Sega, please publish the Yakuza Kenzan spinoffs in English

Majima, honey

screenshot: Sega

In 2022 yakuza is quite a big series in the West, as we saw yesterday when eight games made it to PlayStation Plus. But it wasn’t always like that! Between the release of Yakuza 2 and 3 things looked unbelievable tricky for English speakers, and there was real apprehension that when Yakuza 3 If it didn’t sell well, it would be the last game in the franchise we’d ever see here.

I know this sounds absurd given the number and importance yakuza Games for these days but it’s true! In fact, people were so concerned about that every little change that Sega has made Yakuza 3 English release was scrutinized to hell and back, and fans feared that any little thing that might hamper sales would spell the end of the series in the west.

All that fear counted for nothing, of course –Yakuza 3 It worked out well and the rest is history— but all that concern about low sales helps set the stage for why, around the same time, another yakuza Game was released in Japan (later followed by a sequel) which we haven’t been able to play in English till date. And it’s about time that changed.

In 2008 Sega was released Ryu ga Gotoku Kenzan! for the PS3, which is probably best described as a yakuza holiday special. It was set in Kyoto in 1605 and was a yakuza The game has been thrown back in time with players still controlling Kazuma Kiryu, only his name is now Kazumanosuke Kiryu, and instead of being a gangster, he is a retired swordsman who now works as a bodyguard.

Then in 2014 Sega released Ryu ga Gotoku Ishin! for the PS4, which did the same thing – only now set during the end of the shogunate in the mid-19th century – and introduced more cameos from the main series with appearances from favorites like Majima and Daigo.

Though set in different time periods and with a sword-heavy historical bias, these were silent yakuza Play through and through. Check out the Japanese trailer was and you will see what I mean:

Yakuza Ishin – PS4 Trailer

was even if you’re a fan of the karaoke sequences in the main games, has its own historical setting:

Ryu Ga Gotoku Ishin! – Okita singing

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 an understandable fear that if no one bought the main thing yakuza Games, why bother with these spinoffs? However, as this was slowly being undone by the series’ increasing popularity in the West, concerns remained that much of the games’ atmosphere would be lost to Western audiences unfamiliar with the nuances of the time (it says here that another yakuza Spin-off, the gun-heavy one dead Souls, was given an English language release, which says a lot about Sega’s perception of the western market).

These have now been supplemented (or replaced) by technical issues, as we reported just last year when director Daisuke Sato said:

I personally want these titles to be localized and enjoyed by our western fans. Our priority was to get the series back on track in the west Yakuza 0so time just flew by with no ideal time for the release of these games.

In my opinion the storyline is one of the best in the series so I’d love to localize it if we get the chance. However, the game is also almost 7 years old, so we may have to put in extra work to rebuild it instead of a simple port, so the decision is a bit more complicated.

Despite the potential in those statements and the fact that the developers said so They work on games beyond that yakuza and judgement series, we haven’t heard from the possibility since. But even if it takes some work – and in the case of Ryu ga Gotoku Kenzan!some serious Work – to bring the games up to date on modern hardware for modern expectations, there has never been a better time to make this expenditure.

That Yakuza Kiwami games – remakes of the first two entries in the series – have done well, for two games already available in the West! These spin-offs would be starting from scratch, not to mention having appeal beyond what already exists yakuza fanbase to the potentially broader audience that is the backdrop to, say, Spirit of Tsushima.

Anyway, I’m not here to support financially these games. We’ve all managed to survive the last 15 years without her, and might survive another 15 if the outside world allows. I’m just here to maybe give Sega a nudge, a reminder that we love each other yakuza Games, but maybe one day we could love these too other yakuza Games, including those with swords.

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1 Comment

  1. The very next time I read a blog, Hopefully it wont disappoint me as much as this one. After all, I know it was my choice to read through, nonetheless I really believed you would have something helpful to talk about. All I hear is a bunch of crying about something that you could possibly fix if you werent too busy searching for attention.

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