In Japan, everything changes in the spring. On April 1, Tecmo Koei, from the sounds of it, is making some big changes. At least on paper.
According to a new press release, Tecmo Koei is reorganising its corporate structure. Meh, right? That sounds rather boring and insidery, but the relevant info is how it impacts Team Ninja. Or, rather, the moniker.
Team Ninja is (was?) a Tecmo Koei game development division best known for Ninja Gaiden and Dead or Alive.
The release states that Team Ninja will be reorganised into two new development teams: Ichigaya Development Group 1 and Ichigaya Development Group 2. Neither of them seemed to have "Team Ninja" in them. The "Ichigaya" naming is because Tecmo's offices are located near Ichigaya Station in Tokyo.
What's more, Team Ninja leader Yosuke Hayashi now has a new, official title: Starting April 1, he is the "Head of Ichigaya Development Group 1" and the words "Team Ninja" will no longer appear in his "official" job description, it seems.
It doesn't stop with Hayashi. Keisuke Kikuchi, who used to be "Team Ninja Senior Manager", is now "Head of Ichigaya Development Group 2."
"Ichigaya Development Group" doesn't exactly roll off the tongue, does it?
I'd imagine that Tecmo Koei isn't killing off the "Team Ninja" brand, and this is probably more organisational streamlining than anything. Team Ninja was slated to work on upcoming title Yaiba, and I'd be surprised not to see the Team Ninja logo slapped on that game. But, it could be the end of an era, especially if you hold on to things like names, logos and business cards.
Kotaku is following up with Tecmo Koei for further clarification and will update this post should the company comment.
組織変更及び人事異動に関するお知らせ [Tecmo Koei — Thanks Sang!]