We listened to the podcast and he definitely said that the crux of the cost of localising a Japanese game was hiring new voice actors. He even gave us the princely figure of $700,000. Chalk this one down to something lost in translation (despite Sega’s Constantin Hantzopoulos being American) as, and it’s official now, there will be no English voice work in Sega’s upcoming Westernised version of Yakuza 3. This is after the possibility of the NA version of the game being dubbed in English (along with the Japanese audio channel) was suggested, while us purists over here in Europe would just get the normal version with text.
Let’s put this one to bed. If you want to play Yakuza 3 with English voice-overs, we suggest hiring your local drama society to come over to your house, record the subtitled lines as you play the game the first time, and then replay it with their hammy over-acting piped directly into your ears via headphones with the subs option turned off. Or, you know, you could just enjoy the authentic acting the way it was supposed to be experienced. Failing that, learn Japanese. It’s easy*.
*This is a joke. I’ve been studying Japanese for ten years and I still got lost in Akihabara.