Having previously confirmed a March release for its Shenmue-like Yakuza 3 in Europe and the UK, Sega has now nailed down a specific release date for the adventure brawler – March 12th.
The game performed strongly in Japan upon its release early last year, selling 300k copies in its first week.
For a long time Sega indicated that Yakuza 3 would never receive a Western release, but persistent rumours lead to a change of heart late last year. Localisation costs have been kept to a minimum, though, with the game opting for subtitles over the original Japanese voice track rather than an English dub.
The game combines both a sophisticated fighting mechanic and a narrative-heavy narrative involving the Japanese mafia – otherwise known as yakuza. Many regard it as the spiritual successor to cult Dreamcast series Shenmue.
While massive in Japan, the Yakuza series has always been of niche interest to gamers in the UK. The first title, released in the UK on PS2 almost a year after it hit Japanese shelves, was critically applauded but enjoyed moderate success on the UK High Street.
Its sequel, Yakuza 2, hit UK PS2s in late 2008 – almost two years after it debuted in Japan. By that time, however, the PS3 was making waves and core gamer’s interest in the PS2 was dwindling.
Yakuza 4 is due to be released on PS3 in Japan in March.