Yakuza Ishin - PS4 Trailer

Ishin even has, if you’re a fan of the karaoke sequences in the main games, its own historical take:

Ryu Ga Gotoku Ishin! - Okita Singing

These look great! I really want to play them!

Sega and developers Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio have long had multiple reasons to keep these games in Japan. The first was an understandable fear that, if nobody was buying the main Yakuza games, why would they bother with these spinoffs? As that was slowly nullified by the series’ increasing popularity in the West, there remained concerns that much of the vibe of the games would be lost on a Western audience, who wouldn’t be as familiar with the nuances of the time period. (It’s telling here that another Yakuza spinoff, the gun-heavy Dead Souls, was given an English-language release, which says a lot about Sega’s perceptions of the Western market.)

Those have now been joined (or replaced) by technical issues, as we covered just last year, when director Daisuke Sato said:

Personally, I would like for these titles to be localized and enjoyed by our Western fans. We were prioritizing regaining our ground with the series in the West from Yakuza 0, so time just flew by without an ideal time to release these games.

In my opinion, the action is one of the best in the series, so I’d like to localize them if we get the chance. However, the game is also close to 7 years old, so we may need to put in additional work to remake it instead of a simple port, so the decision is a bit more complicated.


Despite the potential in those statements, and the fact the developers have said they’re working on games beyond the Yakuza and Judgment series, we haven’t heard squat on the possibility since. But even if it does take some work—and in the case of Ryu ga Gotoku Kenzan!, some serious work—to get the games up to speed on modern hardware for modern expectations, there’s never been a better time to pull the trigger on that spend.

The Yakuza Kiwami games—remakes of the first two entries in the series—have done well, and that was for two games that had already been available in the West! These spinoffs would be starting from scratch, not to mention appealing beyond the existing Yakuza fanbase to the potentially wider audiences that lapped up the setting of, say, Ghost of Tsushima.


Anyway, I’m not here to demand these games. We’ve all managed to survive the last 15 years without them, and could maybe survive another 15, outside world permitting. I’m just here to maybe give Sega a nudge, a reminder that, hey, we love Yakuza games, but maybe one day we could also love those other Yakuza games, the ones with the swords, as well.