Analysis: Who’s Working for Yakuza Creator Toshihiro Nagoshi’s New Studio?
Developers from the Final Fantasy, Dark Souls, Monster Hunter and Judgment series are working on the first game from Yakuza creator Toshihiro Nagoshi’s new studio, it has been revealed.
Nagoshi officially announced the creation of its new development studio, Nagoshi Studio, back in Janaury.
The studio, which is a “wholly owned subsidiary” of Chinese company NetEase Games, has already started work on its first game, which will be a “high-end title for worldwide release”.
At the announcement of the studio’s creation, nine employees were confirmed. However, a new article in Japanese magazine Weekly Famitsu covers the studio in more depth, listing 24 employees and their past work.
The picture painted is of a team with a wealth of experience, covering many of Japan’s top game developers and publishers.
Many of the senior members of the team joined the company with Nagoshi when it was originally formed, and as such a number of them came directly from Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio, the developer behind the Yakuza games.
Other team members include former members of Square Enix, Capcom, FromSoftware, Level-5 and Koei Tecmo.
In addition to the obvious ties to the Yakuza series, the staff’s combined past experience takes in a number of high-profile games and series, including Final Fantasy, Bloodborne, Panzer Dragoon, Mega Man, Dead or Alive, Ni No Kuni, Sekiro, Monster Hunter and WWE.
With more light on the team, we can build a better picture of who is working on the next game to be helmed by the creator of the Yakuza series.
The company’s president
Nagoshi joined Sega in 1989. As part of the AM2 team, he worked on the likes of Virtua Racing, Virtua Fighter and Daytona USA, before leading the newly established Amusement Vision and working on Super Monkey Ball and F-Zero GX.
Nagoshi was the creator of the Ryu Ga Gotoku (Yakuza) series. Over time, Amusement Vision would see a number of name changes, eventually becoming Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio.
It was announced in 2021 that Nagoshi would be leaving Sega to form a new studio, along with series director Daisuke Sato.
Sato started as a designer at Capcom in 1992, before moving to Sega’s AM2 team in 1994. He was a character designer on Virtua Fighter 3 and a stage designer for Super Monkey Ball, among others.
Sato was the chief designer on the first Yakuza, and in time would become the Yakuza series’ producer.
Hosokawa joined Sega in 1995 and worked as a designer on the Panzer Dragoon games, as well as Jet Set Radio.
He went on to become an art director and director for the Yakuza series, and a producer for the Judge Eyes series.
Tokieda joined Amusement Vision in 2001 as a programmer, where he worked on the Super Monkey Ball games and F-Zero AX/GX.
He was also involved in the development of the Yakuza series and was the lead programmer on Yakuza: Like a Dragon.
Shirosaki joined Sega as a planner in 2007, helping work on the Yakuza series, its Kurohyou (Black Panther) spin-off, and Sega’s ‘Sakatsuku’ soccer manager series.
He also produced the Super Monkey Ball games, and also has experience working on online mobile titles.
Fujimoto joined Sega in 1999 after working for eight years as a systems engineer at a foreign computer manufacturer.
He primarily works in IT roles, specializing in development environments and online games.
Someya joined Amusement Vision in 2002 as a designer, working on various console and arcade games.
He was a background designer on the Yakuza series, and an art director on the Judgment series.
Ushioda has experience from NHN Japan Corp, Square Enix, Level-5 and Sega.
He has worked as a director, producer and general manager of development for a “wide range of projects”, including major MMORPGs and mobile games. He has worked on Dragon Quest X and the Japanese MMO Tera.
Ando joined Sega in 1996 and specialized in character design, including titles such as Power Smash and Sega’s ‘Sakatsuku’ series of football management games.
He was the lead character designer on the Judgment games.
Kosakai previously worked for Level-5, where he worked on the Yokai Watch series and Ni No Kuni II: Revenant Kingdom.
Speaking of Nagoshi Studio, Kosakai told Famitsu that the workplace has “great challenges, a good working environment, and a boss who treats us to grilled meat once a month.”
Takahashi previously worked for Koei Tecmo and Confidence, an outsourcing company working with the games and entertainment industry.
He has worked on titles such as Dead or Alive 6 and Stranger of Paradise: Final Fantasy Origin.
Utsugi has previously worked for Capcom and Square Enix.
He was the designer on the Mega Man Star Force series, and the free-to-play mobile game Final Fantasy Brave Exvius.
Suzuki previously worked in the electricity and gas industry, and also worked for technology company Soft Gear.
Mysteriously, he only cites an “unpublished title” as his previous game work.
Oi previously worked for FromSoftware, where he was a programmer on Armored Core V and Bloodborne.
He went on to work on Dark Souls III and Sekiro before leaving the developer.
Kato has previously worked for Yukes and mobile studio Exnoa.
He has previously worked with the WWE series and Real Steel.
Like Keisuki Oi, Sugaya was previously employed by FromSoftware.
He was a programmer on Bloodborne and Sekiro.
Lee cites Square Enix as the company where he did most of his work.
He was an artist on Final Fantasy XIV, and says he considers himself lucky to have joined a studio where he can “make new games with the best people”.
Artist (UI Design)
Iwano has previously worked for developers Linked Brain and Studio Oops.
She has worked on the Densha de Go train simulation series and the Onechanbara series of hack and slash games.
Saito’s previous employers include the likes of PlatinumGames and Capcom.
Some of his more recent works include Monster Hunter Rise: Sunbreak and Exoprimal.
Miyashita has previously worked for Sega and the mobile studio Colopl.
He has worked on a number of projects over the years, including the Derby Owners Club series of horse races.
Artist (effects design)
Ito previously worked for Square Enix and CyDesignation, a subsidiary of CyGames specializing in game design and illustration.
He has previously worked on titles such as SaGa: Scarlet Grace and Granblue Fantasy Relink.
Artist (character design)
Zhao has previously, among other things, worked for Square Enix.
His previous works have included the Final Fantasy series and Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown.
PR & Marketing
Ikeda started his career writing for the Japanese magazine Famitsu.
He has now joined Nagoshi Studio to help with PR and marketing in Japan.
Nakata is new to the gaming industry, having previously worked in public offices.
Speaking to Famitsu, she said, “I’m here to support Nagoshi and his colleagues so they can concentrate on their development work.”