Sega is remastering Yakuza 3, 4 and 5, with the first title having launched at gamescom, but not all of the content made the cut, series producer Daisuke Sato tells MCV
Sega is tying up its long-running Yakuza series with the re-release of the middle three entries in the series: Yakuza 3, 4 and 5. These were originally on the PS3 and will be remastered to 1080p and 60fps, with the original PS2 titles already having been remade to modern standards – this will enable fans to enjoy the whole series on the PS4, with Yakuza 0 and Yakuza 6 being native to the platform.
While the updates are largely technical, developer RGG Studio has taken the chance to make some edits to the original games, series producer Daisuke Sato told MCV@gamescom (please note, that this interview was done via a translator): “There are technical issues, but also content issues that we need to change because they don’t fit the modern mindset anymore,” Sato said.
“Personally, I don’t think that the western territories will completely grasp the concept of the Yakuza clans in Japanese culture.”
When asked for examples he continued: “The first game is ten years old, back in the day the perception of the LGBTQ community was different to how it is nowadays. It’s a different topic, with different ways of looking at it and talking about it, and so there are some substories that didn’t fit this modern spirit and so they had to be cut.”
While ten years ago isn’t a huge amount of time, and maybe such content shouldn’t have been there to begin with, it’s good to see the studio rectifying its previous errors.
Speaking of cultural sensibilities we also asked Sato if he thinks differently about his western fanbase as opposed to those who are playing the games in Japan itself.
“Personally, I don’t think that the western territories will completely grasp the concept of the Yakuza clans in Japanese culture,” he replied. “But then I also like the Godfather movies for example, although I don’t entirely grasp the concept of the mafia. But there are human interactions, there are two rival groups, there’s a very nice storyline around it, and I think the same applies for the Yakuza series,” he explained.
However, western audiences are a greater consideration today than they were when the games were first launched: “We’re not putting content in to satisfy western customers, but over time we’ve put more effort into the localisation. To ensure that the localisation is more smooth, more understandable, the games have been re-localised by the teams that worked on Yakuza 0 and Yakuza 6. So western audiences can grasp it better, to make it more enjoyable,” said Sato.
The games release is very much aimed at long-term fans of the series. The initial offering is a digital season pass called The Yakuza Remastered Collection, with players able to download Yakuza 3 immediately, then Yakuza 4 in October and Yakuza 5 in February. And with that a physical special edition of all three games will also be released, and the titles will go on individual digital sale as well.