Michael Rosenbaum plays Akira Nishikiyama, Kiryu's childhood friend who after the incident that sends Kiryu to prison turns into a cold, calculating Magnificent Bastard who will do almost anything it takes to gain leadership of the Tojo Clan.
Troubled Production: Nagoshi had to overcome countless hurdles to get the first game made and fought hard to make it happen, and despite having games like Daytona USA and Super Monkey Ball under his belt, he was so determined in his vision that he promised Sega that he would quit from the industry forever if he didn't deliver the hit they needed. The concept of making a game geared towards an adult demographic didn't sit well with the higher-ups at Sega, who didn't want to alienate their younger audience and feared it wouldn't appeal to those overseas. When reaching out to companies for Product Placement and actors to play a part in it, many feared their involvement in a game about organized crime would hurt their image and declined. Crime novelist Hase Seishū was hired as a consultant for the script, who rejected it as suffering from Critical Research Failure. Fortunately, Sony was very supportive of Nagoshi's concept and it all paid off. It was a success in Japan and was the hit Sega needed, and has since become one of their flagship series.