Sure, it’s on PC now, but the Yakuza series is synonymous with three generations of PlayStation consoles. And for good reason: Nintendo and Microsoft had their chance, but simply weren’t interested in the Japanese gangster saga.
The latest issue of Edge magazine has an enormous interview with series creator Toshihiro Nagoshi, where he reveals for the first time that not only were two of the three big platform manufacturers not keen on his idea for a series, his own paymasters at Sega weren’t either.
Having gone over his own boss’ heads to pitch Yakuza directly to Sega’s new owners Sammy—a move he admits was “highly irregular and quite wrong”—Nagoshi says “I’ve never said this before, but while we released this game with Sony, I’d done presentations about it to Microsoft and Nintendo. Back then they said ‘No we don’t want it’. Now they say, ‘We want it!’ (laughs) They didn’t understand the reason why I created it.”
Part of that reason was a desire to move away from a trend in Japanese game development at the time which was trying to cater to a more global audience.
“...I abandoned the idea of selling worldwide”, he remembers. “Next, I decided I wouldn’t mind if female players didn’t like the game; then that no children were allowed. When I decided all that, the only target left was the Japanese male.”
Sounds crass when laid out like that, but it’s hard to argue with success; the Yakuza games have grown into one of Sega’s most popular and successful assets, to the point where the series’ history is being remastered and re-released at a furious pace to keep up with the growing demand.
There’s way more to the interview, which you can find in the latest issue of Edge magazine.
Thanks Eolz @ Resetera!