Tekken producer Katsuhiro Harada has admitted that he misses his rivalry with outspoken Dead Or Alive creator Tomonobu Itagaki, who left Team Ninja last year and is now working on Devil's Third, an action-adventure for publisher THQ.
"In the past, Itagaki always mentioned various things about Tekken," Harada told 1UP, a reference to a feature the site ran in 2005 in which Itagaki listed his five most-loved and most-hated games, with his hate-list entirely comprised of Tekken games.
"There were a few times when I got pissed at what I saw, but I'm kind of realising that when I saw what he was saying – after he quit Team Ninja, I think he was asked about fighting games and what he thought, and apparently said: 'Well I don't make fighting games anymore, so I'm not really in a place to comment on that' – I felt kind of sad when I saw that.
"[It is] a lot more enjoyable to work when you have rivals like that, and when they continue to decrease it really is kind of sad."
Yosuke Hayashi, the man charged with filling Itagaki's controversial boots at Team Ninja, prefers to focus on his work. Asked for his thoughts on his former studio keeping its opinions to itself, Itagaki said: "That's because they are ordinary Japanese people. Harada and I are crazy people. So I'll say something. I'll give him a call."
These days, of course, relations between fighting game developers are much improved. The upcoming Street Fighter X Tekken has brought Harada and Street Fighter producer Yoshinori Ono together in ways which, as you'll see below, it's hard to imagine Itagaki participating.