It was the Japanese mercato thunderclap of last September: Toshihiro Nagoshi, veteran game designer at SEGA, announced his departure from the publisher for new horizons. The creator of the franchise Yakuza and Judgment was one of SEGA’s most important creatives and headed Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio for more than a decade… Before being canvassed by the Chinese group NetEasewith the promise of the creation of a new studio.
After several months of waiting, we now know the name of this new team: Nagoshi Studio Inc.
AAA games in the viewfinder
It is in the heart of the Shibuya district of Tokyo that the premises of Nagoshi Studio, the new studio of the NetEase group, are established. Several former heads of SEGA and Ryu Ga Gotoku studios such as Daisuke Sato or Toshihiro Ando have also joined the adventure alongside Nagoshi, with the ambition of developing triple-A projects for home consoles.
An open letter posted on the studio’s official website promises “discussions that ignore issues of seniority and hierarchy“, possibly carrying the message of a horizontal structure for this new team—which still bears its name, it should be remembered. The rest of the press release gives pride of place to all corporate phrases, in great new information about the future of the studio.
NetEase in Japanese time
NetEase continues to invest heavily in console gaming made in japan : after establishing its first Sakura Studio in 2020 on the archipelago, the Chinese group redoubled its efforts the following year with the acquisition of Grasshoper Manufacture. If we are still waiting for news of the first project of Sakura Studio, Grasshoper Manufacture is a name already well known to Japanese video game enthusiasts. It is to this team—and its colorful director Goichi Suda, aka Suda51—that we owe the franchise No More Heroes.
As for the Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio, its new director Masayoshi Yokoyama assured in November 2021 that a new episode of Yakuza is indeed in development at the moment… Without further information.