SPOnG: Many people who have played the Ryu ga Gotoku games tend to describe them as modern-day Shenmue games, with elements of other SEGA classics. What do you think of the fans' distinction of the games?
Fans are free to judge the game as they like. All of these games were created by SEGA. We might have included game elements from past titles unconsciously. But all of those elements appear in an evolved style.
SPOnG: Would you agree that the Ryu ga Gotoku series offers a window into Japanese culture for Western players? Is this something you wish to expand in future games?
I don?t know how well I could introduce Japanese culture. But I?m really glad that foreigners who have visited Japan assess that this game reproduces the environment very well.
...Though I hope they don?t misunderstand that Japan is a very dangerous place! In the future, I?d like to continue this series if fans want us to.
SPOnG: Amusement Vision was involved in the development of Nintendo's F-Zero GX. Would you like to collaborate with other studios and publishers in the future, or do you think that was a one-off?
I?d like to collaborate if circumstances are right. Collaboration teaches good lessons. I learned a valuable lesson from F-Zero
SPOnG: Ryu ga Gotoku 4 was recently released in Japan, and it was a big success for SEGA. How do you feel about the game's success, and what do you think are contributing factors to its popularity?
I can give some reasons of the success and popularity. First, by releasing the series once a year for five years, we don?t lose our fans. Secondly, our game is expanding in scale reliably ? including the marketing. Lastly, we are reflecting users? voices in each upgrade and consider those opinions to be very important.
SPOnG: Finally, do you have any advice to offer for those who are looking to find a career in video games development?
Yakuza 2, PS2
Hardware is evolving outrageously as the time progresses. The gaming industry will enter a new era where users play a game using the 3D vision and other new entry sensors.
I think it is important to plan attractive projects without being shackled by technology. ?Setting a high value on fun? is everything to creative work. Of course technology is also important!
Yakuza 3 is out now for the PlayStation 3. Read SPOnG's review here.