Originally posted on 24 February 2016
Source: Ryu ga Gotoku 4 Guidebook, page 588-591

Ryu ga Gotoku 4: Kazuma Kiryu

Those who cooperated
*Toshihiro Nagoshi (general producer)
*Masayoshi Kikuchi (producer)
*Masayoshi Yokoyama (scenario/direction)
*Jun Orihara (director)
*Kazuki Hosokawa (design leader)
*Tadashi Okuda (battle game design)
*Mariko Kawase (adventure game design)
*Yuji Saito (motion design)
*Fujiyoshi Shimohara (sound programmer)
*Naoki Someya (stage design)
*Kazunobu Takeuchi (adventure game design)
*Saizo Nagai (character design)
*Yuri Fukuda (sound)
*Ryosuke Horii (karaoke/heat actions)

Q. Please give us a catchphrase you think suits Kiryu perfectly.

● The man who is in possession of the energy that Japan needs most of all right now. [Nagoshi]

● The legendary former yakuza. Just what it says on the box. [Kikuchi]

● The anguish of a chosen one who isn't allowed to live for himself. And determination. [Yokoyama]

● A storm that comes only once a year and only to Kamurocho. [Orihara]

Q. How did Kiryu change from the start of development to completion?

● As he has aged throughout the series, it feels like he's become more of an adult man. [Kikuchi]

● Kiryu is Kiryu. [Yokoyama]

● Now that we've made it to 4, it seems like we make lots of choices based on the standard, "What would Kiryu do?" At this point, he's basically treated like a real person. [Orihara]

Q. Now that the game is complete, what kind of feelings and impressions do you get from Kiryu?

● In Ryu ga Gotoku, he's saddled with the destiny of having to bring everything together. Kiryu must really go through a lot of trouble, too, I think. Not to mention that in this game, amongst the many characters with vibrant personalities, it wasn't simple to show his appeal based on his nobleness and charm. The way he was portrayed under that stress was cool, though. He really is an amazing person. [Nagoshi]

● To me, he's the most reliable comrade on the Ryu ga Gotoku project. He's been through so many exploits, but on the other hand it also feels like he's a little more distant now. He's just too amazing. [Kikuchi]

● Not just Kiryu, but all of the protagonists feel like their own person... They don't feel like things I created myself. To me they look like living people, and don't feel like they were made. I feel as if I neither created nor wrote Akiyama, Saejima and Tanimura, either, but like they're people who are just naturally there. It's like I'm watching over their battles. [Yokoyama]

● It made me realise anew how indespensible he is to the series. After playing as the other three, I even feel a sense of relief when Kiryu becomes playable. [Orihara]

Q. What is the theme of Kiryu's chapter?

● I wanted Kiryu to act for his own sake again. I wanted him not to do it for someone else, but to think about what he was going to do about it. When things are happening in the Tojo Clan, what would Kiryu's own thoughts be, and in what way would he end it? Also, this is the general theme as well, but we also had, "People can't live too much for themselves." I'm a person who is comparatively true to myself in life, but I don't think that it's a good thing at all to live too much for you when something unexpected comes along. It's our inability to live for ourselves that makes us human. This may be an extreme example, but killing and eating come from the same desire, so if you only ever looked out for yourself you would end up in trouble. This is why I think that not living totally for you is a virtue. [Yokoyama]

● The theme is "going back to the series". The main idea is that after playing as the three new protagonists, you get to reappraise Kiryu in terms of things like his battle style. I guess you could compare it to the sense of security you get when you return to Japan after being overseas - we didn't change a lot so that people would feel this. For example, if the composition of the game had Kiryu playable in part 1, then I think we would have made a lot more changes. [Orihara]

Q. When you were writing the scenario, did you want to give Kiryu any special treatment since he's the series' main character?

● I wasn't thinking anything like that. I was really putting a lot of effort into Akiyama. When I was done writing Akiyama's part, I didn't want to stop. The cutscenes in Akiyama's part are actually the longest by a wide margin. Akiyama really is my absolute favourite. I've always wanted to write a character like him. [Yokoyama]

Q. What kinds of things did you have in mind for Kiryu's section's substories?

● Kiryu's substories alone are fanservice for people who have been fans of the series up until now. They're themed around "what this person is like in 2010", and are stories showing you what happened to the people who have supported and been taken care of by Kiryu afterwards. [Yokoyama]

● Unlike the new protagonists, there's already an image of Kiryu that's been built up throughout the series, so we actually worked to put him in situations that were at odds with his character. They're things that make you think, "How would Kiryu react if he was caught up in a situation like this?" We also had a few characters from previous games appear in Kiryu's substories. They're all characters that are beloved by fans of the series, so we tried to make sure that their current situations would meet expectations. Kiryu has been involved in lots of different substories already in prior games, so he's like our trump card who can get involved in any kind of event, no matter how bizarre. We do, of course, also pay attention to giving him a motive for getting involved. [Takeuchi]

Q. Please tell us Kiryu's design theme.

● A man amongst men. Someone who will never betray his own beliefs. A character who looks fierce, but can calm people at unexpected times with a soft expression. [Hosokawa]

● We made some minor adjustments, but no big changes have been made to him since 3. [Nagai]

Q. How did you end up choosing Mr. Kuroda as Kiryu's voice actor, and what are the secrets behind his voice?

● We listened to a bunch of audition tapes when we were doing the first game. It was tough going. The deciding factor, though, was the way he fitted Kiryu's image, and had a natural voice that was low yet had an elegance to it. In that sense, Mr. Kuroda was a perfect fit. [Nagoshi]

● After listening to lots of voice actors' sample voices for the first game, we found that Mr. Kuroda was the only one who perfectly encompassed the image of a venomous yet sensual hero that we were looking for. [Kikuchi]

● Kiryu is always Mr. Kuroda. Mr. Kuroda will perform about three different versions of each line, and we choose from out of those. [Yokoyama]

Q. Please tell us what happened during Kiryu's voice recording for karaoke and mini games.

● We had a lot of accompanying cheers for karaoke that were even more complex than in the previous game, but it seems as though he had been doing some serious solo practise before the fact, because the recording went really smoothly. He will always say, "I hate doing the cheers..." but I get the feeling that he was the one having the most fun of us all during the recording (laughs). The studio was full of this great atmosphere where we were all constantly smiling, and thanks to this we were able to get some good takes. [Horii]

Q. What did you struggle with and focus on with regards to Kiryu's movements in battle?

● The angle of the backdrop for the Wakeup Call heat move was so good that I put quite a lot of care into doing the motion capture with the actor. [Okuda]

● I imagined heroic and magnificent moves for "Mr. Almighty" Kiryu. He displays his usual vitality with moves like a double German and aerial moves. [Saito]

● He has a lot of heat actions, so he was the toughest to manage. It took about half a day just to check whether you could actually execute all of his moves properly... [Horii]

Q. Please explain Kiryu's charms.

● Generally speaking, Kiryu doesn't really have that many scenes where he's troubled. I guess it's more like we make it so that he lives on while hiding those parts of him. Conversely, he worries in private and in public he keeps it to himself and acts reliably, wiping his own backside. That indomitability he has is really charming. [Nagoshi]

● His strong yet kind charisma. It's not what he wants, but I think he's suited to leading an organisation. [Kikuchi]

● The abnormal omnipotence he gives off in all areas. [Orihara]

● This guy is Ryu ga Gotoku. I think a big part of the reason why we're able to continously release the RGG series in such a short period of time is down to the strength of Kiryu's character. In the previous game he spends a lot of time surrounded by the children of Sunshine and wearing a kind face, but this time around he has the hard face of a serious showdown throughout. Please make sure that you enjoy Kazuma Kiryu's gallant figure to the fullest. [Hosokawa]

● The manliness of his unconditional reliability. [Kawase]

● He really is an influential figure. You'll be charmed by the dignified way he carries himself, and the unique atmosphere of his sensing enemies without seeing them. [Saito]

● Doesn't he go without saying? I want people to get a feel of it by playing the game. [Shimohara]

● How helpful he is. [Someya]

● My favourite part is the way he so seriously tries to fulfil Haruka's crazy requests. You can feel something like a kind of air that exists only between Haruka and Kiryu, and it feels comforting. [Takeuchi]

● He won't stand for illogical things, but he's sympathetic and can put himself in other people's shoes. I think that's his charm. I get the feeling that if I asked him for advice, he would tell me exactly the right thing to do (laughs). [Fukuda]

● His coolness as an overwhelming man, and the absurdness that shows itself here and there. [Horii]

Q. What is your favourite Kiryu scene or line?

● "[The Tojo Clan's a heavy cross to bear.] I'll show you just how heavy." There are lots of others, too, but I guess it has to be this. I want Kiryu to forever be a character where you can feel profundity from simple lines. [Nagoshi]

● "Forty years into my life, I finally realised something. Men like you and me, our lives aren't really our own." This is the theme. There are always people who are always looking out for others and have to work hard for their sake - people who have to become heroes. Maybe this is what those people are really thinking: that they've fought and fought against their role, but it's about time that they just stopped fighting it. I guess he's finally learned that along with age. I love these lines, enough for them to be second only to Akiyama's speech about the king of the jungle. [Yokoyama]

● "We need to accept our fate." You could sum up 4 in this one sentence. [Orihara]

● "Haa!" It feels so good when you execute the Tiger Drop. [Okuda]

● It's not exactly an event scene, but I think that the scenes where you fight Akiyama, Saejima and Tanimura - the characters you've been playing as - is only possible in a game like Ryu ga Gotoku 4 where you have four protagonists. [Hosokawa]

● The scene where Kiryu fights Akiyama and Tanimura. I have an attachment to all three of them, so I remember feeling kind of conflicted. [Kawase]

● I guess it would be the part that's used in the opening as well, where Kiryu is running up the stairs of the in-construction Kamurocho Hills to get to the rooftop. What happened to make Kiryu, such a great, immovable man, run up the stairs out of breath? [Saito]

● The cutscene before the battle with Akiyama and Tanimura stays with me due to the shock of having to fight not only another protagonist, but two of them. Seeing him defeat the pair reminds you once more of how amazing Kiryu is. [Shimohara]

● The event scene with Saejima on the rooftop where he says, "Men like you and me, our lives aren't really our own." The scene gives me the impression that he's making the decision to live differently from the Kiryu he's been until now. [Someya]

● The scene where he's unexpectedly slapped in the substory White Lie. Even despite being hit with a wine bottle he doesn't budge an inch, but being hit by a woman makes him sort of double back, and I like the way it shows how shaken he is. [Takeuchi]

● I like the bit where he fights with the other protagonists. It's filled with the aura of the history that he's built, and in a sense I can sit back and watch with peace of mind. [Nagai]

● "Men like you and me, our lives aren't really our own." I get the feeling that all of the feelings towards the burdens in life that he shoulders and his resignedness to it are contained within this line. It's because of all of the experiences that he's had that Kiryu can say this... It even feels a bit tragic, and really tugged at my heartstrings. [Fukuda]

● "We need to accept our fate." It's just so cool. [Horii]

Q. Everyone please tell us the part of Kiryu's chapter you managed (or were involved in) that you want people to take note of.

● Haruka's resistance against Hamazaki, and the scene where they talk at the beach. A few of the staff pointed out that Haruka didn't look cute, so I worked hard to make her look cuter. It was an incident that made me feel the development team's love for Haruka. [Kawase]

● In this game, you get the rare opportunity to see a flustered Kiryu! Not to mention a 2-on-1 fight! Make sure you experience this three-way! [Saito]

● The final event scene is a long and important one, so I really worked hard on the sound effects and music, which makes it noteworthy. I also would really like people to play karaoke, where everything - the songs, singing and cheering - has evolved. [Shimohara]

● The rooftop of the Millennium Tower and the gigantic Kamurocho Hills. [Someya]

● I'd really like people to play the new hot spring ping pong play spot as Kiryu. You'll feel something refreshing in the way he gives all he has to beat his cute girl opponents. [Takeuchi]

● I really want people to go to karaoke with Haruka now that she's a bit more grown up. I'm sure that you'll have a great time. [Nagai]

● All of the sounds around town, all of the mini games - particularly the daydream scenes - and the vigour with which Kiryu challenges hostesses to ping pong and karaoke. [Fukuda]

● The cutscene for Kiryu's new song, MachineGun Kiss. I think we achieved a good balance between coolness and silliness. [Horii]