Ryo first appears in Art of Fighting, where he sets off to fight Mr. Big to save his sister Yuri. However, as he does so, he is led to a mysterious man known as Mr. Karate. After beating him, it is revealed that Mr. Karate was his and Yuri's father, Takuma Sakazaki, and that he was being coerced by Geese Howard into being his muscle in Southtown, having arranged Yuri's kidnapping to force his cooperation. Ryo, his family, and his best friend Robert Garcia then proceed to search for and fight Geese. After failing to kill Geese in Art of Fighting 2 (which leads up to the events of the original Fatal Fury), Ryo's role is reduced to a supporting role to Robert in Art of Fighting 3: The Path of the Warrior, as the latter leaves for the fictional Mexican town of Glasshill without warning, in order to help his childhood friend Freia Lawrence. Ryo's playable appearances after this are mostly in The King of Fighters series, often teaming up with Robert, Yuri, and/or Takuma, as part of the Art of Fighting Team. In The King of Fighters series, he mostly joins the tournaments to get funds for his family's dojo.
Ryo was one of the characters who tried to take the Smash invitation in Terry's trailer. During his scene, he rushes forwards and tries to grab the letter, but it flies away.
As a costume
As a background character
Ryo makes a cameo on the King of Fighters Stadium.
As a spirit
Ryo appears as an Ace class spirit.