Several weeks ago, a rumor reported the imminent departure of SEGA of one of its historical figures, Toshihiro Nagoshi. The information was true but incomplete. The creator of many SEGA games including the Yakuza series does not start alone. Indeed, he takes with him one of the key figures of Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio. This causes a reorganization of the latter.
It’s now official, Toshihiro Nagoshi, the creator of Yakuza, is leaving SEGA after 32 years of loyal service. The information was communicated in a message published on the Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio website, the Yakuza studio. In addition to being the director of this studio, Toshihiro Nagoshi was for a long time the Creative Director of SEGA as a whole. The director of titles like Daytona USA or Super Monkey Ball, however, does not give the reasons for his departure.
What is indicated, however, is that he is not the only one to leave SEGA. Daisuke Sato, the manager of Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio, also reveals his departure. Present at SEGA since the mid-90s, he is a long-time collaborator of Toshihiro Nagoshi. He works on Yakuza since the first episode and has performed titles like Yakuza 3 and Binary Domain. Like Toshihiro Nagoshi, Daisuke Sato does not explain his departure. The two men also do not indicate where they are going.
Anyway, this double start causes a major upheaval in the organization of Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio. 2021 marking the 10 years of the creation of the studio, these departures are accompanied by the announcement of its restructuring. Toshihiro Nagoshi is therefore replaced by Masayoshi Yokoyama, another historical figure in the Yakuza series.
Is the succession of the Yakuza ensured at SEGA?
Masayoshi Yokoyama participated in the writing of all the episodes of the series. He has also held various roles including that of producer. And he will now wear the double hat of director of Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio and executive producer. He will be accompanied at the head of the structure by other key developers of the Yakuza series.
Ryosuke Horii, director of Yakuza: Like a Dragon, will be the chief director of Yakuza from now on. Before moving on to directing, he was for a long time in charge of the ancillary activities seen in the Yakuza. Hiroyuki Sakamoto, the director of Yakuza 6, will take on the role of chief producer of the Yakuza. If he has been working on the series since the first episode, it is possible to note that he has also directed F-Zero GX.
Yutaka Ito, director of Lost Judgment, becomes technical director of Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio. Involved in the creation of Yakuza since the PS2 era, he also worked as a programmer on titles like Fighting Vipers. Nobuaki Mitake, artistic director of Binary Domain, will be the artistic director of Yakuza games from now on.
For his part, Takayuki Sorimachi becomes the animation director of Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio. And to finish with the restructuring, Daisuke Fukagawa will now be the director in charge of visual design and cinematic scenes for the studio’s games. A photo of this new management team is available in our gallery below.
Ichiban back in the first post-Nagoshi Yakuza
In parallel to all these announcements, Masayoshi Yokoyama, the new boss of Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio posted a message. In the latter, he talks about the future of the Yakuza series and the studio’s games. And he also took the opportunity to formalize Yakuza 8, the direct sequel to Yakuza: Like a Dragon :
Two years ago, when we announced Yakuza: Like a Dragon, there was a lot of discussion among fans. And this has allowed us to learn many lessons.
Things that change, things that should be protected, things that should be connected.
For the fans who have supported the series, for the cast and for the development team, the games Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio creates must be something everyone can be proud of. That is why it is necessary that “Ryu Ga Gotoku” remains “Ryu Ga Gotoku.”
Ryu Ga Gotoku’s predecessors passed their beliefs and skills down to every member of the team. You can see this in the recently released Lost Judgment. And you’ll see it in the sequel to Yakuza: Like a Dragon, a game that will continue the story of Ichiban Kasuga.
The game is currently in development under the supervision of Sakamoto (producer) and Horii, Ito and Mitake (directors). I am working on his script with Takeuchi and Furuta.
Whether in six months or a year, I hope I can show you a new Ryu Ga Gotoku game by a new …