―What were your first impressions of each other?
Yokoyama: At first I thought, "This guy is huge!" I first saw him at my initiation ceremony, but he was so imposing and amazing considering how young he was. He was showy, but I looked up to him. He drove a Ferrari and everything. Ryu ga Gotoku was the first time we worked together, though back then he was still god-like to me, and I felt like, "Oh, he's really here..." (laughs).
Nagoshi: When I first met Yokoyama at the time of RGG1 I thought, "He's not the kind you usually see in the gaming industry." He was the sporty type, and rather than wearing otaku-ish clothes he dressed really stylishly.
Yokoyama: RGG1 wasn't actually the first time we met; we met at a get-together after my initiation ceremony.
Nagoshi: Huh? Really...
Yokoyama: When you called out asking for "guys who want to go out for a drink!" all of the newbies shied away and wouldn't go, but I just mixed in with my senior employees and went along with it all carefree (laughs). At the time I never even dreamt that we would work together.
―What is something you would rate highly about each other?
Yokoyama: What I learned from working with him was that he's the kind of person who knows what makes curry taste great. I respect him for that.
Nagoshi: Curry? What are you talking about? (laughs)
Yokoyama: I think that games are like curry. Delicious curry uses all kinds of different ingredients, but how do you know which is the decisive one that makes its flavour? You're the kind of person who knows, just by tasting a single mouthful, what kind of onion produced in what place to put in to make it taste great. I feel kind of like, how does he know that!? (laughs) It's like some kind of special ability.
Nagoshi: I see... When you do feel that?
Yokoyama: For example, when you're watching a cutscene and go, "The cut to the next scene when Kiryu opens the door here is too early!" or something like that, you point out precisely how things need to go. Things like that. If it was me, I think I'd say that going a little faster or slower has nothing to do with how interesting the game is. But when I see the finished thing, I realise how accurate your pointers are.
Nagoshi: I still think I have a lot to learn, though. I often think that maybe when the cutscenes are being edited they aren't cut short enough and go on too long. On the other hand, I highly value your spirit. When I was dithering over who to have write RGG1's plot, I gave you instructions while honestly thinking, "This isn't finished." Then you took those instructions and developed it in your own way, writing up until the end. I thought, "This guy is amazing."
Yokoyama: I'm the kind of guy who says, "Let's do it!" and then goes off and does it. Though I didn't know it was okay for the plot to be short.
Nagoshi: I think things like that are strong points that are hard to get.
―As you continue to depict excellent stories in the future, what do you both want to aim for?
Nagoshi: Yokoyama has done it this whole time, and it's not like I've never reflected on that at all. But he always seems to be challenging himself to do something new and interesting. I hope he holds onto that pride in the future.
Yokoyama: Pride...? I think it's all down to Ryu ga Gotoku that I have it. To be honest, until now I've worked on titles that some people say are interesting, but from a business standpoint didn't do that great... I think it's because Ryu ga Gotoku became such a hit that I'm able to take that pride and aim for something even better next time around.
Nagoshi: Those kinds of experiences of success are important. I think there's a lot of value in the fact that so many staff members felt the joy and pride of success through Ryu ga Gotoku. This is why I think it's important that rather than resting on our laurels with our hit, we use it as motivation to make something even more fun.