Rikiya Nakagawa (中川 力也, Nakagawa Rikiya) is a Japanese game producer and the former manager of Sega AM1 (formerly known as WOW Entertainment). He served as producer for several titles in the House of the Dead series.
Childhood and employment at Sega
Rikiya Nakagawa was born on October 24th, 1959. He was a baseball fan in elementary school, and at some point joined a junior team. He lost interest by the time he entered high school; his body "wasn't getting any thinner".
Nakagawa often skipped school to visit Mahjong parlors. He played arcade games like Space Invaders, Galaxian, Heiankyo Alien, and Head On. However, he was not as invested in Space Invaders as other Japanese players; he "always [looked] for new games to play". During his second year of high school, Nakagawa purchased an electric guitar, which led to his interest in jazz music while he studied electronic engineering at Tokai University.
Nakagawa noted that as "computers were just beginning to enter society", his classmates were joining companies like NEC and Fujitsu. In 1983, he had a chance to join Namco, which already rose in power due to the 1980 release of Pac-Man. However, his college career center recommended that he apply for Sega instead, stating that it was easier because Nakagawa simply needed to fill out a one-page form to receive a tentative offer later that day. Nakagawa ultimately joined SEGA.
The House of the Dead series
During Nakagawa's early days, he programmed several arcade games such as Ninja Princess, Choplifter in 1985, and Alien Syndrome in 1987. He became the manager of Sega AM1 in September 1993, which he gladly accepted as it meant that he "didn't have to code [by himself] anymore". Nakagawa feels that his most memorable project at AM1 was Indy 500, which "was the first time [Sega was] able to do proper color textures", as well as having "good handle on CG graphics". This, per Nakagawa, was what eventually make The House of the Dead possible.
After sister group Sega AM2 released Virtua Cop in 1994, AM1 wanted to develop a light gun of their own, The House of the Dead, which was released on September 13th, 1996. Nakagawa produced the game, with Takashi Oda directing. The game was a success, with Nakagawa retaining his producer role for the sequels The House of the Dead 2 and The House of the Dead III, as well as spin-offs like The Typing of the Dead and The Pinball of the Dead.
WOW Entertainment and resignation
In 2000, Sega restructured, with AM1 being combined with the other AM groups to form WOW Entertainment, which was based in Shibuya City, Tokyo Prefecture, Japan. Nakagawa chose the name "WOW Entertainment" because it was an easy name to say in Japanese and would also work worldwide as a word in the English dictionary.
In 2003, Hisao Oguchi was named as president of Sega. As his first move, Oguchi announced his intention to consolidate Sega's studios into "four or five core operations", which led to WOW Entertainment's merger with Overworks. With this merger, completed in October 2003, WOW Entertainment changed its name to Sega WOW, with Nakagawa's status changed from manager to president. In addition, Sammy Corporation purchased a large share of Sega and focused it on arcade games using Sammy's own arcade system board. Nakagawa, who was reportedly unhappy with Sammy's demands, resigned weeks after the acquisition. Kazunori Tsukamoto, who worked with Nakagawa to develop The House of the Dead, took over as president of Sega WOW afterwards.