Even if they are all red light districts, each place - such as Tokyo and Osaka - has a very different atmosphere. How was each town's unique feeling portrayed? Let's take a look at the efforts of the CG creation team.
With each new entry in the Ryu ga Gotoku series, a new setting has been created. Various advancements have been made, like the feel of the atmosphere changing with each town and the beautiful nature being realistically replicated.
First of all is Osaka, where Ryu ga Gotoku 2 was set. Like Kamurocho, the fictional red light district where the first game is set, Osaka's nighttime downtown area is featured. However, it took quite a lot of effort to make it clear at a glance that this was downtown Osaka. For starters, downtown Osaka is filled with signs in characteristic shapes that you would never see in Tokyo. Even if they are only normal signs, their design and colour combinations differ greatly from those found in Tokyo. The staff actually visited Osaka, looking at the colours of the neon, the real signs that can be seen in Osaka, and using symbolic buildings such as Tsutenkaku to create a realistic townscape. It was also with this game that the concept of not just freely walking around town but actually becoming a resident of that town was added. You can now also manage a business or work as a host at a host club.
Ryu ga Gotoku: Kenzan! was released as a spin-off. Unlike previous entries in the series, which are set in modern-day red light districts, this game is set in an Edo period pleasure quarter. With its rows of colourful establishments, the red light district of Gion, Kyo, is depicted elegantly. On the other hand, set foot outside of Gion and you are met with the sight of beautiful nature. A lot of effort has been put into not only the glamorous town, but also visually showing the elegant air of Kyoto. Also characteristic is the way that real locations such as Kiyomizu-dera and Nijo Castle appear.
Ryu ga Gotoku 3 is set in Okinawa. In order to realistically recreate the Okinawan townscape, the staff visited Okinawa five times.
However, development of Naha had progressed further than any of the staff had imagined, and the beach no longer looked like the kind that everyone associates with Okinawa. They decided that, rather than working to faithfully portray a modern Okinawa, they would create scenery that most people would instantly recognise as "Okinawan". They also carefully reproduced the power cables and telephone poles that were lost in the redevelopment of Naha.
Another important matter was producing Okinawa's unique atmosphere. After walking around the rubbish-strewn streets of Kamurocho you can board a plane and fly to Okinawa, where the air feels completely different. Despite it being inside the game, you can feel the serene atmosphere of Okinawa. This was created using special effects called "fog" and "scatter". By adding a foggy effect to the air you create the dust-filled air of a Tokyo town, and by scattering light around you can create the invigorating air of Okinawa. Realistically reproduced at the beach is the swaying of plants in the breeze and the gentle lapping of the waves. By setting a program for the grass, trees an beach on-screen, they were able to create the movements of the vegetation and water.
Kamurocho is the main setting once more in Ryu ga Gotoku 4. Aside from now being able to explore the building rooftops and underground of Kamurocho, you can also visit back alleys, the underground carpark and the sewers, allowing you to more deeply enjoy Kamurocho. This also plays a part in letting you sympathise with the characters - for example, the sense of security that Saejima, who is being pursued by the police, feels when he is hiding underground.
Several devices have also been employed to portray the story in a more charming way. One of these that must be seen is the way Kamurocho looks in the rain. The damp streets reflect the neon lights, making the bewitching charms of the town seem even more realistic.