Hold on. Don't start sending hate mail to Sega just yet. Let's hear the man out.
Yakuza series top man Toshihiro Nagoshi was at the Otemae University in Japan for a special lecture back in 2011. During that Q&A session a student asked him what he thought about the Call of Duty series. Nagoshi replied, "I like it a lot. It's very well made." After a brief pause, Nagoshi continued:
"Of course, there are a lot of different tendencies in games. I once publicly stated that I hate Grand Theft Auto and got a lot of backlash from the internet. I still hate it. And if I were asked if I think it's a good game, I would say it's an excellent game."
So why does he hate it despite thinking it's an excellent game? It's all in what the game promotes. "I simply can't bring myself to promote the emotion that killing is fun and committing crimes is fun." Nagoshi said. You might think that it seems a little hypocritical coming from a man who heads a game series about Japanese gangers and has a combat system with large men beating the crap out of each other in the streets using their fists and random objects.
In all fairness, upon closer examination, the body count for the Yakuza series is surprisingly low, considering its subject matter. Generally, when a character dies, it takes place in cinematics as part of the overarching story and indeed, while most of the protagonists are gangsters, they often have a strong moral code and the violence they dish out is in self-defense or to protect something. When the player is in control, the violence and crime is reactive, rather than active.
Nagoshi stated that he understood different creators have their own different preferences and some might share his stance and others might not. "I think that's a good thing. I'm simply saying this is my opinion. But creating things requires resolve – for better or for worse – and sometimes that can cause misunderstandings. I just hope that you all won't be swayed if such things happen and continue to pursue what you believe in."
The lecture took place in 2011, and it's recently become a hot topic on 2ch, Japan's largest web forum. Of course, at that time, Nagoshi hadn't seen GTAV yet, but it's unlikely his opinion on the free-range anarchy has changed.
Considering how hostess clubs show up all the time in the Yakuza games, he might appreciate the strip club parts, though.
【大手前大学】 セガ・名越稔洋氏 特別講演(4) [youtube]
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