Sega has confirmed that Yakuza 4 will be released in western markets in spring of next year – around 12 months after it first hit Japanese retail.
Four is a very powerful number,” the European Sega blog reads. In this particular instalment as not only will you experience the gritty atmosphere of Kiryu Kazuma's experiences, three other characters will also be available to play. Each of them with their own engaging backstory and a gripping interwoven plot.”
Sega took its time making its mind up before committing itself to publishing the series in the West. The first game didn't arrive in Europe until 15 months after its Japanese release. Yakuza 2 was even slower, taking nearly two years to make the journey.
Yakuza 3 was released in Europe in March of this year – 13 months after its Japanese debut. Furthermore, many fans were disappointed to learn that a number of scenes that the publisher felt wouldn't resonate” with the Western audience were removed for the European and American SKU. Sega has pledged not to replicate the cuts in the next game.
Last month a Japanese advert for the fifth instalment seemed to indicate that perhaps Yakuza 5 would be the final game in the series. Maybe that will give Sega time to get to work on Shenmue 3.