Originally posted on 20 January 2016
Source: page 114-116

Destiny of a Dragon

Promotional tie-ups give the game's setting its charm

Though he had experience here and there with sales, he was a complete newbie at promotion. For a while after he was put in charge of promoting Ryu ga Gotoku 2, Uemura's days were long and hard.

Uemura's central roles as promotion manager were to do with business tie-ups and appointment of actors. If actual businesses and chains appeared within the red light district in the game, it would be good at stirring up chatter. Tie-ups involving the discount shop Don Quijote and alcohol maker Suntory in RGG1 had created some buzz. Appointing famous actors was also important in drawing the attention of people who had no interest in games.

Uemura came and went between Tokyo and Kansai, requesting tie-ups with various businesses. But simply by hearing that it was a "yakuza game", the companies' PR people became reluctant to accept them. His predecessor Kiyomizu had plenty of experience under his belt, and still struggled to get anyone to see their point of view on RGG1.

Uemura, thinking that with his inexperience it would be impossible, was in dismay, when he was called to by Nagoshi.

"...Do you ever go out for a drink?"
"Uh, yeah, sometimes... Around here or Roppongi."
"What about Shinjuku?"
"I've never been there."
"Oh. Well, when shall we go?"

Uemura was invited by Nagoshi to go out into the red light district. It was his first time going out to drink face-to-face with the staff. He was so nervous that his throat was dry, and he couldn't taste the alcohol. After going into several cabaret clubs and having simple conversations he finally calmed down, which was when Uemura began to gradually let out his true feelings.

"I've always been in sales, so I have no idea what to do with promotion."

Nagoshi laughed.

"It doesn't matter if you don't know. With promotion, you have to do something new. If you don't, we can't make something better than before."

These words gave courage to Uemura, who was worried about whether or not he could actually do the job.

Afterwards, Uemura began to proceed with promotion in his own way. He explained what he knew to others thoroughly, and listened honestly to what he didn't know. Leveraging the techniques he had learned from his time as a salesman, he began negotiations.

"It's a game that shows a realistic town, just like a film."
"But unlike a film we only record the voices, so it won't take much of the actors' time."
"By the way, how much would you estimate an actor would charge in fees for recording their voice alone?"
"It's our latest game, featuring Suntory and Don Quijote."
"The first game sold 300,000 copies. We're aiming for the next game to sell a few hundred thousand, too. Please collaborate with us as part of a tie-up."

Uemura finally, gradually began to secure actors and tie-ups with businesses, obtaining permission to use the appearances of various restaurants in-game. One of these tie-ups that made Nagoshi happy was the one with gyudon chain Matsuya. It was Matsuya's gyudon which Nagoshi had eaten with what tiny amount of money he had when he first arrived in Tokyo after leaving his hometown of Shimonoseki. Now Nagoshi, who had at first held reservations about Uemura's way of working, placed his utmost trust in him.

"Struggles with business tie-ups"

At the time of RGG1's development, Nagoshi and Kikuchi both went out to hire actors and negotiate business tie-ups.

"I bought yokan in Haneda and went to see the actors. I thought Toraya's yokan was standard." (Nagoshi)

"I went to a maker of luxury foreign cars to negotiate, but they turned me down, saying, 'It wouldn't be a good thing for a yakuza to be riding around in our cars, would it!?' [laughs]" (Kikuchi)

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