• Sat. Dec 9th, 2023

Yakuza Creator Reportedly in Negotiations to Leave Sega for NetEase


Aug 30, 2021

Chinese video game company NetEase is reportedly in “final negotiations” with Yakuza series creator Toshihiro Nagoshi. If the deal goes through, Nagoshi will leave SEGA for NetEase to set up a new team and create new games. Additionally, inside sources also reveal that SEGA or NetEase will announce the deal sometime after September 24, 2021.A report from Bloomberg states that Chinese tech firms such as NetEase and its rival Tencent have recently been eyeing Japanese studios and developers, particularly due to increasing regulations in China.Though both companies boast a wide portfolio of big-name titles—Tencent owns Genshin Impact and Pokemon Unite, while NetEase owns Identity V—neither is particularly well known for their single-player console titles. Nagoshi’s poaching by Netease, then, may indicate that NetEase is looking to expand its reach to narrative-driven single-player games like Yakuza. While it’s not known whether this deal would include the rights to the Yakuza series, insiders state that the creator would be “expected to set up his own team and create new games”.Toshihiro Nagoshi is a long-time SEGA veteran who has worked exclusively with the company since he joined back in 1989. Though the Yakuza series (or Ryu ga Gotoku series as it’s known in Japan) is what launched his career into the mainstream, Nagoshi is also responsible for the development of the Super Monkey Ball series as well as F-Zero GX.The fan-favorite producer would eventually climb his way to the title of SEGA’s Chief Creative Officer. However, in April 2021, Nagoshi suddenly announced that he would be stepping down from the role and remain at the company as Creative Director. On the other hand, Nagoshi still seemed optimistic about future SEGA releases as he mentioned plans to release Yakuza and other Ryu ga Gotoku studio titles globally on the same day.One of these planned titles is Lost Judgement, which is set to release worldwide on September 24, 2021. If sources are true and the Yakuza creator does leave SEGA for NetEase, the announcement is expected to come after this date, likely in order to avoid impacting game sales.[Source: Bloomberg]

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