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All things Yakuza! - Start with Yakuza Zero


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Edge have an interview with Nagoshi. http://www.edge-online.com/features/an-audience-with-toshihiro-nagoshi/

Yakuza 5 in English not looking likely, Ishin perhaps.

Do you plan to eventually localise Yakuza 5 for the West?

We don’t have a plan for that at the moment. The Yakuza Studio team is a fixed size, and we have to choose between forging ahead with the next game or localising the one that just came out. This time the size of the game was so large, so rather than localising that game we chose to focus our manpower on the new game. But we get asked about it a lot. We get lots of complaints!

When you localised Yakuza 4, you removed the Answer X Answer pop-culture quiz mini-game because you felt Westerners wouldn’t know the answers. Since Isshin has a historical setting, won’t that be even harder to localise?

Well, even many Japanese people might not know the history. But we understand when we see a game set in Ancient Rome, you know? So long as you reach them with the human drama, suits or kimono, it doesn’t matter. Japan or overseas, I’m not worried about that.

So Isshin could possibly be localised someday?

I’d definitely love to reach the whole world, haha, if we have the manpower and the money to do it.

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Well that succintly explains things, the actual dev team has to help handle the localisation and they felt the wages and time would be better spent working on a new game instead for a better return, a practical example of opportunity cost in a nutshell.

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Well that succintly explains things, the actual dev team has to help handle the localisation and they felt the wages and time would be better spent working on a new game instead for a better return, a practical example of opportunity cost in a nutshell.

and old fashioned production techniques as I was talking about above.

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and old fashioned production techniques as I was talking about above.

It's not as if Nagoshi hasn't worked on a brand new IP game where he managed to get all language versions out in a short time window, I suppose the difference being that they designed that game to be a globally appealing product and developed it as such, the Japanese are perfectly capable of doing it for games they expect to sell well globally.

Take-Two haven't released Grand Theft Auto V in Japan yet, despite them establishing an office there and no longer sub-licensing it to Capcom to handle, I suppose they will manage to reduce the time delay for this release compared to past versions.

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Take-Two haven't released Grand Theft Auto V in Japan yet, despite them establishing an office there and no longer sub-licensing it to Capcom to handle, I suppose they will manage to reduce the time delay for this release compared to past versions.

But they have already released it in multiple regions & languages simultaneously. My point, as before, is Sega could treat Yakuza as first class property and do these things, they never have and take so long to do anything that to use those sales as an indicator isn't reliable.

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Even Korea got it day and date, but Japan gets the shaft for some reason.

The way I look at it, and probably the way the Japanese publishers also look at it, is that they make a very culturally-centric product designed entirely for domestic consumption, they spend a certain limited budget to get it out of the door, wait to recoup the investment and then decide if they want a bit extra on the side by exporting said culturally-specific product.

Doing multi-lang while in development increases the budget upfront, while historical demand for J-product for export is demonstrably low for the vast majority of it and nowhere near as lucrative as domestic consumption, much like demand for the majority of even AAA Western fare is low in Japan, which is why those games get sub-licensed to some small time Japanese publisher to take on the localisation risk and few Western publishers bother to do a Japanese version of their games directly or within their global launch window, despite Japan ostensibly being the 2nd largest games market.

Even the 2 biggest third-party games in Japan, despite the backing of platform holders and a long release history are still about as popular as a mediocre selling AAA Western game from a non-premier league publisher in Western markets, no wonder they don't feel in any rush to do quick global releases for even those games, let alone games which barely make financial sense. The problem is a two way street, and it basically, like most things in the games industry, boils down to one thing.

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I think with GTAV (which comes out next Thursday here, I think. Getting it for a birthday present so I can't buy it till November!) part of the delay is also in censorship and changes needed to enforce it. For instance, I saw an instragram style GTAV snapshot of a dead dude's penis on GAF I think which looked like it was from free roaming play, and there was a cock in Gay Tony or Lost and Damned too, but as lovers of Japanese porn will know you can't display a rare knob here legally. The Japanese CERO folks seem to check all this sort of shite really carefully and have loads of weird rules. They don't seem to have any problem with torture for instance because I think the "put glass in the guy's mouth and then punch him on the chin" part of Black Ops 1 is still in it in Japan, but they don't like some other stuff like decapitation for some reason. If I remember right, you could still get the dildo sword in Saints Row 3 but it wasn't allowed to wobble because that would be obscene so it looked like a baseball bat.

Anyway, as much as I like the Yakuza series and have championed it, it does make a kind of sense which games they bring across and spend time and money on. However they have always screwed up the timing and the approach. One major place in particular where I think they have missed a trick and are about to do so twice is with the samurai ones. Both of these games have come near the beginning of a new console generation and therefore had a market who were ready for something, anything to play. Added to that now Assassins Creed and such games have shown people's interest in historical adventure games, even or especially in periods they might not know much about, and various games like Demon's or Dark Souls have shown interest in old school gameplay vs slightly clunky mechanics and presentation.

Sega have never been able to make a good fist of how to present this series to appeal to people and actually seem scared of it's biggest appeal points all along the way. Like in this case, instead of going "Oh well it's a game about samurai and the Meiji revolution and I don't think other people would be interested in it" they could have debuted PS4 gameplay of a beautiful Kyoto and a dynamic trailer that was all "Be a samurai in ancient Kyoto! East vs West! Craft swords, do missions, farm your land!" etc while showing the nice effects and interesting gameplay. Perhaps with a name change, I never liked the Yakuza name. Anyway, they could have actually had a big impact with it, especially with a timely release. There was a lot of interest after the first footage of Ryu Ga Gotoku 3 came out online because it looked so good, but it died off because it took so long to release.abroad I think but they seem to have just totally given up so, well, so be it. But I mean Assassins Creed Black Flag, a game kind of spun out of one interesting feature from the rather lacklustre ACIII, is getting a lot of attention and focus and screen time although it doesn't seem to offer much new whereas RGG would actually give a new kind of gameplay to many people if they tried it. If they release it in the West a year or two from now it is totally pointless, it will be overtaken by everything else that will come out in between and they will again use the bad sales as the reason why they can't bring the games over.

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Well if that 'insider' from NeoGAF is right, they might give it one final go with Ishin. I dunno whether I'd say there was frothing demand for games with a historical Japanese setting, compared to historical Western settings, been plenty of Japanese games based on their own history which have had Western releases over the years, none of which have moved the needle. Quite a few of them were pretty good too.

I think we just have to accept the fact that pure unadulterated Japanese games are just generally not that popular in the West, rather like Japanese cinema or music.

If it had behaved like FROM Software's spiritual reboot of their King's Field series, we wouldn't even be having this conversation. That game just proves timing and other stuff doesn't matter if you have a product which appeals to Westerners, pure word of mouth will take you to success. Been going from strength to strength ever since.

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Well I never did, could or would use the phrase "frothing demand" to describe games with a historical Japanese setting. However there wasn't a large market for Third Crusade set games or anything but Assassin's Creed did OK. If you don't believe timing and presentation matter then I guess the points ends there after what you said about Demon/Dark Souls of all things, which have really benefited from both. We know for instance how much everyone was playing King's Field games and raving about them.

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The timing I was referring to was the assumption that if only these games were published day and date and with lots of advertising, they'd be successful, Demon's Souls had a delayed release through a niche publisher (and didn't arrive in Europe for over 16 months after initial launch, despite all the buzz and being originally funded by the Platform holder and an exclusive to boot) and highly positive word of mouth demonstrates that isn't necessary if the underlying product appeals, which resulted in the sequel being pinched by a much larger publisher and being published globally within a typically Western release window.

This series has had 5 localised installments, word of mouth should have taken it to success by now if it appealed widely, clearly it doesn't to enough people for them to move to a global release plan or even bother to localise it at all. PSO has ended with the same fate.

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If they were going to bring a HD version to the west it wold be the PS3 release. That's been out for almost a year in Japan and I don't see them suddenly deciding to release them here now. The later Wii U version didn't even do well in Japan, and the Wii U isn't really a viable platform for a localised Yakuza game when the PS3 isn't even getting them here.

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The timing I was referring to was the assumption that if only these games were published day and date and with lots of advertising, they'd be successful,

Okay, I can see why you think that's what I'm arguing but I'm not. I'm arguing that doing the translation during development, would allow for a more timely release which would give them more chance of success rather than translating it at some later date and finally releasing it a year or two later. You bring up GTA not getting a day and date release, sure it's not but they've already localised it. The fact that interview states the dev team would have to do work on it just shows they're still taking a very old fashioned approach to parts of the development. It's not just the localisation it's the way Sega treats this series for the west, everything the do sends a message of you shouldn't be interested in this. All their sales data comes from treating a certain way, I'm suggesting they might get different results treating it another way.

Their augment is it's simply not worth the time & money to translate it (I argue it would cost less doing it during dev) because it doesn't sell enough outside Japan. Fable 2 sold next to nothing in Japan compared to the rest of the world, yet we still translated and release Fable 3 there. Maybe we're the morons here, but we didn't cut off a market completely.

I'm frustrated I won't get to play this game because of this, I can understand the business argument but that doesn't mean I have to like it and not look for something that could change the situation. What I don't understand is people saying "well, that's just the way it is", that's just defeatist - look at how it was made, look at how it was marketed, etc, etc there is something that can be improved.

Also Demon's Souls is pretty much a textbook outlier. Sure it may have taken 6 months to hit North America and a year to hit Europe (I imported a US version, considered importing a Japanese one), but Dark Souls released in North America & Europe within a month of its Japanese launch.

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Their augment is it's simply not worth the time & money to translate it (I argue it would cost less doing it during dev) because it doesn't sell enough outside Japan. Fable 2 sold next to nothing in Japan compared to the rest of the world, yet we still translated and release Fable 3 there. Maybe we're the morons here, but we didn't cut off a market completely.

I'm frustrated I won't get to play this game because of this, I can understand the business argument but that doesn't mean I have to like it and not look for something that could change the situation. What I don't understand is people saying "well, that's just the way it is", that's just defeatist - look at how it was made, look at how it was marketed, etc, etc there is something that can be improved.

Also Demon's Souls is pretty much a textbook outlier. Sure it may have taken 6 months to hit North America and a year to hit Europe (I imported a US version, considered importing a Japanese one), but Dark Souls released in North America & Europe within a month of its Japanese launch.

Well your game was a flagship game for a platform holder, you have certain strategic requirements to grow markets which a licensee doesn't have to concern themselves with, they are business motivated, and after 4 tries and one offshoot, they've looked at the numbers and decided throwing more effort and money at the problem doesn't make sense (this maybe a moot sentence if Ishin does indeed get localised)

Microsoft Japan lured Yukio Futatsugi to develop an exclusive for them and then didn't bother trying to localise it, despite that being what he was expecting at the time. Never even got a Euro release.

I can see your position, but I think there is a fundamental game appeal problem with the series, much like Monster Hunter or Dragon Quest, biggest selling console movers in Japan, significantly less interest outside Japan. I highlighted the Souls series as something which demonstrates that if your product appeals to Westerners, Japanese developers will make the effort to make it multilang and release it the same as a typical Western dev game, and that didn't take multiple tries to take off in popularity and become financially attractive to localise.

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  • 1 month later...
  • 1 month later...

PS4 version sounds like it will be taking advantage of the extra grunt to deliver a typical PC port, 1080p/60fps being the assumption based on this comparison screen capture, where they seem to have gimped the PS3 version, which seems par for the course with official Japanese HD remake comparisons, make the old version look as bad as reasonable.

B05DfiF.jpg

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Yes, that screen looks 60FPS to me. Also, the left pic is from the PS2 version and the right one from the PS3 version, I presume? It does have a lot of nasty jaggies for a PS3 game though so maybe they're both PS2.

(Don't mind me, I'm still angry about Yakuza 5 - Sega you bastards :( )

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  • 3 weeks later...

I've put a few hours into PSP Yakuza 1. It's quite good, although it doesn't move all that smoothly. If you have played Resident Evil 2, then moving around the city in this is done in the same way - every few steps, it pauses and changes angle.

But the fighting is great fun, as are the minigames.

There are lots of barely skippable cut scenes. By barely skippable, I mean you can speed up one person talking, but as soon as speaker changes, you have to press the speed up button again. This is a little frustrating.

Your character is an absolute shit in the game, which makes me not care in the slightest if he gets his head kicked in, whereas I really liked Akiyama and Saejima in Yakuza 4.

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