Yakuza Creator Toshihiro Nagoshi Comments on Game's Female Fanbase
posted on by Kim Morrissy
In an interview published by Otaquest on Thursday, Yakuza game series director Toshihiro Nagoshi discussed the target audience of the game. He said that the series was always aimed specifically at adult Japanese males, and that this focus has not changed even after the series has become popular internationally.
Nagoshi specifically mentioned that he did not want to create a fantasy, military, or sports game because there was already a huge market for those games internationally, and "too much of the same thing is boring."
"I knew that if we listened to everyone, we would make no-one happy," he remarked. "I knew that we could make a game that didn't follow the market's norms, I knew we'd find fans of what we were doing along the way. Because of all this, I wanted to force myself into a situation where I couldn't turn back. That's when I decided not to target the three aforementioned groups. If I look back now, it was definitely reckless."
Nagoshi said that he was surprised when the game became a hit with both women and overseas gamers. When asked why the game became popular with women despite them not being the target audience, he said, "It was in a way a good thing that we didn't try to cater to a female audience. I think that because we tried to ignore both younger and female audiences we inherently captivated their interest in the contents of the game."
Nagoshi suggested that it was perhaps Kiryu's masculinity that attracted the female audience, mentioning that "every character is the kind of man that every boy wants to be."
"I can't really speak for the female fans of the series, but these days guys are total pushovers. So maybe it's because of this that those fans feel so attracted to the main character of the game. I can't say for certain, but it has to be something like that."
Although Yakuza's fanbase has expanded, Nagoshi insisted that he and the game's staff will not go out of the way to cater to them specifically. "If we start to worry about the female fans, it changes the identity of what we've worked on and we risk isolating the current fans ... If we try and shift our formula to fit a new audience, Yakuza won't be the game we set out to make."
Besides discussing the "cool" appeal of the Yakuza game, the interview also touched on Nagoshi's own appearance. Nagoshi has recently dyed his hair blonde and currently sports a "cool" look of his own. He explained that he's been changing his style to suit the woman he's been romantically involved in. "If anyone were to look at me now though, they could probably imagine the kind of woman I'm with." He also cheekily mentioned, "At the risk of my wife yelling at me, I'm not going to say too much though."
Nagoshi also discussed how he got into the games industry, and how his experience as a film student informs his approach to making games. As a result of SEGA shifting to 3D games, Nagoshi felt that he was able to fit in with the company and make games that suited his style.
The interview was conducted by Sekai, a member of the Japanese boy group Exile. Otaquest will publish the second part of the interview next week.