Some 14 years ago, Sega developed and published Yakuza, an action-adventure video game for PlayStation 2 with yakuza Kazuma Kiryu as the protagonist. This is an open world RPG where you build up Kazuma’s character and make him more powerful.
The game was first released in the West as a remake Yakuza Kiwami for PlayStation 4 in 2017 and Microsoft Windows recently on February 19. It also has a sequel Yakuza Kiwami 2 which is actually the remake of Yakuza 2 and it came out for PlayStation 4 in 2017 in Japan and in 2018 worldwide. The PC, iOS and Android version called Yakuza Online was released in November last year in Japan as free-to-play.
Yakuza Online features a new protagonist Ichiban Kasuga who is planned to be the leading character in the new series for consoles. Since Yakuza series is very popular in the West, fans immediately wondered whether Sega will do localization in English. After all, they did quite a job with localizing the original game where they hired high-profile actors like Mark Hamill (Star Wars), Michael Madsen (Kill Bill) and Eliza Dushku (Buffy the Vampire Slayer). Sega’s Toshihiro Nagoshi would certainly like to see the game published in the West as he said in an interview for Otaquest.
“I can’t make a promise either, but I’d like to eventually see Yakuza Online make its way to the West,” said Toshihiro Nagoshi.
Nagoshi didn’t hide his surprise that this game series became popular in the West mostly because this type of genre didn’t interest the Western audience as much before. But thanks to the word-of-mouth, Yakuza started gaining more and more fans by the day. And now, many are hopeful, including Nagoshi, that Yakuza Online will also be published in the West. He was also surprised to see that Western players liked and reacted to the same things as the Japanese one, even though there is a cultural difference in place.
“Usually I’ll go to other countries for work, talk to people at events, and see reactions on social media. I’ve never lived outside of Japan, so I can’t really say for sure, but surprisingly a lot of the comments are very close to what Japanese fans would say. It’s all worldwide, fans will usually share opinions on which parts are funny, as well as which parts are sad,” explained Nagoshi “I thought comedy would be the hardest part, but when I saw that everyone enjoyed it, I was definitely glad. If we work carefully and localize the games properly, I think we can continue to get these worldwide reactions.”
While it’s still uncertain whether will Sega localize Yakuza Online, you can play the original game and get to know the world of organized crime and Japanese culture a little bit more.