Kiryu and Nishikiyama toasting in Yakuza Kiwami, a remake of Yakuza creator (and Nagoshi Studios founder) Toshihiro Nagoshi's game Yakuza

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Yakuza Creators Team Up To Create Nagoshi Studios

January 24, 2022

By: Joseph Allen

 
 

Yakuza creator Toshihiro Nagoshi has founded a new studio. Nagoshi Studios is a new developer that will focus on creating console games for a worldwide release. The studio comprises not only Nagoshi, but other Sega and Yakuza luminaries like Daisuke Sato and Masao Shirosaki as well.

What do we know about Nagoshi Studios?

In a press release, Nagoshi Studios describes itself as focusing on "high-quality" console titles with a global release focus. The studio is a joint venture with NetEase; after Nagoshi left Sega last year, rumors began to swirl that his new studio would be a joint venture with the Chinese tech giant, and that's exactly what's happened. However, Nagoshi Studios says it will have "full authority" to make whatever it wants. The studio says it still believe what people want from their games "hasn't changed one bit", so it's focusing on creating engaging games with a global reach.

 

Judgment, one of the games worked on by Nagoshi Studios founder Toshihiro Nagoshi
Nagoshi Studios founder Toshihiro Nagoshi created the Yakuza series and worked on its spinoff Judgment.

Speaking to Famitsu (note: article is in Japanese and we're using machine translation), Nagoshi says he expects to be able to do "something different" after leaving Sega. He says he feels as fresh as when he joined the games industry 30 years ago and that founding Nagoshi Studios feels like "a fresh start". He's bringing several Sega alumni with him to the new studio, including long-time Yakuza colleague Daisuke Sato, Super Monkey Ball: Banana Blitz HD director Masao Shirosaki, and Judgment character production lead Toshihiro Ando.

It's likely Nagoshi Studios' first project will move away from Yakuza, if Nagoshi does indeed want to do something different. Maybe we'll finally get something akin to Daisuke Sato's take on Sonic the Hedgehog, albeit in an altogether different world to that of the Blue Blur. Nagoshi has also said that he sees the new studio as an opportunity to get closer to the development process; while he hasn't been directly involved in the Yakuza games of late, it looks like he'll be working on his new games on the ground level, so to speak.

 
 

What does Nagoshi Studios' founding mean for the Yakuza franchise?

If you're a Yakuza fan, don't worry; Sega and Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio have no intentions of leaving Yakuza behind because of Nagoshi's departure. Last year, the studio officially revealed (thanks, Push Square) that a sequel to 2020's turn-based revamp Yakuza: Like a Dragon is in the works. It will once again star new protagonist Ichiban Kasuga and will take place a few years after the events of Like a Dragon. Ryu Ga Gotoku isn't resting on its laurels, though; the studio also has a new IP on the way, although we don't yet know what that will entail.

Ichiban Kasuga in Yakuza: Like a Dragon
Ryu Ga Gotoku's next Yakuza game will feature new protagonist Ichiban Kasuga once again.

We'll have to wait and see what Nagoshi Studios and NetEase will create together. In the meantime, if you want to check out the latest instalment in the saga Nagoshi created, you can play Yakuza: Like a Dragon on PC, PlayStation, and Xbox consoles right now. You can also check out Lost Judgment, the sequel to the 2018 Yakuza spinoff, on PlayStation and Xbox platforms. Toshihiro Nagoshi was directly involved in the writing process for Lost Judgment, too, so you can get an idea of what his next game might feel like, even if it won't be similar in execution.

 
 

Are you looking forward to seeing what Nagoshi Studios creates? Let us know in the comments below!