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Team Ninja not missing Itagaki

Studio has "most powerful team in history."

Team Ninja currently boasts "the most powerful team in history" and has improved since the acrimonious departure of Tomonobu Itagaki, studio boss Yosuke Hayashi has claimed.

Speaking in an interview with Famitsu translated by 1Up, Hayashi said, "The old Team Ninja had a certain braintrust, a group of a few people, and game development tended to always revolve around them.

"That meant we couldn't really expand our development lines much, but with Team Ninja today, each developer can think for themselves on what they can do to make better games. There aren't many studios that can think organically like that.

"I really feel like we're working together and combining our forces to create the best games we can, and in that way, I feel confident in saying that Team Ninja right now is absolutely the most powerful team in history."

Itagaki left the studio in 2008 after filing a lawsuit against his employers for withholding bonus pay. Hayashi took over and has since masterminded the release of Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2, Dead or Alive Paradise and Metroid: Other M.

Hayashi went on to admit that the studio's output has changed a little since his 'senpai' Itagaki left the building.

"I've realised this as we work, but the games we've made after they left feel just a little different from Team Ninja games of the past. It's the personalities of the people behind them coming to the surface.

"I'm sure there are fans who'd prefer the 'old' style, and I think that's just fine. As a fan myself, I'm looking forward to what my senpai do next, but as for us, we're going to keep working as Team Ninja. That's how I've felt about it over the past two years.

"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."

Next up from Team Ninja is Ninja Gaiden 3. Meanwhile, Itagaki is hard at work on Devil's Third for THQ.

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Fred Dutton

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Fred Dutton was Eurogamer's US news editor, based in Washington DC.

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