Yakuza director opens new studio after leaving Sega

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Toshihiro Nagoshi, the director of all Yakuza games and former CEO of Sega, has opened a new studio. It is called Nagoshi Studio and is financed by the Chinese game company NetEase. Details about upcoming games have not yet been announced.

Nagoshi has hired several Sega veterans who have also worked on Yakuza games. This is apparent from the website of Nagoshi Studio, where a number of names are mentioned. The founder also writes there that his goal is to create a studio with an ‘open atmosphere’, where creative talents are given a lot of freedom and there are open discussions without hierarchy. He argues that this is the first step for making high-quality games. In October last year, Nagoshi left Sega. A few months before that, there were already rumors that NetEase would want to hire the director.

In an interview with the Japanese magazine Famitsu, Nagoshi said he wanted to do something different and make games that appeal to a wider audience outside of Japan. According to Nagoshi, investor NetEase gives a lot of creative freedom and as a result can develop games with his teams without depending on Sega’s broader business plans and budgets, as was the case before.

Nagoshi had been with Sega since 1989. As a director, he was responsible for the development of all Yakuza games. From the 2005 first installment to its 2021 spin-off Lost Judgment, he did so in his role as general director at Sega’s Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio.

The rights to the Yakuza games are still with Sega. Masayoshi Yokoyama now heads Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio and is responsible for the upcoming games in the series. Yokoyama previously worked as a writer and designer for the Yakuza games. He was the lead writer for the latest installment: Yakuza: Like a Dragon.

Toshihiro Nagoshi

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