Nagoshi's team is made up of a few hundred staff in total. In what kind of environment do they create the games? We asked the staff about work at Sega HQ and how they spend their days.
Sega's headquarters are in Ohtorii, a town close to Haneda Airport. This is where the development staff on Nagoshi's team spend their days and nights working on Ryu ga Gotoku. Opening the door to the main floor, one sees an orderly office. At first glance it may appear to simply be a normal workplace, but the PCs are hi-spec business use machines. They are full of programs and Ryu ga Gotoku's intricate graphics.
Aside from the rows of high-powered workstations, the area looks like a normal office.
How do the staff spend their days here? I started by speaking with Jun Orihara, in charge of battles since RGG1.
"From the very start when development began, the staff called for 'Someone with confidence in their abilities!' [laughs], and started by gathering up all of the people who had experience with fighting moves. They brought along cushions and had those with experience actually try the moves out on them. When I saw the recording they all looked painful, but we discussed which ones should be put in the game and created some data showing what we wanted from the stuntmen. What is amazing about the stuntmen is the way they can fall from a height of three metres and still be fine! I indicated to them what kind of action we wanted. One time I even managed to get the role of a punching bag... For a while I was covered in bruises."
Head character designer Saizo Nagai says he spent his days drawing pictures non-stop at the start of development.
"I was in charge of character designs from Kenzan! until RGG4. When development first began, I would spend every single day frantically drawing tens, hundreds of character designs and presenting them to Mr. Nagoshi at meetings. I was given verbal instructions for what their designs were supposed to look like. For example, Mr. Yokoyama said to me regarding RGG4's Akiyama, 'Hmm, he doesn't seem like the kind to wear socks, does he? Make him seem that way.' [laughs] My job was to expand on the image I got from vague pointers like that and draw loads of images of each character.
"Whenever I showed my pictures of Nagoshi, Kikuchi and Yokoyama at a meeting and they gave it the OK, I would immediately hand it over to the CG designer and have them start the modelling process. After creating the 3D character, finer details like their facial expressions and clothing are revised. Mr. Nagoshi is the kind of person who will look at an image of a 3D character and give specific hints like, 'This character's eyebrows should be a millimetre further apart.' We also have to create "textures" that show the character's physical appearance, like skin and clothing. Things like the skin, beards and eyebrows of the main characters are created using modified versions of photos taken of office staff. This means that the protagonists' faces are kind of like a patchwork of the staff's faces."
Arriving at work at 10am, work continues late into the night in the later stages. The captivating games take shape from their accumulated efforts.
Shisa bought during research in Okinawa sit atop the monitor, watching over the staff as they work.