German gaming site, JPGames, recently interviewed Daisuke Sato, the head of SEGA’s Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio (aka the Yakuza studio). In the interview, Sato spoke about the rise of the Yakuza brand in the west, the development process of the games, and, excitingly, possible remakes and spin-offs in the following interview.
The Yakuza games have always seen huge popularity in Japan and, in more recent times, have seen a resurgence of popularity in the West, especially with last year’s awesome Yakuza: Like a Dragon. Starting out exclusively on Sony’s PlayStation consoles, way back on the PS2, the franchise has now seen a near-complete collection coming to Xbox and PC platforms. However, two of the titles still remain Japan-exclusive: Kenzan and Ishin.
Both Ryu Ga Gotoku (Yakuza) Kenzan and Ishin, are spin-off titles in the Yakuza franchise. Unlike the main series which are set in a modern era, these games are set in more ‘medieval’ times, and each follows historical Japanese figures of Sakamoto Ryōma (1836-1867) and Miyamoto Musashi (1584-1645) respectively. So think samurai swords, rather than sharp suits.
Because of the popularity of the franchise overall and the uniqueness, western fans have been craving to play these games. But it seems that at one point SEGA was planning to bring the games to audiences outside Japan and Sato is still interested in bringing the games to the west, but not a simple localization, a remaster:
“Personally, I would like to see these titles localized so that Western fans can enjoy them. In the past, we prioritized to re-enter the West with Yakuza 0. Time was flying without a good time to publish these titles. In my opinion, the action in “Ishin” and “Kenzan” is one of the best in the series. So I would like to locate the titles if there is a chance. However, they are already a good seven years old. So it would take extra work to produce remakes instead of simple ports. This makes the decision a little more complicated.”
It would be awesome if SEGA did seriously consider bringing these two games to the West because so few Yakuza fans have really had a chance to play them – mostly due to the language barrier.
Be sure to read the rest of the interview on JPGames, because it’s an insightful look at the Yakuza franchise old and new.[Source: JPGames]