SEGA's PlayStation franchise Yakuza (Ryu Ga Gotoku) has often been called "The Grand Theft Auto of Japan". Like GTA, players are in large urban environments in an underworld setting. That doesn't mean designer Toshihiro Nagoshi is a fan, though.
In a recent forum, the game designer referred to GTA as a game in which you can "kill people or do whatever". It's not that Nagoshi used this forum to trash talk GTA — far from it. Instead, he touched on the larger issues at hand, such as what does it mean to make a game that can let players do whatever they want. Is this dangerous?
"This game," the SEGA R&D head said about GTA, "I thought one day someone is going to have to make something like this. Personally, because I think you must think about the influence games have on people, I would never think about wanting to make a game like this. However, because of this moral issues in this game, I think we should have a healthy debate.
"In gaming, if you make a decision, there is a reaction, and it's the most stimulating form of media, I think. And thus, it can asked if it's the most dangerous media... Depending on what you make, perhaps."
Besides developing Yakuza, Nagoshi works on Super Monkey Ball games and his tan.