Toshihiro Nagoshi, creator of the Yakuza, and Judgment series, is seemingly on his way out of Sega. According to a new Bloomberg report, Nagoshi is in “final negotiations” with Chinese giant NetEase.
NetEase, and rival Tencent have been looking to expand beyond China, and the two have been poaching top-level talent from Japan. Nagoshi would be given the funding to establish and lead a new team at NetEase.
The deal has not been finalised yet, according to the report, and it’s not yet clear exactly what Nagoshi’s role is going to be, beyond leading the team.
Both Tencent, and NetEase have been on a spending spree to acquire content from Japan, as well as talent. According to analyst Serkan Toto, part of that is due to China’s restrictions on gaming.
“Tencent and NetEase have been speaking to just about all publicly traded studios here and are actively courting some privately held developers, too,” said Toto. “They both feel pressure to make headway in Japan, especially since game regulations in their home market are becoming increasingly restrictive.”
Toshihiro Nagoshi has been the face of Sega’s action games for decades. The designer spent 32 years at the company, and contributed to dozens of games.