E3 has come and gone. There were incredible highs and some hilarious, technical lows, but I am just not satisfied. Sega had a presence at E3 and did nothing to announce a localization of Yakuza 5 or the HD remasters of Yakuza 1+2. My question is simple: WHERE IS YAKUZA,SEGA?

This past generation hasn’t seen me latch on to a lot of games. I used to fall in love at almost every turn, but I have become extremely cynical. I really dislike seeing recycled games or iterative franchises and even a few decent ideas from this gen (Assassin’s Creed) have become trash in short measure.

When I played the demo for Yakuza 3 back in 2010, my mind was blown. Sega clearly understood that people liked the idea of Shenmue and wanted more. Develop a robust fighting system that feels like a mix between Streets of Rage and Ninja Gaiden and couple that with a dramatic story filled with amazing characters and there was no way I could resist.

Kazuma Kiryu is a legend to me. His face, stoic demeanor, physical prowess and caring personality make him a man I wish I could be. No one scares him and he can destroy everything in his path. He doesn’t enjoy mutilating people, but will do so to protect the ones he loves. The man even runs an orphanage, because children are our future!

He is just fantastic. His moveset includes some incredible feats of martial arts and I love it. I am an avid fan of Hong Kong cinema and love kung fu and chopsocky films like you wouldn’t believe. Finally getting the chance to actively play in one was a dream come true. Not only that, but the Yakuza games have great, tactile feel, so they don’t even appeal to one specific audience.

I can ramble on forever about individual levels or specific moments from the story, but I mainly want to bring an idea to Sega’s mind. Take a page from XSEED and Capcom and localize Yakuza 5 as a PSN download.

When the newest Ace Attorney game was announced for the 3DS, fans weren’t holding out much hope for a stateside release. Capcom failed to make back any kind of money on the Miles Edgeworth game and didn’t even bother localizing its sequel.

Instead of leaving the US in the cold, Capcom figured that putting the game on the 3DS eShop would be a wiser decision. Not only would it not have to waste funds on finding a publisher, but the revenue gained would justify any kind of cost from Nintendo.


XSEED also did this for Acquire’s Way of the Samurai 4. The previous game only managed to sell around 170,000 copies in the US and didn’t even break half a million worldwide. People enjoy that series, though, so why not cater to them?

Tecmo Koei has taken this route with their Dynasty Warriors games for PS3 and Wii U. I’m not quite sure why the 360 versions have discs, but PS3 and Wii U owners are able to play these games without having to scour around for them.

Releasing niche, Japanese titles digitally saves a lot of cash for the developer. Not only that, but without having to share shelf space with gigantic releases at retail, these lesser-known games have a better chance of getting sold.

That might sound contradictory, but can you even find a copy of Katamari Damacy anymore? How about Onimusha: Dawn of Dreams? Those games have practically disappeared from any brick and mortar store and it’s all because they never really sold well.

Placing your game on a digital marketplace will ensure that it will be available for a long time. I suppose if Sega or Capcom or whomever didn’t renew its licensing that the game would disappear, but even getting five years at full price can’t be seen as a negative.

So I implore Sega to consider releasing Yakuza 5 as a digital title. I really and truly want to experience the game. The small demo on the Japanese PSN barely whet my appetite, but I need more. I need more Kazuma in my life.

If I never get to play another Yakuza game, I’m not quite sure how I would view Sega. They teased us by releasing the mediocre Yakuza: Dead Souls in the states. Why end the series stateside run with something so unremarkable?

Do right by us, Sega. Regain your lost image and become a beacon of hope for niche titles in the future. Please.


Written by: Peter Glagowski

  • manic221

    I downloaded the Yakuza 3 demo when it was available on PSN and wasn’t sold on the franchise i only recently picked up the entire franchise (including Dead Souls) and finished 3 and almost done with 4 and i can’t tell you how much i’ve loved these games!

    Some of the best games i’ve played this generation with some of the most realistic and convincing stories and characters that make you want to care for them. Apart from Clementine i can’t think of a more likable young character in a game franchise then Haruka… From 3 to 4 (and the trailers for 5) we’ve seen her grow up and mature (i missed 1 and 2)

    I’m with you on Digital release i would much rather be able to play it then never be able to experience Yakuza 5 because that seems like a much suckier alternative.

  • TechnoSyndrome

    The absence of a Yakuza HD collection localization makes the least sense to me since both of those games are already translated. How much could it actually cost to implement the old script, test it, and then throw it up on PSN?

    • KingSigy

      I’m not sure. You’d think porting those would be insanely easy and cheap, but I don’t work as a publisher.

  • Hajime_Crea

    Being both an avid Ace Attorney fan and Yakuza fan, I know that digital is better than nothing. I’d much rather a physical release of both Ace Attorney 5 and Yakuza 5, but the more I see of both games the more I want them in either form. So if it meant PSN or nothing, I guess I’d go with PSN.

    But I can see where some would have some objections. Digital distribution can be at times unreliable, and isn’t as permanent as physical.

    • KingSigy

      Yeah, I understand that. At some point, the PSN is going down and my copy will be lost to the digital abyss.

  • G

    I’m sorry, but I don’t know why anyone should be happy with just a PSN download. In fact, that would hurt it a bit:

    – First thing: digital distribution is flawed. Say, where can I get my Hurricane Packs for my Ninja Gaiden (2004)? Or Outrun Online Arcade, where is it? In the case of the Hurricane Packs, even if you had paid for them, they’re nowhere to be downloaded right now. This is a good reason for consumers to avoid spending on digital games.

    – Other thing, SEGA isn’t broke or anything (there isn’t even any indication they ever lacked the moneyz); in fact, they’ve showed they can bring to the West games no one wants and still end their fiscal year in a positive note. So, while releasing games everyone asks for and few end up buying might be one of their fears, if they decide to release stuff, they don’t need to keep big names as digital downloads. And to top it off, having a physical product in a store shelf surely beats having a download mixed in with many others for normal people (can’t speak for the nerds, but I bet a bunch of them also prefer it the old way).

    • KingSigy

      I want the game. Having it as a download is better than nothing.

    • manic221

      You can download any games that where once available on XBL on your History queue if you want…

      Digital is better then nothing i’d rather bite the bullet and buy a digital version (project Diva here in the UK) then never be able to play the game.

  • Segaguy

    And this is the one Yakuza title that can impress the casual viewer/consumer, if it would come before 2019

    • KingSigy

      Honestly, I felt 4 was a step in the right direction for the more casual consumer. 5 looks like the Yakuza team are stepping up their storytelling and making everything more engaging.

      Binary Domain should have been their breakout hit, though. That game was well done, had a fairly strong story and even provided a decent multiplayer component. I guess people just don’t like strictly Japanese games.

  • JapaneseGames4lyf

    These are the games I play, I guess I won’t be playing games in the future.

    • KingSigy

      Yeah, you and me both. It really sucks.

  • Kamille

    It’s sad that I found about this franchise so late. Because I remember playing the demo for Yakuza 3 and it was so so so bad but then I found the game really cheap and bought it. When I played the actual game my mind was blown and then I became a huge fan. I bought Yakuza 4 too and while it wasn’t as good as Y3 the game still was very enjoyable. And let me say that Yakuza 5 looks so good! I played the Japanese demo and it was simply amazing. Everything was improved greatly.

    • KingSigy

      I wasn’t as big on Yakuza 4, either, but I still loved the hell out of it. Enough to finish it three times, for what that’s worth.

      Even Dead Souls had a lot of charm, even if the gameplay didn’t match. I just want the chance to even try 5.