In 2022 Yakuza is a pretty big streak in the West as we saw yesterday eight games made it to PlayStation Plus. But it wasn’t always like that! Between releases Yakuza 2 and 3 things were looking for incredibly it is risky for Englishmen and there were real fears that if Yakuza 3 didn’t sell well, it would be the last game from the franchise we’d ever see here.
I know that sounds absurd given the number and importance Yakuza games these days, but it’s true! People were so anxious about it, in fact, that every little change Sega made Yakuza 3 The English release was heavily scrutinized, and fans feared that any little thing that could potentially hurt sales would spell the end of the series in the West.
Of course all that fear was for naught— Yakuza 3 turned out well and the rest is history – but all the anxiety about low sales helps set the stage for why around the same time Yakuza a game released in Japan (later followed by a sequel) that we still haven’t been able to play in English. And it’s time for that to change.
In 2008 Sega came out Ryu ga Gotoku Kenzan! for PS3 which I guess you can best describe as a Yakuza holiday special. Set in Kyoto in 1605 Yakuza the game has gone back in time, with players still controlling Kazuma Kiryu, but now his name is Kazumanosuke Kiryu, and instead of a gangster, he is a retired swordsman who now works as a bodyguard.
Then in 2014 Sega came out Ryu ga Gotoku Ishin! for PS4, which did the same – only now set at the end of the shogunate in the mid-1800s – and featured additional cameos from the main series, with appearances by favorites such as Majima and Daigo.
Although set in different time periods and with a heavy sword historical bent, these were still Yakuza games through and through. Check out the Japanese trailer China and you’ll see what I mean:
China even if you’re a fan of the karaoke sequences in the main games, it has its own historical perspective:
These look great! I really want to play them!
Sega and developers Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio have long had several reasons for keeping these games in Japan. The first was the understandable fear that if no one would buy the main Yakuza games, why would they bother with these spinoffs? As this was slowly nullified by the series’ growing popularity in the West, there were lingering concerns that much of the games’ atmosphere would be lost to Western audiences less familiar with the nuances of the era. (here it is said that another Yakuza spinoff, weapon-heavy Dead Souls, was given the English release, which says a lot about how Sega perceives the Western market).
These have now been joined (or replaced) by technical issues, as we covered last year when director Daisuke Sato said:
Personally, I would like these titles to be localized and appeal to our western fans. We favored regaining our position with the streak in the West from Yakuza 0so time just flew by with no ideal time to release these games.
The action is one of the best in the series in my opinion, so I’d love to localize them if we get the chance. However, the game is also almost 7 years old, so we may have to put more work into remaking it instead of a simple port, making the decision a bit more complicated.
Despite the potential in these statements and the fact that the developers have said they are working on games beyond that Yakuza and Judgment series, we haven’t heard of that possibility since. But even if it takes some work – and in case Ryu ga Gotoku Kenzan!some seriously work – to keep games accelerated to modern expectations on modern hardware, there’s never been a better time to pull the trigger on that spend.
The Yakuza Kiwami games – remakes of the first two entries in the series – did well for two games that were already available in the West! These spinoffs would be starting from scratch, not to mention appeal beyond the existing ones Yakuza fan base to a potentially wider audience that viewed the environment, say Ghost of Tsushima.
Anyway, I’m not here inquiry these games. We’ve all managed to survive the last 15 years without them, and maybe we could survive another 15 if the outside world allows it. I’m just here to maybe give Seg a nudge, a reminder that, hey, we love Yakuza games, but maybe someday we could love them too another Yakuza games, including the ones with swords.
#Sega #play #Yakuza #Samurai #spinoffs