Toshihiro Nagoshi is still influential
Toshihiro Nagoshi was 36 when Super Monkey Ball was released. The innocent series was a hit, and survived to this day. But being the Monkey Ball creator wasn’t their sole contribution to the industry. No, they were pretty active way before balls entered the equation, and remained a key player at Sega for a long while after.
As chief designer on Virtua Racing, you could say that Nagoshi had a long career ahead of him. Almost immediately afterward he worked on F-Zero GX alongside of Miyamoto, made his name with the Yakuza series, and then worked on pretty much every major Sega game to date, even transitioning into Atlus when they were acquired by Sega. The last thing the Monkey Ball creator contributed to was receiving a writing credit for Lost Judgment. The man never stops working.
When Yakuza was first revealed, Nagoshi famously noted: “For a while now, I’ve wanted to create a powerful, gritty drama where you feel the sense of humanity.” When I first heard this, I immediately got flashbacks to Hayao Miyazaki: a man who has experienced much pain in his life, and chooses to create a mix of art that’s both cute and heartwarming, and grounded/terrifying.
Which brings us to the main point: the header image. While Monkey Ball put Toshihiro Nagoshi on a lot of people’s radars, Yakuza catapulted him into the stratosphere. It’s no wonder that it’s become a large part of his identity and his public persona, and it’s worth noting that it’s never too late to change tact and follow your dreams. I wonder what he’ll get up to next?