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Greetings from CTO

  I'm Itagaki Tomonobu, Valhalla's Chief Technical Officer. A lot of people have asked me, "Why go independent?" The biggest reason is my resolve to create the best entertainment in the world with my partners. I want to create a game that will stir emotion in fans across the world and energize gamers of the future. As many of you know, mythological Valhalla was the place where the strongest chosen warriors gathered. To this end, I have prepared a battlefield where warriors with true strength may battle to their hearts' content.

  At the moment, the game industry is not the only thing going through reformation in Japan. However, we're not looking for a position of relativity. We operate in absolutes, and we decide where, when, and for whom we fight.

  For whom? For gamers: for those who bring our games to life. For our comrades, for our families. My philosophy has never wavered for the past 18 years. Today, the Japanese game industry is bending greatly from perverse capitalist theory. What the future holds, I won't discuss it here. However, I'm not happy-go-lucky enough to decide my position after the destination becomes clear to everyone.

  Valhalla is not a big company, but we've chosen gifted warriors to ride with us. We have assembled a team of high talent and experience. Therefore, we go with confidence as we start our journey. As such, I have gone independent to follow through on this passion.

  Looking back, I have created video games for almost 30 years. I began back in junior high school. The game had to do with Gundam shooting. I decided the design, and my younger brother wrote assembly code. I created the pixels of Gundam and Zaku. Now that I think about it, my first job was pixel coloring.

  In high school and university, I separated myself from video games. Gambling was a lot more stimulating. On a gambling table, it is no wonder that a young boy feels a pleasant sensation by continuously winning against elders, who he could never win against in society. Consequently, I had to sing the song of Waseda University for 10 years. Anyway, I thought I would become a professional gambler. It was then that I met the founder of a game developing company.

"What did you study in school?" he asked me. "Gambling", I replied. Within a split second, he said, "Meaningless. Work is the greatest gamble of all. Don't you know that?" I still remember today. Of course I didn't think so. But I wanted to beat him on his gambling table. Consequently, his words threw me onto the road as a game designer. In the sixteen years since that point, I've created many games and I've worked with many great colleagues, people who knew games well. Game after game, each one a battle, always a struggle of will and wit. But it was fun.

  From now on, time will travel fast. The ocean is our battlefield. There isn't a single person in Valhalla who doesn't understand the rise and fall of tides, the deceptive complexity of wind. Our ship is in good hands and we will create a game that will rock the world.

  In 2010, I will redefine myself. I will lead the charge of mighty warriors who know everything about the art of fighting and we will create a brilliant game for the ages. The warriors of Valhalla will shine. For me, there is no greater joy.

March 1st, 2010
Tomonobu Itagaki

Favorite phrase:

"Now carrying with a tough thousand thoughts, the whistle blows once more.
 Now carrying a thousand thoughts, the train departs once more.
 As one journey ends, another is about to begin.
 Farewell, Maetel. Farewell, Galaxy Express 999. Farewell, Days of Youth."

Leiji Matsumoto

History

1967/4/1 Born in Tokyo
1985/3 Graduated from Waseda University Senior High School
1992/3 Graduated from Waseda University Dept. of Legal Education
1992/4 Joined Tecmo Co., Ltd.
2000/4 - Served as Corporate Officer / General Mgr. of the 3rd Creative Dept.
2001/10 - Served as Corporate Officer / General Mgr. of Team NINJA
2004/6 - Served as Executive Corporate Officer / General Mgr. of Team NINJA
2006/2 - Served as Executive Corporate Officer / President of High-End Production
2008/7/1 Resigned from Tecmo Ltd. to become independent.

Itagaki's works - track record of awards

[ Works ]

DEAD OR ALIVE (Arcade / Nov. 1996) Producer & Director
DEAD OR ALIVE (Saturn / Oct. 1997) Producer & Director
DEAD OR ALIVE (PS / Mar. 1998) Producer & Director
DEAD OR ALIVE ++ (Arcade / Oct. 1998) Producer & Director
DEAD OR ALIVE 2 (Arcade / Nov. 1999) Producer & Director
DEAD OR ALIVE 2 Millennium (Arcade / Jan. 2000) Producer & Director
DEAD OR ALIVE 2 (PS2 / Mar. 2000) Producer & Director
DEAD OR ALIVE 2 (Dreamcast / Sep. 2000) Producer & Director
DOA2 HARD・CORE (PS2 / Dec. 2000) Producer & Director
DEAD OR ALIVE 3 (Xbox / Feb. 2002) Producer & Director
DEAD OR ALIVE Xtreme Beach Volleyball (Xbox / Jan. 2003) Producer & Director
NINJA GAIDEN (Xbox / Mar. 2004) Producer & Director
DEAD OR ALIVE Ultimate (Xbox / Nov. 2004) Producer & Director
NINJA GAIDEN Black (Xbox / Sep. 2005) Producer & Director
TECMO CLASSIC ARCADE (Xbox / Oct. 2005) Producer & Director
DEAD OR ALIVE 4 (Xbox 360 / Dec. 2005) Producer & Director
DEAD OR ALIVE Xtreme 2 (Xbox 360 / Nov. 2006) Chief Designer & Software Architect
NINJA GAIDEN Σ (PS3 / Jun. 2007) Executive producer
NINJA GAIDEN Dragon Sword (DS / Mar. 2008) Executive producer
NINJA GAIDEN 2 (Xbox 360 / Jun. 2008) Producer & Director
(All works developed and published by TECMO)

[ Awards / Remarkable Events ]

≪ DEAD OR ALIVE ≫

  • UK: Resistance Red Star Awards 1997 - Game of the Year No.2

≪ DEAD OR ALIVE 2 ≫

  • Shin Force: Arcade Game of the Year 2000
  • Shin Force: 3D Fighting Game of the Year
  • AIAS Annual Awards 2001: Console Fighting Game of the Year
  • AIAS Annual Awards 2001: Animation (runners-up)
  • EGM Editor's Choice Silver Award
  • Incite Golden Award

≪ DEAD OR ALIVE 3 ≫

  • Best of E3 2001: Technological Excellence
  • Best of E3 2001: Best Graphics - runners-up
  • Game Informer Best Graphics
  • OXM Best Fighting Game of Year One
  • Electric Playground Best Console Fighting Game
  • PLAY Best Fighting Game No.1
  • GamePro Reader's Choice: Best Fighting Game
  • EGM Best Reader's Choice: Xbox Fighting Game of the Year
  • IGN.com Reader's Choice: Best Xbox Graphics
  • Game Revolution Best Xbox Action Game of 2001
  • GameSpot Editor's Choice: Best Graphics, Technical
  • IGN.com Editor's Choice: Best Xbox Fighting Game of 2001
  • GameSpy Fighting Xbox Game of the Year
  • GameSpy Best Graphic
  • AIAS Console Fighting Game of the Year
  • AIAS Animation
  • EGM Editor's Choice Silver Award
  • EGM Reader's Choice Fighting Game of the Year
  • Video Game Vixens 2005: Dressed to Kill - Kasumi from the Dead or Alive series

≪ DEAD OR ALIVE Xtreme Beach VolleyBall ≫

  • Best of E3 2002: Best Non-Playable Presentation
  • Spike Video Game Awards 2003: Best Animation
  • TeamXbox.com Editor's Choice Award Silver
  • CESA Game Awards Future
  • National Academy of Video Game Testers and Reviews Corp: Character Design
  • Mexican Gamer Awards: Best Game for Xbox
  • Mexican Gamer Awards: Best Graphics

≪ NINJA GAIDEN ≫

  • IGN's Best Xbox Action Game 2004
  • IGN's Best Xbox Downloadable Content 2004
  • X-Play's Best Action/Adventure Game 2004
  • EGM's Xbox Game of the Year 2004
  • EGM Editor's Choice Gold Award
  • TeamXbox Game of the Year 2004 - Best Action Game
  • 1up.com Best Action Game 2004
  • Play Magazine Action Game of the Year 2004
  • Play Magazine Best Control 2004
  • OXM Best Action/Adventure Game of 2004
  • OXM Best Art Direction
  • OXM Best Download: Hurricane Pack

≪ DEAD OR ALIVE Ultimate ≫

  • IGN Best Fighting Game 2004
  • IGN Editor's Choice
  • IGN Best Graphics
  • TeamXbox Best Fighting Game 2004
  • TeamXbox Best Graphics
  • Play Magazine Fighting Game of the Year 2004
  • File Front.com Best Console Graphics
  • OXM Best Fighting Game
  • Talk Xbox 2004 Game of the Year Technical Awards
  • Talk Xbox 2004 Best Multiplayer/Xbox Live Title of the Year
  • Talk Xbox 2004 Individual Awards: Runner-Up
  • World Cyber Game (worldwide tournament) 2005 official title

≪ NINJA GAIDEN Black ≫

  • GameSpot's Best Xbox Game 2005
  • IGN's Best Xbox Action Game 2005
  • TeamXbox's Best Xbox Action Game 2005

≪ DEAD OR ALIVE 4 ≫

  • TeamXbox 2006 Xbox 360 Best Fighting Game of the Year
  • OXM 2006 Fighting Game of the Year: Runners-up
  • World Cyber Game (worldwide tournament) 2006 official title
  • World Cyber Game (worldwide tournament) 2007 official title
  • Used for 2007 Championship Gaming Series, televised match shown on DirecTV
  • Used for 2008 Championship Gaming Series, televised match shown on DirecTV

≪ DEAD OR ALIVE Xtreme 2 ≫

  • OXM 2006 Game of the Year Awards: Perviest Use of Physics

≪ NINJA GAIDEN Σ ≫

  • IGN's Game of the Month

≪ NINJA GAIDEN Dragon Sword ≫

  • IGN.com Best Nintendo DS Action Game of 2008
  • IGN.com Best Graphics Technology for the Nintendo DS
  • GameSpot 2008 Special Achievements Awards: Best User of Control Scheme (nominated for Nintendo DS Game of the Year)

≪ NINJA GAIDEN Series ≫

  • Game Daily.com "Top 25 Hardest Games of All Time" (No.1)

* Above are the excerpt of major awards only.

Photo:  Weekly Famitsu Magazine