According to reports, China's NetEase are in final negotiations to poach Yakuza franchise creator Toshihiro Nagoshi, who is currently employed by SEGA.
The creator of the beloved RPG franchise Yakuza, Toshihiro Nagoshi, could be joining the Chinese giant NetEase in the coming weeks. Nahoshi, who is currently Chief Creative Officer at SEGA has joined the company way back in 1989, where he worked on several major franchises including Virtual Fighter, Yakuza, Sonic and Super Monkey Ball among others.
As reported by Bloomberg , NetEase are now in the final stages of negotiations with Nagoshi. The Chinese company are looking to expand their game development, and see Yakuza as a perfect candidate for that task.
"NetEase Inc. is in final negotiations to poach Yakuza franchise creator Toshihiro Nagoshi from Sega, a sign of how Chinese games companies are expanding beyond their home turf during a government-led crackdown," Bloomberg report.
"The hire from Sega would mark the biggest coup in a contest between NetEase and close rival Tencent to scoop up video game talent and assets in Japan, made more urgent by slowing growth and regulatory pressure at home."
Bloomberg also state that a SEGA spokesman said the company does not comment on the employment status of individual employees. NetEase and Tencent representatives did not offer official statements, at least not yet.
It remains to be seen if Nagoshi joins NetEase and when/if that happens, what exactly will be his role in the company. We assume he would be working on a brand new IP.