, Yasuda admits that the special bonus incentive had in fact been submitted and approved by the board of directors before he became president and while he was still section director. Yasuda says that the special incentive scheme had been discussed and a ringi (a type of Japanese corporate approval form) had been signed by the board of directors.
On page 2 of this transcript, when Okamoto says the special incentive wasn't voted on (like Yasuda now claims), Yasuda then replied, 取締役会決議と稟議が起きているんだよ. That literally translates to "The board of directors did vote on it and a ringi was signed." This is in direct conflict with Yasuda's court claim that this "special incentives" proposal was made single-handedly by the former president and not approved by the Tecmo board. Therefore, it is invalid, states Yasuda. The recording helps support Itagaki's claim that this special incentive bonus was approved by Tecmo's former president and the board of directors, and that the current president knows this.
Also, during the conversation, Yasuda called Itagaki a "money grubber" because of the developer's desire to be paid incentives that had been approved by Tecmo. Yet in court, Yasuda has denied calling Itagaki a "money grubber." In Itagaki's statement, the game designer says that this audio recording is only a small part of concrete evidence he has. "I am prepared to reveal this evidence as the need arises for the sake of greater justice," Itagaki states.