Until 2008, the head ninja of Team Ninja (not pictured) was Dead or Alive creator Tomonobu Itagaki. Then he left and filed a lawsuit over unpaid wages. More Tecmo developers left, too. What's that like for the other ninjas?
"I've been with Team Ninja ever since I graduated from college, so everything I know about the game business I learned from Team Ninja," current Team Ninja honcho Yosuke Hayashi told Famitsu (via 1Up). "Seeing the people who taught me the ropes leave was something I never imagined happening, and to be honest, I felt like I had no idea where to go next. But later I realized that just because they had their reasons and beliefs that led them to leave, I didn't have to follow them along."
Hayashi realized that this was a chance for to reexamine how Team Ninja makes games. He acknowledges that fans were worried "as they had a right to be", but the team buckled down and focused on making games.
Compared to the Team Ninja led by Itagaki, Hayashi points out that it had a group of a few developers that dictated game design. Now, Team Ninja is more open to ideas from the entire team, Hayashi says.
"We're all game developers here, and we can act as cool as we want in interviews, but it doesn't mean anything if the games aren't good. We want to answer the questions with our games, in the end."