Tomonobu Itagaki has been away for a long time. After finishing Ninja Gaiden II for Xbox 360 back in 2008, the man behind some of gaming's most flamboyant creations broke from his team at Tecmo to go independent. He founded Valhalla Studios in 2008 and announced Devil's Third in 2010. Shifting from the martial arts pyrotechnics of Ninja Gaiden and Dead or Alive, Devil's Third would be a third-person shooter of all things. After delays, disappearances, and the death of its publisher THQ, Third re-appeared at E3 2014 under an unlikely banner: the Nintendo Wii U.
"We developed the game up to an early playable version at THQ but then there was the unfortunate end of that company," Itagaki said via a translator. "Then, when we went looking for partners and found Nintendo who really supported my vision. I'm not really sure if it would have been possible ten years ago to be honest, but I've had a long relationship with Nintendo going back to the Nintendo and Super Nintendo. Once I went independent, I definitely went over to Nintendo to say hello."
It's been a long time since he went independent, though. Just like his games, Itagaki was alternately stoic and funny discussing how his development process has changed as he faced myriad challenges to get his game made.
"I like to think of myself as a warrior," said Itagaki.