Just today, Yakuza series creator Toshihiro Nagoshi and producer Daisuke Sato have announced their departure from SEGA. Yakuza development team Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio is now helmed by Masayoshi Yokoyama who previously worked as the chief producer for several Yakuza titles as well as most of the series writer. In a statement, Yokoyama also confirms that his team will still work on the Yakuza: Like a Dragon sequel that continues Ichiban Kasuga’s story.
Yakuza 8 is said to be currently being developed by producer Hiroyuki Sakamoto and directors Ryosuke Horii, Yutaka Ito, and Nobuaki Mitake. Meanwhile, Yokoyama along with series’ co-writers Kazunobu Takeuchi and Tsuyoshi Furuta are working on the story. Here are the new Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio leaders:
- Masayoshi Yokoyama, Director of Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio/Executive Producer.
- Ryosuke Horii, Yakuza series Chief Director.
- Hiroyuki Sakamoto, Yakuza series Chief Producer.
- Yutaka Ito, Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio Technical Manager and Lost Judgment Director.
- Nobuaki Mitake, Yakuza series Art Director
- Takayuki Sorimachi, Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio Animation Director
- Daisuke Fukagawa, Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio Visual Design and Cutscene Director
According to Bloomberg’s report, Toshihiro Nagoshi might be leaving SEGA and Yakuza for Chinese gaming giant NetEase Inc. Anonymous sources familiar with the situation said that NetEase was looking to poach Nagoshi. There he is expected to be able to build his own semi-independent team to create new titles for the company. However, Nagoshi hasn’t said whether or not he is actually joining NetEase.
Here’s what Toshihiro Nagoshi and Daisuke Sato have to say regarding their retirement from SEGA and the Yakuza series development team.
Message from Toshihiro Nagoshi
As I depart from SEGA, I’m also leaving my position as the head of Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio. Thank you to the fans who have supported us and the Yakuza series for many years. You have my sincerest and deepest gratitude.
I persisted and am here now thanks to what I learned from many people around me. It’s credit to the colleagues who supported such that I could hone my mindset to continuously push boundaries.
As of today, a new Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio is born where the series will live on. Though I don’t know for sure what they will create, I believe the new generation will further enhance the foundation we built over the years and deliver great games to the world. To achieve that, they too need to continue to learn, challenge themselves, and grow. I ask that you continue your support of the studio’s endeavors.
Once again, I would like to express my deepest appreciation to all of you. Thank you so much for your support. Stay tuned for the many new beginnings!
Message from Daisuke Sato
Thank you very much for your continued support of Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio.
On a personal note, I would like to take this opportunity to inform you that I am leaving SEGA to take a different path. Going forward, Series Producer Yokoyama will succeed the Studio Lead position, and Producer Sakamoto and Director Horii will become core leaders within Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio.
I have been involved in Yakuza’s development from the beginning and served as head of Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio for 9 years, so I feel a strong attachment towards it. It is sad to leave the place and colleagues who I shared many ups and downs with, but Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio has grown to a strong organization after 10 years since its birth.
I believe that the studio has the power to not only continue the Yakuza series, but also to carry on that momentum even further beyond. The studio’s talented personnel are very capable of accomplishing this, which is why I can leave it in their care with confidence.
I am very grateful for being involved in the series that has lasted for 15 years, and I would like to extend my gratitude to all the fans who have supported us, the staff who have worked together to grow the Yakuza series, as well as everyone in the industry that touched the Yakuza series in some way.
I look forward to seeing new titles and will continue to support Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio – this time, as a fan.
I hope the fans will continue to support the new Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio. Once again, thank you so much for your support over the years.”
Between issues regarding actor Takuya Kimura’s likeness as Judgment’s main character and Nagoshi leaving, let’s hope the new Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio and SEGA can make new Yakuza entries that are worthy of the name. Stay tuned at The Nerd Stash for more gaming and nerd updates.