―What do you both think of each other?
Kikuchi: We're totally different kinds of people.
Nagoshi: Yeah, we aren't at all alike. I'm the kind of person who will get all excited about something and charge on ahead by myself, whereas Kikuchi is really laid back.
Kikuchi: Even our taste in films doesn't match up. Nagoshi likes films that dig deep into humanity, but I really like comedy and things like that. We also have completely different hobbies and outlooks on life. But I think those differences between us are good for making games.
Nagoshi: I agree. When I go along with proposals that are hard for other people to understand, I need someone to support me intellectually.
Kikuchi: If there was one thing we had in common, I think it would be that we can both hold our liquor.
Nagoshi: Yeah (laughs). We've been out on research together a bunch of times, and we've gone out for a drink, too, but it has little effect on us. He seemed like the kind of guy who would drink and drink and tell you things straight.
―What do you both think is great about each other?
Nagoshi: I think his power to think of what a broader, more general audience feels is amazing. It was him who first came up with the idea of putting a little girl in a game about yakuza fighting, after all. He's also really good with numbers. When RGG1 was released he said, "I know this is going to sell 300,000." Again with RGG2 he said, "I know this is going to sell 500,000," and that's precisely what happened. When it was still hard to tell whether or not it was a hit, he would state these things clearly. I respect him for that.
Kikuchi: I respect the way he has a set focus on how high the quality of a game has to be. He will never allow any compromise, so he's really firm with the staff.
Nagoshi: Even I think I'm hard on the staff. To me, Ryu ga Gotoku was a game that had so much riding on it that I thought, "If I can't do this, there's no point being in the gaming industry!" There was no way I could compromise on anything.
Kikuchi: But as well as being tough, he's also the kind of guy who really recognises when people are doing their best. So it's easy to get the staff to go above and beyond. Also, when the staff are suffering, there are guys who will just clearly state, "It's okay, we can do it!" There are times when he will come up with this cheesy line, but he's a passionate, pleasant man.
―Have you ever had a clash of opinions and got into an argument?
Kikuchi: We haven't.
Nagoshi: No, I don't think that's ever happened. When we see things a different way and butt heads, we go with whatever we have most confidence in. More than anything, we're so busy that we don't have time to fight (laughs).
Kikuchi: If anything at all, maybe we had a fight over the cabaret clubs when RGG1 was in the planning phase. Nagoshi wanted to do it, but I wasn't so sure. I thought that maybe just having Kiryu go through conversations with the cabaret girls wouldn't make for an interesting game, but Nagoshi was really confident about it, so in the end I trusted in his opinion. Then the cabaret clubs became one of the big draw points for the game. I think it all ended well.
―What do you think is important when starting a new project?
Kikuchi: It's important not to lose the challenge.
Nagoshi: Yeah, that's the most important thing. You have to have some challenge there. In particular, if you keep going with a series without any challenge it's going to stop selling, so you will try to prop it back up and go, "Okay, let's have some challenge!" which is the worst thing you can do. It was because we felt this way that after RGG3 came out we went ahead with the big challenge of increasing the number of player characters in RGG4.
Kikuchi: From the start, lots of people were saying to us, "Are you sure it's okay to release something like this?" so we had that challenge from the beginning of planning. Wherever the series goes from here, we don't want to play it safe, but give ourselves a continual sense of challenge.