Yakuza 5 is scheduled for release in Japan next week and the developers at Sega are in full PR mode. Executive producer Toshihiro Nagoshi and producer Masayoshi Yokoyama spoke to Weekly Famitsu in a pre-release interview to talk about the latest in the Yakuza franchise.
As the 5th numbered Yakuza game, the development has had plenty of experience in making these games, but as the story gets grander, the development team has been under a lot of pressure to up the experience and outdo the previous games. Indeed, Yakuza 5 looks to be the most voluminous game in the series so far. "Honestly, 6 months ago I was wondering, ‘Will we even be able to properly release a game with this much content?'" said Yokoyama. "There was a time when I thought, ‘it might not all fit?' but thanks to the efforts of the staff, it all came together."
In order to make the game experience as smooth and enjoyable as possible, the development team took extra care. One of the biggest hurdles they faced was finding ways to decrease the load time to maintain the players' immersion. "Our goal [in development] this time was to shorten the loading times. As a result, I feel the entire game pace has gone up." explained Yokoyama. "Compared to other Yakuza games, you get a more dense play experience in the same amount of time." Nagoshi added, "Starting with load times, we paid the closest attention to the "courtesy" to the user in the game's development."
The game overall is indeed dense. Yokoyama himself took 72 hours to clear the game on a test run. Nevertheless, the developers focused on making the time spent playing the game as enjoyable as possible. "More than anything else, I want people to experience the story to its conclusion." Nagoshi stated. "I believe our true goal is to have 100% of players finish the game."
The developers placed a great deal of confidence in their latest game and hopefully it will live up to everything we've seen and heard. But until next week, we'll just have to take these gentlemen's word for it. "Fans of the Yakuza series should be able to play the game and feel, 'The Yakuza has truly come this far.' And I think that first time players will be able to pick up the game and think 'I never realized there were games like this.'" said Nagoshi. "Please, have faith in us and give it a try."
Yakuza 5 is scheduled for release in Japan on December 6th. No western release date has yet been announced.
Incidentally, the Japanese subtitle for Yakuza 5 is, "Yume, Kanaeshi Mono" (夢、叶えし者). Translated, it means essentially, "One who makes dreams come true." Maybe the English title of the game will be, Yakuza 5: The Dreammaker…