After previous rumors in August, Yakuza Director Toshihiro Nagoshi confirms that he will be leaving Sega and Ryo Ga Gotoku Studios.
In an official announcement about the 10th Anniversary of Ryu Gotoku Studios, the Yakuza and Super Monkey Ball developers announced its new structure of upper management and messages from Toshihiro Nagoshi as well as series producer Daisuke Sato on their departure from Sega:
“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!” – Toshihiro Nagoshi
From the tone of the message, it seems that Toshihiro Nagoshi is leaving Sega on good terms. Previous rumors say that he had been approached by Chinese publisher Netease to head a new studio in Japan focused on triple-A console game development, however, this has not been confirmed in this announcement, as it is a Sega studio announcement first and foremost.
A New Beginning for Ryu Ga Gotoku
The announcement also confirms, and really headlines that Ryu Ga Gotoku will continue under a new management structure, depicted in this rather stylish image of its key members.
The studio will now be headed by new Director/Executive Producer Masayoshi Yokoyama (center of picture) who has acted as a writer for the Yakuza series since the first game.
The Yakuza series Chief Director will be Ryosuke Horii (third from the left) and Chief Producer will be Hiroyuki Sakamoto (third from the right), the director, and producer of the critically acclaimed Yakuza: Like a Dragon.
Masayoshi Yokoyama has also left a message about the future of Ryu Ga Gotoku, stating that he believes it necessary for “Ryu Ga Gotoku to continue to be Ryu Ga Gotoku”:
This time, I boldly stand in front of you with the key members of the studio to express my determination just as we did ten years ago.
Though now that you see me acting all cool in this photo, it’s going be extra uncool if the games don’t live up to our standards, so I’m going to give it my all and stay true to my words.
I’m not going to say, “please believe in us!” We’ll continue to do our best and let our games do the talking.
And I hope that you would support and watch over the future endeavors of Nagoshi and Sato, who are embarking on a new journey just as we are.
Ryu Ga Gotoku’s predecessors have passed down their beliefs and know-how to each and every staff member. You can witness it in the recently released Lost Judgment and will see it in the upcoming sequel to Yakuza: Like a Dragon which will continue Ichiban Kasuga’s story.
Yakuza: Like a Dragon has already been released for PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox One X, and PC, likely meaning that this message was written quite some time ago.
They also used this time to confirm that a sequel to Yakuza: Like a Dragon is in development, showing that the series will continue to go strong even without its original director. Little information was given about the sequel besides that it exists, likely meaning that it is still in early development.
We wish Toshihiro Nagoshi, Daisuke Sato, and Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio all the best in their future endeavors.