Update: January 24, 2022
Toshihiro Nagoshi officially announced his new development team and Nagoshi Studio's opening (thanks VGC). As we reported originally, Nagoshi Studio is a subsidiary of NetEase. Nagoshi has a team of eight people and will focus on "high-end titles" for a global audience and will primarily develop for consoles.
He's joined by:
- Daisuke Sato (former director of the Yakuza series)
- Masao Shirosaki (former producer of Monkey Ball and Yakuza)
- Koji Tokieda (programmer on Yakuza: Like A Dragon)
- Mitsonori Fujimoto (former Sega engineer)
- Kazuki Hosokawa (designer for Yakuza, Judgment, Jet Set Radio, and Panzer Dragoon)
- Naoki Someya (Judgment art director)
- Toshihiro Ando (Judgment character designer)
- Taichi Usioda (former director with Sega and Square Enix)
There's no word yet what Nagoshi Studio's first project may be.
Yakuza creator Toshihiro Nagoshi left Ryu Ga Gotoku studio in 2021, reportedly to join Chinese media giant NetEase, and it seems he might be settling into his new environment. Video Games Chronicles' Andrew Marmow recently spotted a trademark application filed for "Nagoshi Studio" on the EU IPO database.
The filing was submitted at the start of the year and covers game development and publishing, entertainment services - specifically for game services - and related advertising, though Nagoshi Studio isn't an indie entity.
The representative company is Ingenias, which, as VGC reports, is often responsible for filing trademarks for other NetEase entities.
Read More: Yakuza Like A Dragon Sequel Announced
Yakuza Creator Toshihiro Nagoshi May Be Setting Up His Own Studio
Trademarks often show up for games and even entire studios that never see the light of day, but it seems more than probable that Nagoshi Studio is genuinely going to be a thing. RGG Studio still owns the Yakuza franchise and is looking into branching out beyond it, but Nagoshi was also involved in a number of other Sega projects, including creating Super Monkey Ball, managing Billy Hatcher and the Giant Egg and even acting as executive producer for Hatsune Miku: Project DIVA - Future Tone.
Analyst firm Niko Partners says NetEase and other Chinese companies, including Tencent, are looking to branch into international markets to avoid increasingly harsh domestic regulation policies, and the Japanese market in particular is a lucrative one many Chinese developers have yet to crack. In short, it makes sense for NetEase to launch a studio headed by Nagoshi. It's just not yet clear when it may happen.