Yakuza director and Jet Set Radio artist Ryuta Ueda has returned to Sega after nearly a decade away from the games industry.
Ueda, who was the art director behind Dreamcast classic Jet Set Radio (“Jet Grind Radio” in the US) and its Xbox sequel Jet Set Radio Future, as well as the first two Yakuza games for PS2, rejoined Sega in May following nine years working at Yahoo! Japan.
Ueda’s previous Sega credits span from the mid-90s, including creature design for the Panzer Dragoon games and directing Kinect horror title Rise of Nightmares.
“I have decided to resign from Yahoo Japan and return to my old company, Sega,” he announced on his public Facebook page. “I am very grateful for the many people I met and the many lessons I learned through various projects at Yahoo!
“From now on, I will focus on making games again. Not only do I feel the excitement of making things, but I am also smiling a little at the thought of seeing old friends and meeting new people. I would like to fully demonstrate what I have cultivated through experience.”
The former Yakuza director could arrive in the same window that the series’ current boss Toshihiro Nagoshi leaves the company.
According to Bloomberg, Nagoshi is in “final negotiations” with NetEase, which is one of the largest video game companies in the world due to its large success in the PC and mobile game markets in China.
Nagoshi will reportedly be setting up his own team and creating new games for NetEase, although a final contract has yet to be finalised.
Jet Set Radio has seen an uptick in interest in the past few months, with Sega recently revealing that Beat from Jet Set Radio will be a playable character in Super Monkey Ball: Banana Mania.
Indie developer Team Reptile has also begun promoting Bomb Rush Cyberfunk, which is a spiritual successor to the Dreamcast classic, planned for consoles and PC.
The indie successor will have a soundtrack from Hideki Naganuma, the composer of Smilebit’s Sega Dreamcast classic and its 2002 Xbox sequel, Jet Set Radio Future.
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