|Founded||January 1, 1995|
|Yosuke Hayashi President|
|Products||Dead or Alive series |
Ninja Gaiden series
Koei Tecmo (2009–present)
Team Ninja (Japanese: チームニンジャ) (stylised as Team NINJA) is a Japanese video game developer and a division of Koei Tecmo, founded in 1995. It was formerly led by Tomonobu Itagaki, later by Yosuke Hayashi, and is best known for the Ninja Gaiden action-adventure game series and the Dead or Alive fighting game series.
Team Ninja was formed by Itagaki from game designers working at Tecmo, specifically for the purpose of creating the home versions of the fighting game Dead or Alive and its sequel, Dead or Alive 2. In 2008, the action-adventure game Ninja Gaiden II for the Xbox 360 was published by Microsoft Game Studios, making it the first game created by Team Ninja to not be published by Tecmo; Tecmo Koei later released an enhanced version of Ninja Gaiden II on the PlayStation 3 as Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2.
On June 3, 2008, Dead or Alive creator Tomonobu Itagaki announced that he would be leaving Tecmo and Team Ninja on July 1, 2008, citing difficulties with the company. In the same statement announcing his resignation, he also announced that he was filing a lawsuit against Tecmo over unpaid bonuses for his work on Dead or Alive 4 for the Xbox 360. It was later reported that he was fired from Tecmo on June 18, 2008 in retaliation for his lawsuit. Many of his colleagues at Team Ninja quit as well to join him at his new game development team, Valhalla Game Studios. Some ex-Team Ninja members also helped with Ubisoft's Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Smash-Up.
Team Ninja also worked on multiple titles for Nintendo. In 2010, Team Ninja co-developed a new Metroid action-adventure game for Nintendo's Wii console, titled Metroid: Other M (a playable Stage from Other M later appeared in Dead or Alive: Dimensions). They collaborated with Omega Force for Hyrule Warriors, an action game set in The Legend of Zelda universe, in 2014.
In 2013, following a reconstructing of Koei Tecmo, Team Ninja was split into two distinct development teams. They are dubbed Ichigaya Development Group 1 (led by Ninja Gaiden Sigma director Yosuke Hayashi) and Ichigaya Development Group 2 ( by Fatal Frame producer Keisuke Kikuchi).
In 2016, Team Ninja garnered public attention after their decision to not release Dead or Alive Xtreme 3 in North America or Europe, resulting in a controversy within the video game industry about the sexualised portrayal of female characters within their games. Sony Interactive Entertainment CEO Shuhei Yoshida said in a statement; "It's due to cultural differences. The West has its own thinking about how to depict women in games media which is different from Japan."
In 2017, they released Nioh, which has received multiple revisions and has been in development since 2004, to great critical response. They are currently working with Square Enix on the arcade game Dissidia Final Fantasy, as well as Fire Emblem Warriors with Nintendo and Omega Force.
- Dead or Alive: Code Chronos - A prequel to the Dead or Alive series, which was going to focus on the backstory of Kasumi and Ayane, and reportedly was not going to be a fighting game. It was cancelled in November 2010.
- Ninja Gaiden 3DS - A Nintendo 3DS project announced by Team Ninja in 2011. It was quietly cancelled at a later date.
- Icons: Dead or Alive.
- Ashcroft, Brian (2008-06-23). "Itagaki Didn't Leave Tecmo, He Was Fired". Kotaku. Retrieved 2009-06-03.
- "Hands On: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Smash-Up" (News). The Escapist.
- "Team Ninja splits into two groups following Tecmo Koei|restructuring" (News). Polygon.
- Rob, Crossley (November 25, 2015). "Dead or Alive Xtreme 3 Won't Ship Worldwide Due to Sexism Backlash Fears". GameSpot. Retrieved November 25, 2015.
- davidjenkins2012 (25 November 2015). "Dead Or Alive Xtreme 3 cancelled in West because of sexism - Metro News". Metro.
- "Dead or Alive Xtreme 3 Won't Ship Worldwide Due to Sexism Backlash Fears [UPDATE]". GameSpot.
- "Dead Or Alive Xtreme 3 Not Coming West Due to Cultural Differences, Says Sony Boss - Niche Gamer". Niche Gamer.
- Corriea, Alexa Ray (16 September 2016). "How Nioh Evolved from a JRPG to an Action Game". GameSpot. Archived from the original on 8 November 2016. Retrieved 16 February 2017.
- Matulef, Jeffrey (30 September 2016). "Nioh director Fumihiko Yasuda on difficulty, player feedback and what's changing". Eurogamer. Archived from the original on 7 October 2016. Retrieved 16 February 2017.
- Spencer (11 July 2011). "What's Next For Team Ninja? The Short Answer Is Ni-Oh". Siliconera. Retrieved 23 February 2017.
- "Ninja Gaiden 3DS". IGN. Retrieved 23 February 2017.