Games of Fame: Ninja Gaiden, and Dead or Alive series.
Signature of Style: Itagaki's signature of style may be summarized with two words: difficulty and breasts. When the Ninja Gaiden series reemerged on the Xbox in 2004, it marked the return of the brutal blister-inducing difficulty of the 2D scrolling era. Those unable to cope with the challenge could play through the game's more forgiving Ninja Dog Mode if they were willing to go through the humiliation of donning a pink bracelet. But despite the frustrations of those who continuously failed to beat the first boss, Ninja Gaiden's masochistic difficulty was enthusiastically embraced by the majority.
The Hurricane Pack updates for Ninja Gaiden via Xbox Live bumped up the level of difficulty yet again with a tower challenge that had you facing multiple bosses and masses of the game's most challenging enemies at the same time.
Above: Itagaki's penchant for challenging gamplay and mammoth mammaries met with the introduction of Rachel as a playable character in Ninja Gaiden Sigma
Although Itagaki's Dead or Alive fighting series introduced gameplay with more of a focus on counter attacks and timing than its rival contemporaries, and later became known for its over-the-top multi-tiered levels, the series primarily fed on the primal Freudian urges that bind men around the world.
In a 2004 interview with Game Informer, Itagaki says, "I wanted to do something that would attract people's attention as I worked on the DOA game. Of course, DOA is known for its bouncing breastsâ€¦ Of course, when I applied it to a 3D game, it was almost too much for people." Indeed, like a swinging pendulum, the almost grotesquely over-sized and jiggly chests of the Dead or Alive girls were strangely hypnotic, and catered to the stereotypical young male gamer.
Dead or Alive's title was coined because it was a sink or swim project that needed to generate a fresh base of fans for a new Tecmo-born franchise. Itagaki's plan to "attract people's attention" worked. Since then, the Dead or Alive series continues to be popular, and is responsible for the advancement of three dimensional breast physics pioneered during its bouncy and blocky beginnings in arcades.