Sega's Toshihiro Nagoshi Reveals Tons of New Yakuza 7 Details on SegaNama
Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio wishes to do something "fresh" with Yakuza 7, the game could have taken place outside Japan, the battle GUI isn't final, and more.
Sega held on September 3 the August 2019 SegaNama stream, with Sega’s Toshihiro Nagoshi and MC Ayana Tsubaki. SegaNama streams usually happen at the end of each month, but this time the program was a bit late, seeing Nagoshi’s health problems.
In fact, the stream started with him chatting about that with a smile. He recounted about how when he went to the hospital, the doctor was like “Hey, you’re Ryu Ga Gotoku‘s Nagoshi san, right?”. The doctor, who was quite a young person, started chatting about the next Yakuza game and was like “It got a new protagonist right? meaning things will be different right?”. Nagoshi was literally dying there, listening to his questions and only answering feebles “Uuuh…yeah?”. The doctor even asked him if he could reveal him Yakuza 7‘s title, unannounced at the time. In the end, Nagoshi’s wife got angry and stopped the doctor from asking so much.
Nagoshi said the whole thing was a good experience which made him think about a lot of things. I’m not gonna summarize everything about his health, so you should definitely check out that part yourself if you’re interested. They talked about that til 11 minutes in.
Moving on, Nagoshi talked a lot about Yakuza 7 on the stream. He talked in detail about how the staff, himself included, thought a lot about what to do with the future of the series. Whether they should make the game a spinoff or keep the numbering. Whether they should call it “Ryu Ga Gotoku Seven” like what they went with, or “Ryu Ga Gotoku Nana”, with “Seven” said in Japanese.
They also hesitated a lot about the logo, which ended up being changed compared to past Yakuza games. Nagoshi described the logo as “more colorful” and even “a bit childish, and goes along well with the new protagonist”.
Next, they moved on to the story and characters, commenting on each one of them. Nagoshi said Yakuza 7‘s story will feel similar to Yakuza 0 and Yakuza 2’s stories. He explained how the protagonist Ichiban Kasuga lost his parents at a young age. So he spent a lot of his childhood playing games alone, Dragon Quest especially. Yakuza 7 has many references to Dragon Quest, and not necessarily name drops like in the trailer.
Next we’ve got Joe. Joe is a particularly cool character according to Nagoshi. He said he they are close in age, by Joe is way cooler and would definitely try to date him if he was a woman. Joe’s story will be about how he basically went from a good-to-nothing to an important figure of the Arakawa clan. He’s also a brother figure to Ichiban, and the two’s paths will cross many times.
Next is Nanba. He’s the first party member who joins Kasuga. As such, he has a huge amount of lines. Ken Yasuda is a pretty popular actor with a busy schedule, so Nagoshi is grateful he accepted the role anyway. Sega wanted Ken Yasuda at all costs because the way he acts fits Nanba really well. Both Nanba and Ichiban are homeless at the beginning of the story. Nanba saved Ichiban’s life, so he’s grateful and trusts him, but at the same time, he doesn’t know anything about him and not sure if he should trust him that much.
Nagoshi mentioned that when voicing Masumi Arakawa, Kiichi Nakai pretty much never read the script. Because he memorized all his lines beforehand and literally acted it. Nagoshi mentioned this is something you often see with veteran, well-experienced actors like Nakai. This made his representation of his character even better. It’s also nice as it makes the recording go faster.
Ayana Tsubaki then pointed out something really interesting and something I agree with: sometimes, having actors instead of seiyuu voicing characters in games or anime can have a weird effect, with them sounding very different than the other characters voiced by seiyuu. This is something you can hear in Promare for example, if you’ve watched that anime movie. Nagoshi answered basically that using actors or seiyuu both have their own advantages, hence why they’re doing both in the Yakuza series. As a reminder, it’s been confirmed so far that Yakuza 7 will include the following seiyuu: Sumire Uesaka, Akio Otsuka, Nobuhiko Okamoto, Yuichi Nakamura, and Kosuke Toriumi.
Nagoshi also possibly spoiled something about Masumi Arakawa, so read the following paragraph at your own risk. He mentioned how Kiichi Nakai really liked and praised Yakuza 7′s script, but seeing his busy schedule, he couldn’t attend the last recording. Not like that was a problem, since his “character didn’t have any lines at that point anymore”, so he asked Nagoshi to give him the script so he could read the rest of it and the ending. You can make your own conclusions about what happens to his character. Nakai, in particular, praised the last line of dialogue of the game and how it fits perfectly.
Next, they moved on to chatting about Yakuza 7‘s setting, the city of Isezaki Ijin in Yokohama. Nagoshi said the game’s whole map is a bit more than three times bigger than previous games. Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio gave a lot of thought about the setting and even thought about making Yakuza 7 take place outside Japan. In the end, they set on Yokohama mostly because it already appeared in past games. Nagoshi also spoke about how players often ask him “please feature my hometown in the next Yakuza game”, so they took a lot of time deciding the setting.
Next, they spoke about the new “Live Command RPG Battle” system. Nagoshi said they initially thought about reusing the action gameplay, improving it even more, but they couldn’t think of anything else they could add. They also wanted to do something “fresh”, hence why they went with this new system.
Nagoshi also mentioned the battle GUI they showed isn’t final and will “change quite a bit” before release. As for what will change, Nagoshi said the final interface will be different than the RPG classic “choose a 1st option, then a menu opens with more options, and then you pick something and it happens”. The final game will have an “action-like interface”. Nagoshi added that the final interface will be “so intuitive and action-oriented that muscle memory will kick in after playing for a while”.
Nagoshi said they didn’t want to make a “sluggish” game like a “very old RPG battle system”, so you shoudln’t worry about the game being like that. You should try out the game at TGS 2019 to see for yourself. He ended by saying “most people who don’t know Yakuza 7 and see it playing will actually think it’s an action game”.
The SegaNama stream ended with the “Ask Nagoshi anything live” corner as usual. Here are the tidbits from the corner:
Someone asked Nagoshi about how he feels towards Dragon Quest‘s Yuji Horii. He answered that the influences who made him want to develop games are Shigeru Miyamoto and Yuji Horii. He really admires pioneers like that.
Someone said they were really worried about Nagoshi and asked how the recent events affected him. Nagoshi said he stopped smoking, after 40 years. After joking on how this implies he started underage, he explained that seeing his wife visiting him every day at the hospital, taking care of him, made him feel bad about it. He also mentioned most of his old acquaintances stopped smoking too. Most of them did when they got kids. Nagoshi ended with “If you see me smoking at TGS 2019 you’re free to kick me, but it won’t happen so don’t worry”.
Someone asked if Nagoshi has any TV shows or movies to recommend. Nagoshi said he didn’t really watch anything recently. Plus, he tends to watch things years after everyone else, he watched 24 recently for example. He also chatted about how he watched some Gaki no Tsukai at the hospital, but laughing and sneezing hurts a lot in his current condition. Lastly, he didn’t see it himself yet but he recommended Makoto Shinkai’s Weathering With You. All his old pals told him it was even better than Your Name.
The next SegaNama will be held at Tokyo Game Show 2019, from September 12 to 15. Nagoshi said they’ll talk more in detail about Yakuza 7‘s battle system and story.
Yakuza 7 was fully revealed in late August with a trailer. We translated the game’s first story and character details. Toshihiro Nagoshi also stated the previous gameplay will come back if Yakuza 7 doesn’t turn into a success. Producer Masayoshi Yokoyama also talked about the change.
Yakuza 7 launches on January 16 in Japan, exclusively on PS4. The game will come west later in 2020.