The Yakuza series is in a bit of an evolutionary stage following the release of the turn-based RPG Yakuza: Like A Dragon last year, which moved away from the series’ usual action-oriented style. Developer Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio has announced it’s working on a sequel to the game, continuing the story of new protagonist Ichiban Kasuga. However, development is starting on a different foot, as RGG has also confirmed previously-reported staff changes, including the departure of long-time Yakuza Executive Director Toshihiro Nagoshi and Producer Daisuke Sato.
The two announced they’re leaving in a blog post on the studio’s website, which also included a note from new studio director Masayoshi Yokoyama as he reflected on his time at Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio and how he feels inheriting the role from Nagoshi.
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.’
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While Nagoshi and Sato don’t say where they’re going, their departure follows reports that Nagoshi would be joining NetEase that sprouted up back in August. In his farewell post, he expressed to fans that the Yakuza series is in good hands with new leadership.
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.
For more on the Yakuza series, check out Fanbyte’s review of the latest spin-off, Lost Judgement.