Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio, the company behind the Yakuza and Judgement franchises, is reportedly working on a brand-new IP. This comes as the developers also work on the much-anticipated Yakuza 8, which does not yet have a release date. The news came in a Famitsu interview with studio director Masayoshi Yokoyama, who offered up plenty of tidbits on where Ryu Ga Gotoku is heading.
While the new IP remains unannounced, Yokoyama commented on the current state of the studio after the departure of veterans Toshihiro Nagoshi and Daisuke Sato. “Over the past 10 years, Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio has grown to 300 staff. It’s very normal for a company to change up the structure of its staff. I’m really quite happy to be in an environment where there’s a need to make a big announcement out of something so ordinary. Nagoshi, Sato, and I have been the top three for quite some time, but changes are unlikely to occur in this sort of setup without shaking things up. In that sense, I think this structural shift is a sign of change.”
The Judgement series finds itself in a state of flux, as there seems to be a dispute with lead actor Takuya Kimura’s talent agency Johnny & Associates. Yokoyama insisted that the studio still wants to work on the series, but Kimura’s agency began blocking PC versions of Judgement in July, stating that they didn’t want the actor to appear in them. It’s not entirely clear why this is, but it’s suggested that Johnny & Associates has strict control over where likenesses of their talent appear, and something about Judgement rubs them the wrong way. While Sega has been attempting to bring the Judgement series to Steam, the agency continues to stop this from happening. It would be a major boon for Ryu Ga Gotoku to solve this amicably, but it currently seems like a long shot. The new IP may directly correlate to what may be the end of this beloved saga.
Yakuza 8 will reportedly be a direct sequel to the 2020 title Yakuza 7: Like a Dragon, and will be set several years after the conclusion of the latest title. It will continue to follow the new protagonist Ichiban Kasuga.