Yakuza 7

Sega’s much loved Yakuza series is set to continue, while its development team, Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio, has just confirmed the biggest creative shake-up in its ten-year history. The double-barrelled news blast comes courtesy of a new announcement on the studio’s website, celebrating its anniversary.

The headline news is that Yakuza series creator Toshihiro Nagoshi and long-term Producer Daisuke Sato are both departing the studio. While neither has yet confirmed their next venture, a report earlier this year suggested that Nagoshi, at least, was in the process of being poached by China’s NetEase, which is reportedly interested in broadening its AAA development efforts.

Taking over leadership of the team is Producer Masayoshi Yokoyama, who used the announcement post to emphasise that the studio will continue to maintain the spirit of the franchise going forward.

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.”

At the time, I had an immense sense of pride in Ryu Ga Gotoku, and that feeling hasn’t changed today. To me, it is something I must protect.

For fans who have supported the series and for actors and development staff, the games Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio creates must be something that all can be proud of.

This is what is necessary for Ryu Ga Gotoku to continue to be Ryu Ga Gotoku.

Yokoyama’s post also reaffirms that a new Yakuza game is in development. The only concrete detail available is that it will continue the story of Ichiban Kasuga, who replaced long-term protagonist Kazuma Kiryu in the latest entry, Yakuza: Like a Dragon.

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