Yakuza creator Toshihiro Nagoshi leaving SEGA to join NetEase

Nagoshi hasn't signed the final contract with NetEase, expected to set up his own team and create new game titles

Well-known game developer Toshihiro Nagoshi, famous for developing the hit game franchise Yakuza, Monkey Ball, and Sega Rally among others is leaving SEGA to join Chinese giants NetEase, reports Bloomberg.

Toshihiro Nagoshi leaving Sega to join NetEase
Nagoshi’s immensely popular ‘Yakuza’ series

Nagoshi, who has been working for SEGA since 1989, has been instrumental in the development of multiple of the company’s game titles such as Daytona and F-Zero GX. But it’s the Yakuza series and its spinoffs which make a total count of more than 8 titles which made him known to the general public. He is also known for being the head of the company’s development studio Ryu Ga Gotoku.

The negotiation is in the final stage

As per the report, Nagoshi hasn’t signed a final contract; the terms of the contract and the associated duties are yet to be agreed on. He is also “expected to set up his own team and create new game titles“. While this departure of Nagoshi won’t have an adverse effect on SEGA, as all the ownership titles of the games developed by him are still with SEGA and have developers other than him on board, it is no doubt a blow to lose a man who has been a big part of their success and a veteran at his work. And to add salt to the wound, he is joining rival company NetEase from China.

However, this departure is in no way entirely surprising as earlier this year Toshihiro Nagoshi left his role as Chief Creative Officer of SEGA and also stepped down from the board of directors of SEGA. There’s also slight speculation that Nagoshi might have had other reasons for this decision, with one of them being as follows-

There is speculation online in Japan that Nagoshi was pushed out in the wake of a controversial comment he made last year, appearing to mock Puyo Puyo esports players. The producer said that they seemed like they eat beef bowls with cheese. The term chiizu gyuudon gao (チーズ牛丼顔) or “cheese beef bowl face” has been circulating online. Shortened to chiigyu (チー牛) or “cheese beef,” this slang term is used to refer to people who live in rural areas, look very young, wear glasses, and don’t have much ambition. It’s a negative, mocking term to deride people who might not be considered “cool.”

Source: kotaku

This move is expected to be a very crucial addition to the NetEase team of developers who are most probably bringing in the veteran developer to one up on their fellow Chinese rivals Tencent who have unveiled multiple-hit games accompanied by many positive reviews and overall good response.

Tencent also invested more in bringing in seasoned developers to keep rolling out quality games and gain major success. Thus NetEase now has an important asset in the form of Toshihiro Nagoshi, who can also pull a few cards of his own given the influence of NetEase who is also a financially sound company able to fund ambitious projects in the future.

What are your thoughts on Toshihiro Nagoshi leaving Sega to join NetEase? Drop your opinions in the comments!

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