Tomonobu Itagaki is an infamous developer who worked with Xbox on exclusive titles Ninja Gaiden and Dead Or Alive 3 with hopes to do the same after 20 years.
Itagaki was interviewed by Bloomberg once he established a new studio to work on games, after 4 years of being a teacher. Bloomberg was not able to post the full interview due to length and character restrictions and have allowed Itagaki to post the full interview on his Facebook page.
In the interview, Itagaki expressed a lot of joy and comfort working with Microsoft on exclusive titles. When asked if working with Xbox was good he responded with;
“Very much. Very comfortable. All the main Xbox team, including Seamus Blackley, Ed Fries, Kevin Bachus, their leader Robbie Bach and George Peckham who often played golf with me, provided me full support on me.”
One big question that Itagaki was questioned about is becoming a Microsoft first-party company if they were to reach out and ask. Itagaki expressed a sense of passion for working with Microsoft again when he answered “I trusted him (Seamus Blackley) 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 honour for me.”
Blackley was the Microsoft representative that oversaw Itagaki and his team as they worked on Dead Or Alive 3 for the original Xbox. Dead Or Alive 3 only had 13 months to be made, without Blackley fast-tracking the certification process and other various forms of support, the game would not have made the launch of the original Xbox.
Itagaki still has a cult following of fans who want more games from the developer. He worked on some influential titles along with the worst game in his career The Devil’s Third that flopped both critically and with fans. The highs out-way the lows with Itagaki, the Ninja Gaiden games and Dead Or Alive helped make the man a stand out in the industry with many still following his works.