According to reports, the creator of the long Yakuza series, Toshihiro Nagoshi, is in talks with Chinese publisher and developer NetEase to hire him outside Sega, where he has been working since 1989.
Bloomberg reports that NetEase wants Nagoshi to create a new team and develop new games for the fast-growing publisher. According to reports, things are still under discussion, so the exact details will probably not be known for a while.
NetEase is one of the largest video game companies in China (along with Tencent), with a line of successful mobile games and a partnership with Activision-Blizzard for the Chinese versions of World of Warcraft, Overwatch and Starcraft 2.
"Tencent and NetEase have been talking to almost every listed studio here and are also courting some private developers. They both feel pressure to move forward in Japan, especially as gaming regulations in their domestic market are increasingly restrictive ". Industry analyst Serkan Toto told Bloomberg.
The news arrives China imposes stricter limits on the time minors can play, up to a maximum of one hour from 8 pm to 9 pm on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. Chinese publishers will inevitably look for talent that can create games for more than 18 audiences or operate successfully within the restrictions of the Chinese government.
Nagoshi’s first merit was a role as a designer in Sega’s Virtua Racing series. He later produced and directed the Monkey Ball franchise before joining the Ryu Ga Gotoku studio to start the Yakuza series in 2005 on PlayStation 2. In recent years, Yakuza has gained popularity in the West. , recently received a prequel, remasters of all six basic games and last year Yakuza 7, which transformed the game of an action fighter into a turn-based role-playing game.
Nagoshi has been executive director of the Yakuza franchise since Yakuza 0, leaving general management roles to co-workers Hiroyuki Sakamoto and Ryosuke Horii.