Toshihiro Nagoshi: "99% of Sega is Currently Working from Home"
Toshihiro Nagoshi on this month's SegaNama touched on multiple subjects, including Tokyo Game Show 2020 being canceled, or why Yakuza 6 and 7 have no opening movies.
This month’s SegaNama had Sega Chief Creative Officer Toshihiro Nagoshi speak on how the Covid-19 pandemic is affecting Sega’s activities. Toshihiro Nagoshi also most notably spoke about Nintendo Switch and Animal Crossing: New Horizons‘ record sales. We covered that here. One part of the stream also featured Yakuza series Director Daisuke Sato, who shared how the work from home conditions is affecting Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio and Sega. Lastly, as usual, Nagoshi answered multiple questions from fans. We’ve got a summary of the stream below.
During the stream, Toshihiro Nagoshi explained how “pretty much 99% of Sega is working from home”. It’s worth noting that the Coronavirus state of emergency was lifted by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on May 25 on the Tokyo region, which includes Osaki, where Sega’s headquarters are located. However, it seems like Sega will keep working from home for the time being.
Nagoshi also shared how he’s spending his time at home. Rather than using his newfound time to try out new things, he’s just alternating between his usual activities: his work with Sega, watching movies, and playing with his cats. Since he cannot train at the gym, he ordered dumbbells to start working out at home. They took a really long while to get delivered, and it ended up being delivered right at a time when he was absent, so his wife was super angry at him since she had to carry it all.
Next, Toshihiro Nagoshi also touched on how he’s worried about how industries like cinema and game centers in Japan are going to survive this ordeal. Sega’s own game centers too needless to say. This isn’t really something we notice outside Japan, especially since arcades are pretty much dead compared to the 90s, but Sega has many game centers. Though you should know that if you’re a Yakuza series fan.
Next up, they did a Zoom call with Daisuke Sato, with Nagoshi asking him questions on how he and Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio are faring.
Daisuke Sato explained developers each brought their work PC at home, with the 2 monitors they each use at work. Either through taxis or delivery. Sato and Nagoshi mentioned how the day Sega decided to make its employees work at home, they called up tons of taxis so employees could bring things home. Daisuke Sato also mentioned how the situation is particularly hard for younger developers at Sega. They live in very small apartments, so having an extra PC and monitors eat ups space. They’re worried about their electric bills soaring too. Sato said all developers are getting “At Home Compensation” to help them get through.
Daisuke Sato also explained how working from home slow downs game development. For example, if you’re making an action game on PS4, and need to make certain members of the team test the game directly by playing it on PS4 whenever small changes are made, well, you can’t. As such, for now they focus on development aspects they can handle while working from home like programming, while other aspects of development are slower, but overall games are still being made.
Another interesting point is how Daisuke Sato accidentally almost said something he shouldn’t have, which could be that a PS5 version of Yakuza: Like a Dragon is coming. After chatting a bit more, Daisuke Sato left the call.
The final part of the stream was the usual Q&A, with Toshihiro Nagoshi answering questions sent in beforehand.
Someone mentioned they really liked the opening movies in Yakuza games, and how it’s a shame Yakuza 6 and Yakuza: Like a Dragon don’t feature opening movies anymore. They asked Nagoshi, in the realm of what he can reveal, why did they stop making them. Nagoshi explained it depends of various things, but mainly the fact that they ask artists to do a theme song, so it’s not something that’s 100% dependent on Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio. Especially because Nagoshi tends to ask artists pretty late about a song, because he wants the scenario to be done first to be sure the song will fit, but tends to work on the scenario till the last minute. So sometime, time-wise, making an opening movie simply isn’t possible. Nagoshi said at times the rest of the team tells him “we need to decide on the theme song now” and he’s like “just wait a little bit more” so he’s also at fault. For Yakuza: Like a Dragon, they also did this Music Video instead:
Another person mentioned how they recently watched Ford v Ferrari, a movie that was recommended by Nagoshi in a previous SegaNama. Nagoshi explained how he mainly only watch movies inspired from real stories, and don’t watch that much purely fictional movies, though he doesn’t dislike fantasy or sci-fi either. Overall, he’s a strong believer of reality surpasses fiction.
The last question concerned how Nagoshi feels about Tokyo Game Show 2020 getting canceled. He mentioned everything is online anyway, so it ultimately doesn’t change much, but at the same time, it’s a huge shame, as it’s a show, a festival, with everyone making flashy booths, meeting each other, and having fun.
Yakuza: Like a Dragon will launch outside Japan on PS4, PC, Xbox One and Xbox Series X in holiday 2020. If you’re curious about the future of the Yakuza series, we covered comments from its developers in previous articles here and here.
Sega recently announced Persona 5 Royal had record sales outside Japan. Sega is also celebrating its 60th anniversary on June 3 and recently introduced Segata Sanshiro’s son. We could get new announcements then, especially seeing Sega did not organize its Sega Fes as usual in March because of Covid-19.
SegaNama is a monthly live stream with Sega Chief Creative Officer Toshihiro Nagoshi and MC Ayana Tsubaki, sharing news on Sega games, chatting and commenting on subjects bought up by viewers. We systematically cover SegaNama streams on DualShockers.
As a side note, the feature pic above is from Sakura Wars on PS4, a game you should definitely check out.