Yakuza creator Toshihiro Nagoshi has officially announced the creation of his new development studio, Nagoshi Studio.

The self-named studio appeared on the EU IP office this month, and although the trademark did not name the former Sega creative director in relation to the listing, it did confirm its link to video game software and development.

Now the news is official, together with the launch of an official website showing Nagoshi and the other initial members of the team.

The studio is a “wholly owned subsidiary” of Chinese company NetEase Games, and will focus on developing “high-end titles for worldwide release”, primarily on consoles.

Nagoshi is initially joined by eight other staff members:

  • Daisuke Sato (director and producer on the Yakuza series)
  • Kazuki Hosokawa (designer who worked on Panzer Dragoon and Jet Set Radio, art director and designer of the Yakuza and Judgment games)
  • Koji Tokieda (programmer who worked on Super Monkey Ball and F-Zero AX/GX, main programmer for Yakuza: Like a Dragon)
  • Masao Shirosaki (designer who was a producer for games in the Super Monkey Ball and Yakuza series)
  • Mitsunori Fujimoto (engineer who offered development support on Sega games since 1999)
  • Naoki Someya (background designer for the Yakuza series and art director of the Judgment games)
  • Toshihiro Ando (artist who was the lead character designer on the Judgment games)
  • Taichi Ushioda (director who’s previously worked for Square Enix, Level-5 and Sega)

In an interview with Famitsu, Nagoshi confirmed that the studio has already started work on its first game, and that it will still have a Japanese focus much like the Yakuza and Judgment games.

“We’re Japanese, and we’re a Japanese studio, so naturally the market that we understand the most is Japan,” he explained.

“We’ve been desperately trying to find a methodology that would allow us to create something that would be accepted around the world while keeping our focus on Japan. However, I don’t think I have been able to give a complete answer to this question until now.

“In order to find the answer, to pursue the ideal, I created Nagoshi Studio. However, the focus will remain on Japan in the future.”

Yakuza veterans confirm founding of Nagoshi Studio
Nagoshi says he wants to run an “open” studio with staff discussions that ignore hierarchy and seniority.

Nagoshi also noted that his studio will focus on only releasing games when they are ready, instead of rushing them.

“I used to work with Nintendo, and I envied and admired their stance of ‘we won’t release a game until we can say it’s done’,” he said.

“I was envious of and admired that stance, and I want to keep that same policy of not abandoning ideals, but persevering until those ideals come true.

“If you’ve never made a game before, you might think that this is an obvious thing to say. But if someone who makes games hears it, they might think, ‘Are you sure you can say something like that in this day and age?’” he laughed.