In a shock announcement, SEGA and Ryu ga Gotoku announced that both Yakuza series creator Toshihiro Nagoshi and studio head Daisuke Sato have left the companies. The two will be pursuing their own careers in the industry outside of SEGA with Nagoshi being rumored to head a new studio at NetEase. The developers also named their successors: director/executive producer Masayoshi Yokoyama, director Ryosuke Horii and producer Hiroyuki Sakamoto. Here’s what Nagoshi and Sato had to say:
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.
Toshihiro Nagoshi left SEGA on a very high note with one of his best works yet, Lost Judgment. Read up on our review of the game here. Stay tuned at Final Weapon for the latest Japanese gaming news and updates!