March 5, 2021

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Yakuza: Ishin and Kenzan Could Release in the West, But They’d Need to be Remade and Not Just Ported

The Yakuza franchise has been gradually making its way west, but two games that are missing from the collection are Yakuza: Ishin and Yakuza Kenzan. In an interview with JPGames, Yakuza Producer Daisuke Sato said he’d still like to localise the games for the west, but both games would now have to be remade rather than simply ported.

The reason the spinoff games haven’t yet appeared in the west is simply a matter of timing. When they were first released in Japan, Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio was busy capitalising on the success of the western release of Yakuza 0. Sato stated this was vital for “regaining our ground with the series in the West” as it paved the way for the re-release of more of the mainline games. Unfortunately, this meant an ideal window for the Ishin and Kenzan localisations never materialised, publisher SEGA clearly stating they had no plans to release Ishin in the west at the time.

Sato would still like to localise these games but because Ishin is nearly seven years old and Kenzan is just reaching its 13th anniversary, porting the games wouldn’t be a simple process—they would likely need additional work to remake them for the current market. This makes the decision to release them in the west “a bit more complicated”, especially as the studio is just a single development team rather than multiple teams working on multiple projects at the same time.

The Yakuza franchise’s success in the west has helped it to sell over 14 million copies in its lifetime. The most recent release, Yakuza: Like a Dragon, helped the franchise to sell 2 million units in 2020 alone. This title was released on multiple platforms, including Xbox, and it’s something Sato said the studio will definitely be doing in the future so more players in the west can “have the opportunity to play our games”. They’re also aiming for simultaneous launches across the world, although this isn’t something Sato can promise just yet. Maybe one day we’ll see Yakuza titles released in Japan and the west on the same day, and maybe one of them will be Kenzan or Ishin.

[Source: JPGames]

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