Some five to ten years ago, Yakuza was one of those niche video game series you really had to go out of your way for to get new information. However, this week we’ve barely been able to hop on a web browser without spotting Yakuza updates left, right, and centre.
Judgment, Sega and Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio’s lawyer flavoured spin-off finally touches down in the west today with the two companies also teasing a major announcement for their next game in the main Yakuza series. With Kiryu’s story having seemingly wrapped in Yakuza 6: The Song of Life, fans are eagerly waiting to see if new protagonist, Ichiban Kasuga, will be just as likeable.
If that wasn’t enough Yakuza for you, the fifth numbered instalment recently launched in China. To celebrate, an event was held in Taipei where series producer, Daisuke Sato, answered questions about the future games in this now globally popular franchise.
One question asked whether RGG Studio has plans for more “Kiwami” style remakes, to which he responded:
Personally, Yakuza: Kenzan is quite suitable to get a ‘Kiwami’ makeover. Kenzan was the first Yakuza game on the PlayStation 3, and only released in Japan. A lot of Western players mentioned that they want to play this game in English, and Asian players also want the game to release in Chinese. And because Kenzan was an early PS3 game, if it were to receive a simple HD remaster it would feel like it’s missing something, so in my opinion a ‘Kiwami’ version would be better.
Yakuza Kenzan launched exclusively in Japan on the PlayStation 3 back in 2008. Set during the Edo period in 1605 it followed the story of famed swordsman Miyamoto Musashi (aka Kiryu Kazumanosuke, hence the similar appear).
This isn’t to be confused with 2014’s Yakuza Ishin, another Japan-only release which came to both the PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4. Set during the Bakumatsu period of the mid 1800s, it depicts the fall of the samurai as society rapidly modernises. As with Kenzan, Yakuza fans have been pining for English release of this niche spin-off.
Sato-san’s answer is by no means confirmation though Sega has been very active in getting these games localised since Yakuza 5. With Yakuza Kiwami 2 having been a success, it’s not hard to imagine 3, 4, and 5 to potentially follow suit, given that these are only a single console generation old compared to the earliest Yakuza games. Whether Sega will get around to Kenzan and Ishin is uncertain though we’d love to see them.