The Yakuza game series successfully passed the torch from long time leading protagonist to another with Yakuza: Like A Dragon last year and now developers Ryu Ga Gotoku are looking to do the same. Series director Toshihiro Nagoshi and producer Daisuke Sato are both leaving Sega, handing over the RGG studio lead position to writer and producer Masayoshi Yokoyama. Along with the announcement of the change, Yokoyama says that RGG plan to "let our games do the talking" including the in progress sequel to Yakuza: LAD.
"Ryu Ga Gotoku’s predecessors have passed down their beliefs and know-how to each and every staff member," Yokoyama says in the studio's announcement. "You can witness it in the recently released Lost Judgment and will see it in the upcoming sequel to Yakuza: Like a Dragon which will continue Ichiban Kasuga’s story."
"Whether it’s six months or one year from now, I hope to show you a new Ryu Ga Gotoku title by a new Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio that is different but still the same, and something that will spark a feeling of 'this is what we are waiting for' within you," Yokoyama also says, letting on that he's involved with working on the story for the sequel.
Yokoyama also mentions the "lively discussions among fans" about change following Yakuza: Like A Dragon's original announcement. The series reboot certainly changed plenty. It largely took place in a new city instead of the longstanding series home in Kamurocho. It also retired stoic series protagonist Kazuma Kiryu in favor of the scruffy dork up top there—a very fun, likeable dork, mind. It also changed the series combo-based battle system to a turn-based one.
It was, for all that, different but still the same as Yokoyama says. I was pretty smitten with Y:LAD, different bits and all, though I'll admit to missing the old battle system. After seeing it through to the end, I won't be surprised if RGG are headed into even more "similar but different" waters as they continue Kasuga's story.
RGG have previously said that the active turn-based battles of Y:LAD are here to stay, while the classic beat 'em up combat of Yakuza games past will live on in their PlayStation exclusive spinoff series Judgement.
As for director Nagoshi's departure, a report from August suggested that he would be leaving Sega, specifically to start a new team beneath NetEase. The former has turned out true, though the latter hasn't yet been officially confirmed.