Yakuzas Toshihiro Nagoshi and Daisuke Sato leave Sega

Kazuma Kiryu from the Yakuza series

Picture: Sega / Kotaku

Having was first rumored back in August, it’s snowing has been confirmed: Yakuza series creator Toshihiro Nagoshi leaves both Sega and his own Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio. Also with him out the door is longtime series director and producer Daisuke Sato.

The couple posted both messages on the studio’s official website advertises their departure. Nagoshi’s says:

When I retire from SEGA, I am also leaving my position as Head of Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio. Thanks to the fans who have supported us and the Yakuza series for many years. You have my sincere and deepest gratitude.

I kept going and am here now thanks to what I learned from many people around me. It is the credit of the colleagues who supported in such a way that I was able to refine my thinking to continually push boundaries.

From today, a new Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio has been born, where the series will live on. While I do not know for sure what they will create, I believe the new generation will further strengthen the foundation we have built over the years and deliver amazing games to the world. To achieve this, they must also continue to learn, challenge themselves and grow. I ask you to continue your support for the study’s efforts.

Once again, I would like to express my deepest appreciation to you all. Thank you very much for your support. Keep an eye out for the many new beginnings!

While Saito reads:

Many thanks for your continued support of Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio.

Personally, I would like to take this opportunity to inform you that I am leaving SEGA to take a different path. In the future, series producer Yokoyama will succeed the Studio Lead position, and producer Sakamoto and director Horii will become core leaders in Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio.

I have been involved in Yakuza’s development from the beginning and served as the director of Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio for 9 years, so I feel a strong attachment to it. It’s sad to leave the place and the colleagues with whom I shared many ups and downs, but Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio has grown into a strong organization after 10 years since its birth.

I believe the studio has the power to not only continue the Yakuza series, but also to continue this momentum even further. The talented staff of the studio are very capable of achieving this and therefore I can confidently leave it to their care.

I am very grateful to be involved in the series that has lasted for 15 years and I would like to thank 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, who 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 fans will continue to support the new Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio. Thanks again for your support over the years.

In some clear and obvious ways, this is a blow to both the studio and the future of the series. Yakuza is Nagoshi and Nagoshi is Yakuza, and while he had retired from the front-line development of the series in recent years, the games simply would not be here without him.

Saito, meanwhile, has also played a huge role in the development of the series and acted as director on Yakuza 3 and as a producer on everything from Yakuza Kiwami til Dom.

Still, the studio wisely began both graduation announcements with a lengthy post by Ryu Ga Goto’s new Manager Masayoshi Yokoyama, which explains:

Ryu Ga Goto’s predecessors have passed on their faith and know-how to every single employee. You can witness it in the recently released Lost Judgment and will see it in the upcoming sequel to Yakuza: Like a Dragon that will continue the story of Ichiban Kasuga.

This game is currently being developed by producer Sakamoto and directors Horii, Ito and Mitake. I myself, together with Takeuchi and Furuta, are working on the story.

Whether it’s six months or a year from now, I hope to show you a new Ryu Ga Gotoku title from a new Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio that is different but still the same, and something that will trigger a sense of “ that’s what we’re waiting for ”inside you. I want to continue my life as a creator of video games seriously.

Uh, six months please, one year is too long.

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