Toshihiro Nagoshi was reportedly in talks to leave Sega for NetEase, and today it’s been confirmed, along with Yakuza producer Daisuke Sato who is also leaving the company. Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio shared an announcement about the departure of the two founders and plans for what’s next.
Replacing Nagoshi as the director of Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio is Masayoshi Yokoyama. The director talked about the new structure coming to the studio. He also confirmed Yakuza 8. The new game title is still tentative, but it will be a sequel to Yakuza: Like a Dragon, which will continue the story of Ichiban Kasuga.
Toshihiro Nagoshi and Daisuke Sato have played key roles at Sega for many years. More specifically, their work goes back to the 90s, much before Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio was established. That means Yokoyama and the other new leaders have some big shoes to fill, not only for the Yakuza series but for the company.
Here’s a quote from Masayoshi Yokoyama’s message about taking over as the new director:
Before Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio became truly established, “Ryu Ga Gotoku” was basically synonymous with “Toshihiro Nagoshi.”
However, I did not want to rely too heavily on that. So although I had little influence at the time, I kept fighting for change. Ten years have passed since then, and that resistance I had felt has changed to a feeling of comradery over time and now, I am inheriting the studio from a great creator.
In announcing the new structure of the studio, I contemplated what I should convey to everyone. Then, I remembered the words I said on August 31st ten years ago, onstage at the Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio launch announcement:
“I’m proud to be standing here as a member of the studio today.”
At the time, I had an immense sense of pride in “Ryu Ga Gotoku,” and that feeling hasn’t changed today. To me, it is something I must protect.
You can read his full quote here.
Both Toshihiro Nagoshi and Daisuke Sato shared personal messages about leaving Sega. Check them out below:
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.