Yakuza creator talks Ishin, Vita cross-play, smart phone development, testing the waters on Wii U, & localization

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At the Tokyo Game Show, Edge had a chance to interview Yakuza creator Toshihiro Nagoshi. They talked about everything from the upcoming Yakuza Ishin’s size to smart phone development! Please go over to Edge to check out the full interview, though we’ll be telling you about the more news worthy quotes here.

When asked about the size of Ishin, Nagoshi compared it favorably to Kenzan, saying:

“It will be a bit smaller than our recent games, but a lot bigger than the Kyoto in Kenzan. Also, the map itself might not seem large but there will be a lot of rooms inside the buildings that you can enter, so the total will still be many times bigger.”

Nagoshi also talked about the purpose of the Wii U versions of Yakuza 1 & 2 HD. Apparently the port was an affordable way for the Yakuza team to test the waters for potential future Yakuza development on the Wii U. Of course, like most things to do with Wii U these days, it did not go well:

“The PlayStation format has a lot of users, so we knew that our audience is there. With the HD versions, we had already made the game once for PS2 and then in HD, so it was quite easy to port it to Wii U, whereas [porting] a whole new title is a bit tricky. I was interested in the Wii U format and curious about how many Wii U users would be interested in the Yakuza series, and the only way to find that out was to try releasing something. It was an experiment. But the sales weren’t great.”

Did you know Ishin was getting a Vita version? I sure didn’t. Apparently it’s happening, it will be available at the same time as the other versions of the game, and it will have cross play and potentially even cross buy:

“We will release a Vita version that will work with Crossplay, but we haven’t decided the business model yet, like whether it will be a free download or not. For now, we can only confirm that it will be available at launch and compatible with both the PS3 and PS4 versions of Yakuza: Ishin. We’re still worrying about the details…”

When asked about potentially making a game for smart phones, Nagoshi said he was interested, but that there were some issues:

“Yes, I would. That’s the biggest install base, after all. But each device has different spec, so it’s a nightmare to develop for those. Having consoles that have a standard spec is convenient for us.”

When asked about Yakuza 5 localization, Nagoshi said that it was a choice between either working on that or working on Ishin, and he decided that due to the sheer size of 5, it would be better to devote that man power to a new game instead:

“We don’t have a plan for that at the moment. The Yakuza Studio team is a fixed size, and we have to choose between forging ahead with the next game or localising the one that just came out. This time the size of the game was so large, so rather than localising that game we chose to focus our manpower on the new game. But we get asked about it a lot. We get lots of complaints!”

Finally, when asked about the localization of Ishin, Nagoshi said it wasn’t a matter of will, but money and manpower:

“I’d definitely love to reach the whole world, haha, if we have the manpower and the money to do it.”

We didn’t post everything. Please check out the actual interview for everything else.

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28 responses to “Yakuza creator talks Ishin, Vita cross-play, smart phone development, testing the waters on Wii U, & localization

  1. Trippled says:

    why ask about iOS games? sega has enough of those. yakuza is their console game series

    also their localization issues seems really dire, its really a shame

  2. DCGX says:

    Considering the PSP iterations of Yakuza never made it here, I would venture that neither will any Vita Yakuza games. Poop.

  3. SuperSonicEX says:

    The localization issue is a bummer, but can’t Atlus take on the work now?

  4. Ben says:

    So Nagoshi decided to abandon his Western fans so they can develop the next Yakuza cash-in instead?

    Classy.

    Of course he gets “lots of complaints” he’s basically telling his Western fans that he doesn’t care about them.

    • Aki-at says:

      And not developing Ishin for their core audience would amount to telling them he doesn’t care about the majority of Ryu Ga Gotoku fans.

      It can work both ways.

  5. Aki-at says:

    I find it odd that Nagoshi would give a English based press outlet an interview regarding his latest Japanese title. I know he use to write columns for EDGE but it still seems a little bit strange.

  6. Ben says:

    “And not developing Ishin for their core audience would amount to telling them he doesn’t care about the majority of Ryu Ga Gotoku fans.

    It can work both ways.”
    ———–

    I don’t understand that argument at all…Ishin would still be coming, maybe just a few months later. He wouldn’t even have to say that the game is delayed because the team was localizing Yakuza 5, the release date could simply have been a few months later.

    It shouldn’t be a requirement that a new Yakuza game be released on the same exact day every year…and in fact it hasn’t always been. It should be a requirement though when you release an entry in a series that you allow all your fans to play it. Not just say the equivalent of “well, I don’t care about the Western fans who have already invested countless hours into this story.”

    • Aki-at says:

      “I don’t understand that argument at all…Ishin would still be coming, maybe just a few months later. He wouldn’t even have to say that the game is delayed because the team was localizing Yakuza 5, the release date could simply have been a few months later”

      The fact you think it could only delay Ishin by a few months is wrong, especially considering Yakuza 5 is the longest game in the series history and double that of any other Yakuza title, that’s not going to delay the game by a “few months”

      And Opportunity cost is a real problem for companies and Nagoshi just stated what companies consider when releasing titles. It doesn’t mean he does not care about Western fans (Which SEGA Europe’s President has gone to say Yakuza 5 is too big for SEGA to make any sort of profit off of) but the fanbase here is too small to risk missing the release of the Playstation 4 and/or not enough income would be generated from releasing it here

      “It shouldn’t be a requirement that a new Yakuza game be released on the same exact day every year…and in fact it hasn’t always been. It should be a requirement though when you release an entry in a series that you allow all your fans to play it. Not just say the equivalent of “well, I don’t care about the Western fans who have already invested countless hours into this story.”

      That is not a requirement, its an entitlement.

      And he didn’t say that, he had to assess the opportunity cost and he took the better option. 50,000 fans in the US? That makes niche titles like Etrian seem like Halo.

  7. Ben says:

    That’s not what he said at all, he said he felt the team would be better served rushing into development of a new game in the series rather than spending time making sure all fans could play the previous version.

    “And he didn’t say that, he had to assess the opportunity cost and he took the better option. 50,000 fans in the US? That makes niche titles like Etrian seem like Halo.”

    That’s not what Nagoshi’s saying. I’m not sure where you’re getting any of the rest of this from. I’m going by his quotes in this article. He specifically states that localization didn’t happen because the team wanted to jump into a new installment right away.

    I’m also not sure why you’re defending this decision, which is an obvious slap in the face to you, a Western Yakuza fan.

    If it really is because Sega won’t allow a localization (therefore, Nagoshi’s not being truthful here) he could at least pretend to be disappointed by the decision.

  8. Aki-at says:

    “That’s not what he said at all, he said he felt the team would be better served rushing into development of a new game in the series rather than spending time making sure all fans could play the previous version”

    That’s what one would describe as an opportunity cost. He goes on to say later in the very same interview he would like to reach the world if he had the man power and money for Ishin (Which is a smaller game than Yakuza 5) which implies he would like to reach a worldwide audience.

    “That’s not what Nagoshi’s saying. I’m not sure where you’re getting any of the rest of this from. I’m going by his quotes in this article. He specifically states that localization didn’t happen because the team wanted to jump into a new installment right away.”

    He says it didn’t happen because they don’t have the manpower and later throws in money as an issue why Ishin isn’t being localised.

    “I’m also not sure why you’re defending this decision, which is an obvious slap in the face to you, a Western Yakuza fan.”

    Because I know Yakuza gets outsold by Persona games on Vita by over twice the amount that I think it was surprising SEGA even bothered to bring any game past Yakuza 2.

    Just because I do not personally like a decision does not mean I cannot understand and appreciate the reasoning behind.

  9. Ben says:

    I haven’t read the rest of the article, just what was posted. If you’re saying that Nuckles left out major details or painted a misleading picture, then okay, it’s possible, I’ll read the whole article right after this post.

    But I’m going by what I see here, which is Nagoshi saying, explicitly, that Yakuza 5 not coming West is a result of the team wanting to jump into releasing a new installment in Japan as soon as possible. That’s what he says, I’m reading it right here.

    “Just because I do not personally like a decision does not mean I cannot understand and appreciate the reasoning behind.”

    Relatively speaking, Sega doesn’t spend a lot of money on these localizations. They don’t do any marketing, they don’t dub them in English, they don’t typically make any major gameplay changes…essentially, they’re translating text. And only story text…the environmental text (signs on buildings, etc) remain in their original language, so it’s not even like they have to majorly re-code the game.

    Given how few games Sega releases in the West, I feel like it would be a nice service to their fans to make sure that one of their few major recurring IPs gets to be played by its Western fanbase. They may take a slight loss (and then again, maybe not) but Sega-Sammy seems to be making plenty of money…

    edit; yeah, I read the whole article. While I see some of what you’re mentioning, I don’t see much that directly contradicts Nagoshi’s quotes posted here…which is that, basically, he *wanted* Ishin to be a PS4 launch title, which resulted in the team fast-tracking it into development, which resulted in Western gamers getting shafted for Yakuza 5. That’s what I take from it. Maybe you see it differently? I dunno man, lol.

    • Aki-at says:

      “I haven’t read the rest of the article, just what was posted. If you’re saying that Nuckles left out major details or painted a misleading picture, then okay, it’s possible, I’ll read the whole article right after this post.

      But I’m going by what I see here, which is Nagoshi saying, explicitly, that Yakuza 5 not coming West is a result of the team wanting to jump into releasing a new installment in Japan as soon as possible. That’s what he says, I’m reading it right here.”

      Opportunity cost = the cost of time in the most basic possible term.

      If Ryu Ga Gotoku studio were developing Yakuza 5 for Western release, they lose an x amount of time to develop the newest entry, missing the Playstation 4 launch and delaying releasing a game to 90%+ of its fanbase.

      “Relatively speaking, Sega doesn’t spend a lot of money on these localizations. They don’t do any marketing, they don’t dub them in English, they don’t typically make any major gameplay changes…essentially, they’re translating text. And only story text…the environmental text (signs on buildings, etc) remain in their original language, so it’s not even like they have to majorly re-code the game.”

      You had to a) pay for translators (If they even still have them) b) pay for licenses of the voice actors c) pay licenses for all the licensed locations and products d) QA perhaps the most extensive game in the series history.

      You are not about to test just one portion of the game and think the text works there, job done! they’re going to have go through the whole game again and make sure everything works, that is a lot of work and not something done in a few months.

      “Given how few games Sega releases in the West, I feel like it would be a nice service to their fans to make sure that one of their few major recurring IPs gets to be played by its Western fanbase. They may take a slight loss (and then again, maybe not) but Sega-Sammy seems to be making plenty of money…”

      SEGA is a capitalist company, not your friend, I like them because of the products they make. Besides that “nice” service could be considered bringing any title after Yakuza 2 only sold 25,000 at retail in the US. Any other major publisher would have dumped the series long before now so I’ve been expecting this since 2008.

  10. Hitrax says:

    Well it’s not be good news the past two days from now (as of the 30th Sept), Sega has now shut down all non-Japanese Yakuza sites except one Dead Souls mini site and a few forums,

    this can only logically mean one thing, that Sega is trying to make the west forget about the series all together and has no intention of ever localising Ryu Ga Gotoku 5 (Yakuza 5) for the western markets.

  11. Ben says:

    “Opportunity cost = the cost of time in the most basic possible term.
    If Ryu Ga Gotoku studio were developing Yakuza 5 for Western release, they lose an x amount of time to develop the newest entry, missing the Playstation 4 launch and delaying releasing a game to 90%+ of its fanbase.”

    All it would really entail is a text translation. Certainly that isn’t something that the entire team has to be a part of? I know there’s some other work that goes into it, as you’ve illustrated in your post, but typically it’s not something an entire team is a part of.

    “You are not about to test just one portion of the game and think the text works there, job done! they’re going to have go through the whole game again and make sure everything works, that is a lot of work and not something done in a few months. ”

    Atlus, the company Sega just purchased, seems to localize their games, (including casting English voice actors,) in just a few months. So I’m not sure why a company the size of Sega-Sammy should be incapable of that.

    “SEGA is a capitalist company, not your friend, I like them because of the products they make. Besides that “nice” service could be considered bringing any title after Yakuza 2 only sold 25,000 at retail in the US. Any other major publisher would have dumped the series long before now so I’ve been expecting this since 2008.”

    Yes, Sega’s a capitalist company. Fair enough. My view on it however is that it isn’t a smart business choice for them to fade into irrelevance, but that’s what’ll eventually happen when Sega continues to withhold their best games from their fanbase.

    • Aki-at says:

      “All it would really entail is a text translation. Certainly that isn’t something that the entire team has to be a part of? I know there’s some other work that goes into it, as you’ve illustrated in your post, but typically it’s not something an entire team is a part of.”

      If Nagoshi is talking about a scenario where one will delay the other, it would indicate that a portion of the team is needed to ensure Ishin is released as soon as possible.

      “Atlus, the company Sega just purchased, seems to localize their games, (including casting English voice actors,) in just a few months. So I’m not sure why a company the size of Sega-Sammy should be incapable of that. ”

      Most Atlus games are not the size of Yakuza and the ones that are actually sell decent amounts. For comparison, the Persona title that came out on the Vita has done more than Yakuza Dead Souls, Yakuza 4 and Yakuza 3 combined at retail in the US. Shin Megami Tensei IV sold more than the lifetime of any Yakuza game except Yakuza 1 in one month.

      That and I’m sure Atlus already have these games planned in advance to release for the Western market considering the sales of their respective series.

      “Yes, Sega’s a capitalist company. Fair enough. My view on it however is that it isn’t a smart business choice for them to fade into irrelevance, but that’s what’ll eventually happen when Sega continues to withhold their best games from their fanbase.”

      SEGA has been more popular now thanks to their shift into the PC centric business than they have for the majority of this generation.

      And no, the traditional SEGA fanbase is not some extremely large group of people, nothing indicates that minus Sonic the Hedgehog. It may have been in the early 90s but the fanbase has dwindled away by the beginning of their transition into a third party.

  12. Joon says:

    Sega is piss poor when it comes to localisation, if a small little niche company like Atlus can manage it easily with no real problems, then why can’t a huge mega international Capitalist company like Sega do it?
    They just purchased Atlus as a parent company and all of Atlus, along with all of Index100’s properties, are now firmly all under Sega’s wings, it seems that it’s not enough for Sega to fuck up their own collective internationalist localisations for their own projects, now they are likely going to do the same with Atlus’s projects too, it’s like Sega just bought them up to do that on purpose, they’ve already just shut down nearly every site for one of their biggest and best franchises since Shenmue (Yakuza), completely closing the franchise to the western market and denying us the future of the series likely. It’s hard to stay motivated when they do stuff like this, hopefully Sega has a good reason for doing this, though I wont hold my breathe, purposely to avoid bitter disapointment, I do speak from experience on this unfortunately, and I doubt I’m the only one…

    • Aki-at says:

      “Sega is piss poor when it comes to localisation, if a small little niche company like Atlus can manage it easily with no real problems, then why can’t a huge mega international Capitalist company like Sega do it?”

      First of all, it is true that Atlus is small compared to SEGA. But the reason they do it is not because of the goodness of their hearts but their games actually sell compared to SEGA.

      “They just purchased Atlus as a parent company and all of Atlus, along with all of Index100′s properties, are now firmly all under Sega’s wings, it seems that it’s not enough for Sega to fuck up their own collective internationalist localisations for their own projects, now they are likely going to do the same with Atlus’s projects too, it’s like Sega just bought them up to do that on purpose”

      It remains to be seen. SEGA Japan, SEGA America and SEGA Europe operate independently from each other so its not like its a decision between all three to screw up every SEGA fan. They just pick and choose between themselves what gets localised.

      But I’ll wait on Atlus before passing my judgement. SEGA Sammy have shown they usually leave companies allow that their purchase and Atlus are not owned directly by SEGA Japan etc but a seperate subsidary so they could still forge their own path.

      “They’ve already just shut down nearly every site for one of their biggest and best franchises since Shenmue (Yakuza), completely closing the franchise to the western market and denying us the future of the series likely.”

      Before you take this the wrong way I will just say Yakuza is my favourite franchise and Yakuza 5 has become my favourite game of all time.

      But Yakuza is neither SEGA’s best/biggest via critical acclaim or sales numbers. It does extremely well in it’s native country but that’s about it. The series had its chance though to hit those lofty heights with the original and 3 I feel but both times SEGA West deemed it wasn’t worth marketing and I fear that boat has well and truly sailed.

      “It’s hard to stay motivated when they do stuff like this, hopefully Sega has a good reason for doing this, though I wont hold my breathe, purposely to avoid bitter disapointment, I do speak from experience on this unfortunately, and I doubt I’m the only one…”

      I know the feeling, sadly I’ve come to accept we will never see a Western Yakuza title again or that SEGA Japan’s title may never have another major hit barring Sonic again, but it was great whilst it lasted.

  13. Ben says:

    “If Nagoshi is talking about a scenario where one will delay the other, it would indicate that a portion of the team is needed to ensure Ishin is released as soon as possible.”

    Then why hadn’t they done it while developing the game? Or have another group work on it while developing the game? Doesn’t Sega have an ENTIRE STUDIO devoted to nothing but Yakuza? And somehow translating a game is too time-consuming for them?

    “Most Atlus games are not the size of Yakuza and the ones that are actually sell decent amounts. For comparison, the Persona title that came out on the Vita has done more than Yakuza Dead Souls, Yakuza 4 and Yakuza 3 combined at retail in the US. Shin Megami Tensei IV sold more than the lifetime of any Yakuza game except Yakuza 1 in one month.”

    Atlus games typically fall into the Japanese RPG genre and thus are often incredibly text-heavy. Probably moreso than Yakuza, I’d say. And again, those games are actually dubbed.

    Persona is a major franchise. It’s very popular. But that isn’t Atlus’ only franchise. They have smaller franchises as well that aren’t gigantic-selling games over here. But they continually release them over here because they do have their fans, they keep their community/fanbase engaged in their work, and therefore more cued in and likely to buy their future work. I can assure you that Atlus would have localized Phantasy Star Nova, for example.

    It’s fairly clear that the Western fanbase is far from a priority for Nagoshi. I certainly won’t buy whatever his next “attempting to be macho” Western shooter is, given his attitude here.

    Yakuza is obviously not a smash hit in the West but the fanbase is quite evidently there and passionate about the game and (in my opinion) the least Nagoshi can do is *pretend* to be disappointed that they won’t get to play Yakuza 5. But, nope, onto his next paycheck!

    “SEGA has been more popular now thanks to their shift into the PC centric business than they have for the majority of this generation.”

    Sega has bought out a couple popular series’. Meanwhile, as you put it, “traditional” Sega fans are getting older. Audiences for the PC franchises they now own are getting older. These aren’t franchises that are by and large acquiring new fans. When these fanbases leave gaming Sega will have little left in the way of a fanbase.

  14. Aki-at says:

    “Then why hadn’t they done it while developing the game? Or have another group work on it while developing the game? Doesn’t Sega have an ENTIRE STUDIO devoted to nothing but Yakuza? And somehow translating a game is too time-consuming for them?”

    Why should SEGA Japan bother with Western localisation? That’s the point of SEGA West, which had a localisation team until they decided to focus on 5 core franchises.

    “Atlus games typically fall into the Japanese RPG genre and thus are often incredibly text-heavy. Probably moreso than Yakuza, I’d say. And again, those games are actually dubbed.”

    Yakuza is incredibly text heavy, how much of the game do you actually play? Certainly Persona has a lot of text but Persona games sell triple what current Yakuza titles do. The fact that the one on Vita has sold more than 3, 4 and Dead Souls is telling.

    But this is about Yakuza 5 which is more than double the size of the longest Yakuza title. 30 hour long story campaign, 5 different cities and has more missions than any Yakuza titles before it.

    Stop comparing Atlus games to Yakuza, the sales are massively in favour to Atlus. Surely you can argue about the marketing, but the hard facts point that Atlus has great business reason to bring the titles over, SEGA does not.

    “Persona is a major franchise. It’s very popular. But that isn’t Atlus’ only franchise. They have smaller franchises as well that aren’t gigantic-selling games over here. But they continually release them over here because they do have their fans, they keep their community/fanbase engaged in their work, and therefore more cued in and likely to buy their future work. I can assure you that Atlus would have localized Phantasy Star Nova, for example. ”

    This has nothing to do with what we are talking about. Marketing is an issue SEGA has had with the Yakuza series since day one and localisation of Phantasy Star Nova is not upto Nagoshi to decide so I have no idea what you’re getting at here, we’re talking about Yakuza.

    And point out those Atlus titles that sell relatively little numbers that are the size, or bigger, than Yakuza? Chances are they outsold Yakuza significantly. If you’re going to use stuff like 3D Dot Heroes or Catherine, don’t, they outsold Yakuza.

    “It’s fairly clear that the Western fanbase is far from a priority for Nagoshi. I certainly won’t buy whatever his next “attempting to be macho” Western shooter is, given his attitude here.”

    The Western fanbase is less than 10% of Yakuza’s fanbase, of course its not going to be priority. It’s like getting annoyed that not all Sonic games are released in Japan, the Japanese fanbase is not a priority for SEGA/Iizuka.

    Fair enough not to support his future titles, but it seems like a strange decision not to support it because he is not super disappointed about one title not being brought here.

    “Yakuza is obviously not a smash hit in the West but the fanbase is quite evidently there and passionate about the game and (in my opinion) the least Nagoshi can do is *pretend* to be disappointed that they won’t get to play Yakuza 5. But, nope, onto his next paycheck!”

    Of course he is going to move onto his next project, far as the team thinks it’s that their job is done. He does want to reach a global audience as he indicated further but it is what it is. He’s not going to be disappointed because far as he is concerned, the team are still able to make the games they want for a market that is more willing to try their products.

    “Sega has bought out a couple popular series’. Meanwhile, as you put it, “traditional” Sega fans are getting older. Audiences for the PC franchises they now own are getting older. These aren’t franchises that are by and large acquiring new fans. When these fanbases leave gaming Sega will have little left in the way of a fanbase.”

    You are not even making any sense here nor do you seem to grasp the size of the Total War, Football Manager or Company of Heroes fanbases. You might as well say this about every publisher.

    And I never said anything about this traditional SEGA fans getting older, I said perhaps in the 90s but there is not a lot to indicate that there are overly zealous SEGA followers out there

  15. Ben says:

    “Why should SEGA Japan bother with Western localisation? That’s the point of SEGA West, which had a localisation team until they decided to focus on 5 core franchises.”

    Okay…..so, I’m confused. Why were you and Nagoshi arguing that the Japanese studio would have to opt to translate the game as an excuse for cancelling Yakuza 5 for North America? Of course it would be translated by an outside source. So it shouldn’t have been an issue.

    “Yakuza is incredibly text heavy, how much of the game do you actually play? Certainly Persona has a lot of text but Persona games sell triple what current Yakuza titles do. The fact that the one on Vita has sold more than 3, 4 and Dead Souls is telling.”

    Again, Persona is a major franchise. It’s like their version of Sonic. There are plenty of smaller, more niche Atlus franchises, which are incredibly text-heavy, which see translation.

    Yakuza is text-heavy, yes. But not only is dubbing not an issue, but much of the environmental text remains in Japanese. They’re subbing cutscenes and translating all the sidequests, etc. Yeah. It’s a lot but it definitely could be a lot worse. How many people does it take to incorporate English text into text boxes? I’m sure the game’s large but let’s not pretend it’s GTA5.

    “Marketing is an issue SEGA has had with the Yakuza series since day one and localisation of Phantasy Star Nova is not upto Nagoshi to decide so I have no idea what you’re getting at here, we’re talking about Yakuza.”

    The way you’re talking, you act like it’s unheard of to expect Japanese games with a lot of text to be translated; they’re translated all the time. Just not by Sega, unfortunately.

    “It’s like getting annoyed that not all Sonic games are released in Japan, the Japanese fanbase is not a priority for SEGA/Iizuka.”

    But almost all Sonic games *are* released in Japan; which ones aren’t? Regardless, Sonic at least isn’t a continuing story that fans have already invested time and money in.

    “Fair enough not to support his future titles, but it seems like a strange decision not to support it because he is not super disappointed about one title not being brought here.”

    If Nagoshi doesn’t seem to care about me as a fan, why should I continue to be a fan? I don’t know how much truth there is in what he’s saying, but he’s essentially taking responsibility for Yakuza 5 not being localized. So I’m taking him at his word.

    “And I never said anything about this traditional SEGA fans getting older, I said perhaps in the 90s but there is not a lot to indicate that there are overly zealous SEGA followers out there”

    Well, that’s partially because Sega West has been diminishing their presense in the Western market for years. Many over-zealous Sega fans have jumped ship. And they’ll continue to because Sega is continuing to reduce the amount of Sega games that they’re able to play.

    “He does want to reach a global audience as he indicated further but it is what it is. He’s not going to be disappointed because far as he is concerned, the team are still able to make the games they want for a market that is more willing to try their products.”

    If he wants to reach a global audience, releasing his games globally would help. Didn’t Yakuzas 3 and 4 outsell the first 2 anyway? That’s pretty impressive for a story-driven series to experience growth mid-way through in the West.

    • Aki-at says:

      “Okay…..so, I’m confused. Why were you and Nagoshi arguing that the Japanese studio would have to opt to translate the game as an excuse for cancelling Yakuza 5 for North America? Of course it would be translated by an outside source. So it shouldn’t have been an issue.”

      Yakuza 5 was never cancelled because they never planned to release it, they could have translated it but the opportunity cost would be massive so instead past over it to develop Ryu Ga Gotoku Ishin. But you’re arguing why didn’t they plan to incorporate the English version from the beginning, something they would not do because its not their jobs.

      “Again, Persona is a major franchise. It’s like their version of Sonic. There are plenty of smaller, more niche Atlus franchises, which are incredibly text-heavy, which see translation.”

      Point those titles out then, fair chance is they all sell more than Yakuza. You keep going on about niche Atlus products but most of them/titles they publish at least hit over 100,000 lifetime sales.

      “Yakuza is text-heavy, yes. But not only is dubbing not an issue, but much of the environmental text remains in Japanese. They’re subbing cutscenes and translating all the sidequests, etc. Yeah. It’s a lot but it definitely could be a lot worse. How many people does it take to incorporate English text into text boxes? I’m sure the game’s large but let’s not pretend it’s GTA5.”

      So first of all, you have to translate all the dialogue in the game. Second you have to code the text into the game whilst finally making sure it works, which means QA. For a game like Sonic, that’s simple, for a game like Yakuza that is extensive.

      And why do you have to go to the extreme? I never said it was GTA5’s size, just that its bigger than you’re making it out to be, especially Yakuza 5.

      “The way you’re talking, you act like it’s unheard of to expect Japanese games with a lot of text to be translated; they’re translated all the time. Just not by Sega, unfortunately.”

      Those games sell, Yakuza does not. If you can point out a text extensive RPG series that does sub 50,000 sales in America you have the point, but all you keep going on about is how Atlus products are this and that but sales dictate otherwise.

      “But almost all Sonic games *are* released in Japan; which ones aren’t? Regardless, Sonic at least isn’t a continuing story that fans have already invested time and money in.”

      None of the Sonic Racing titles have been released in Japan. They aim for whichever market will be receptive to the title.

      “If Nagoshi doesn’t seem to care about me as a fan, why should I continue to be a fan? I don’t know how much truth there is in what he’s saying, but he’s essentially taking responsibility for Yakuza 5 not being localized. So I’m taking him at his word.”

      Why do you expect Nagoshi to care for you? He is a man doing a job which is making/overseeing video game development. I do not understand this culture where people have to feel connected to someone on the otherside of the world.

      If whatever group he is part of makes a good game that is released here then why should you care what he said.

      “Well, that’s partially because Sega West has been diminishing their presense in the Western market for years. Many over-zealous Sega fans have jumped ship. And they’ll continue to because Sega is continuing to reduce the amount of Sega games that they’re able to play.”

      There has never been many over-zealous SEGA fans as I have said, outside of their console success in the 90s (Which is down more due to their Western products) and Sonic the Hedgehog, there is nothing to indicate there ever has been a sizable SEGA fanbase.

      What you do have if people like one or two SEGA products but that’s it. If we had this typical SEGA fan who buys everything SEGA, Skies of Arcadia, Valkyria Chronicles, Yakuza, Outrun etc should be over 200,000 sold and three of those were not even close.

      Compare this to SEGA’s Total War and Football Manager brand that continues to grow (Something you argued otherwise earlier for whatever reason) they are certainly becoming more relevant than before.

      “If he wants to reach a global audience, releasing his games globally would help. Didn’t Yakuzas 3 and 4 outsell the first 2 anyway? That’s pretty impressive for a story-driven series to experience growth mid-way through in the West.”

      No, the American sales for the series goes as;

      Yakuza 1: 75k
      Yakuza 2: 25k
      Yakuza 3: 50k
      Yakuza 4: 50k (So much for “cuts” hurting sales)
      Yakuza: Dead Souls: <10k

      Until you have seen solid numbers I suppose its easy for you to argue ignorant points but the numbers are undeniable, Yakuza is a massive failure in the West. Just barely breaking 200k after 5 releases is pathetic.

  16. Blackclouds says:

    This conversation is dumb. Sega has no obligation to lose money when sales of past Yakuza titles are so low it’s laughable to call it a fanbase. There is no market for Sega’s Japanese titles in the west sans Sonic so just get used it. The door is that way.

    Sega of America needs to rebuild their western market from scratch before they can just toss their random Japanese titles to the western wolves. Sega commands no pedigree in the US, and their games command no value. The old sega fans are getting old and don’t play games any more. It is what it is. Instead of just thinking of yourself, how about acknowledge reality and deal with it.

  17. Ben says:

    “There is no market for Sega’s Japanese titles in the west sans Sonic so just get used it.”

    So in that case should we rename this site SonicBits and focus on nothing but Sonic and the Total War series?

    I think there are a lot of people who would be bummed out about that.

    As for your advice of waiting for Sega of America to rebuild their Western market….yet more layoffs just happened at Sega of America. Dude there’s no comeback planned, best try to get as many games released here as we can while we still get anything.

    By the way, Nagoshi said in this interview that they got “lots of complaints” from Western gamers about not getting Yakuza 5. If nobody cares about these games, where are these complaints coming from?

    “The old sega fans are getting old and don’t play games any more. It is what it is. Instead of just thinking of yourself, how about acknowledge reality and deal with it.”

    Releasing quality titles is a good way to build a fanbase. Yakuza is a quality series. In the age of digital releases, where Sega doesn’t even have to manufacture/produce physical copies of their games anymore, it’s as low-risk a time as ever for them to be localizing their games.

    What’s your solution, exactly? To just not try to get games over here that I want to play because I’m waiting on a highly unlikely major comeback for Sega of America?

    Sorry, but it’s not going to happen, and I don’t think fans should give up on asking Sega to release games over here. I’m a Sega fan, I want to play these games. If I can’t play these games, there’s little reason for me to remain a Sega fan.

  18. Ben says:

    “Yakuza 5 was never cancelled because they never planned to release it, they could have translated it but the opportunity cost would be massive so instead past over it to develop Ryu Ga Gotoku Ishin.”

    Okay…I understand that. I am complaining about it. You’re sort of just re-stating the situation. I don’t agree with the decision.

    “Those games sell, Yakuza does not. If you can point out a text extensive RPG series that does sub 50,000 sales in America you have the point, but all you keep going on about is how Atlus products are this and that but sales dictate otherwise.”

    It’s not just America, add the UK as well. Yakuza does better over there, doesn’t it? Combining the two should be somewhat respectable, I’d think, for what’s essentially an import title. I think Yakuza does well enough that Sega can afford the relatively low cost of localization. Again, they’re not even dubbing the thing.

    “Why do you expect Nagoshi to care for you? He is a man doing a job which is making/overseeing video game development. I do not understand this culture where people have to feel connected to someone on the otherside of the world. ”

    It’s called being a fan, lol. That’s the nature of having fans. If fans don’t feel connected to someone who they’re a fan of, then what’s the point of being of a fan? This applies to music, games, and any type of art.

    Why should Nagoshi care what his fans think? ….lol.

    “Until you have seen solid numbers I suppose its easy for you to argue ignorant points but the numbers are undeniable, Yakuza is a massive failure in the West. Just barely breaking 200k after 5 releases is pathetic.”

    Yakuza is never going to be a huge success in the West, that’s true. I’m not exactly arguing otherwise. Its a story-driven series with all Japanese voice acting and a continuing narrative. The chance to be big was with the first one, which Sega marketed horribly.

    Some companies put out games for the fans. They can afford to. Nintendo localizes a game like Fire Emblem (even though the series has typically bombed) not because it’s super profitable but because the fan base likes it. Sega-Sammy is very profitable. Localizing these games (especially if they released them digitally) is not a particularly high cost endeavor, all things considered.

    I truly don’t care about the spinoffs either. Granted, I’d love to have them, but I can understand why not. But getting numbered installments should be happening because you have fans who are invested in the story and who have bought the other games.

  19. Aki-at says:

    “Okay…I understand that. I am complaining about it. You’re sort of just re-stating the situation. I don’t agree with the decision.”

    I do not personally like the decision, I just do not see much wrong with what Nagoshi stated.

    “It’s not just America, add the UK as well. Yakuza does better over there, doesn’t it? Combining the two should be somewhat respectable, I’d think, for what’s essentially an import title. I think Yakuza does well enough that Sega can afford the relatively low cost of localization. Again, they’re not even dubbing the thing.”

    If selling a few thousands units is considered well in the UK, sure, but it hardly stays in the charts for more than a week. It really isn’t a respectable number. And like I said, Yakuza 5 has a lot more content than previous Yakuza games and that there is the stumbling block.

    “It’s called being a fan, lol. That’s the nature of having fans. If fans don’t feel connected to someone who they’re a fan of, then what’s the point of being of a fan? This applies to music, games, and any type of art.

    Why should Nagoshi care what his fans think? ….lol”

    Video games, films and television shows are completely different from music. With music the idea is generated from a limited number of people, the other three however have much more people involved. And as I said, as long as the product is good I couldn’t care less what he thought as long as he is not going full Phil Fish on us.

    “Some companies put out games for the fans. They can afford to. Nintendo localizes a game like Fire Emblem (even though the series has typically bombed) not because it’s super profitable but because the fan base likes it. Sega-Sammy is very profitable. Localizing these games (especially if they released them digitally) is not a particularly high cost endeavor, all things considered. ”

    Fire Emblem sell considerably more than the Yakuza games, the latest one has so far done over 150,000 units in America alone.

    Again, point to me these long running series from major publishers where they continue with a failed/poor selling franchise? Every example you have listed is not as bad seller as Yakuza, exactly the opposite, they are extremely profitable franchises.

    “I truly don’t care about the spinoffs either. Granted, I’d love to have them, but I can understand why not. But getting numbered installments should be happening because you have fans who are invested in the story and who have bought the other games.”

    If the numbers were higher we would but again as I said, companies are hardly our friends and SEGA has brought over 4 more entries after the series had such a horrendous start and any sort of respectable fanbase still eludes them.

  20. Ben says:

    “If selling a few thousands units is considered well in the UK, sure, but it hardly stays in the charts for more than a week. It really isn’t a respectable number. And like I said, Yakuza 5 has a lot more content than previous Yakuza games and that there is the stumbling block.”

    Ehh. I understand. I just feel like with less than ever being developed in-house in Sega of Japan, with Yakuza being sort of their signature series right now (Sonic aside) and with this being a series with a devoted (but yes, small) Western fanbase…I really think Sega should be able to continue to localize the numbered installments. This is not a company that’s currently struggling to make ends meet.

    The way Nagoshi puts it (and why it annoys me) is that he makes it sound like the team simply didn’t think it was worth their effort to localize it. If he had simply said, “I’d love to, but Sega won’t give me the money” I’d respect it much more than “we felt that we wanted to get started on the next one right away, so we chose to do that instead of translating part 5.”

    “Video games, films and television shows are completely different from music. ”

    That’s a fair point. I still think that artists of any kind should care about their fans, though. And want to connect with them. That’s why they make the games, afterall.

    “Fire Emblem sell considerably more than the Yakuza games, the latest one has so far done over 150,000 units in America alone.”

    The latest one has been unusually successful; the series prior to this has pretty much always flopped in the West. The new Fire Emblem game doing well is almost a first.

    “If the numbers were higher we would but again as I said, companies are hardly our friends and SEGA has brought over 4 more entries after the series had such a horrendous start and any sort of respectable fanbase still eludes them.”

    I really don’t think you can find too many *subtitled* games that do better in the West, though dude…I mean, Sega has chosen not to dub these games beyond part 1. For whatever reason, this severely limits the audience in Western territories. Honestly, what other Japanese imports with Japanese voice over can manage over 50k per installment in North America?

    You say “if the numbers were higher then we would,” but if the numbers were higher…Nagoshi would still be eager to jump into development of Ishin so I’m not sure that we even would, honestly.

  21. Aki-at says:

    “Ehh. I understand. I just feel like with less than ever being developed in-house in Sega of Japan, with Yakuza being sort of their signature series right now (Sonic aside) and with this being a series with a devoted (but yes, small) Western fanbase…I really think Sega should be able to continue to localize the numbered installments. This is not a company that’s currently struggling to make ends meet. ”

    Just because it’s a signature series means nothing to SEGA Europe or America. They believe that they’ve tried with new IPs as well as trying to please the fans but there comes a point when you have to change course and that’s the conclusion they’ve come up with. Instead their devoting their resources into core franchises and so far that’s paid off with Football Manager 2013 being the best selling installment as well as Rome II becoming the fast selling Total War title to date.

    You could argue “Well then they should throw us a bone!” but they are under no obligation to do so, especially since trying to throw bones to fans have gotten them in such a rotten position.

    “The way Nagoshi puts it (and why it annoys me) is that he makes it sound like the team simply didn’t think it was worth their effort to localize it. If he had simply said, “I’d love to, but Sega won’t give me the money” I’d respect it much more than “we felt that we wanted to get started on the next one right away, so we chose to do that instead of translating part 5.” ”

    Again it isn’t really worth their effort if they will either gain minor profits or major appreciation of the work. Whilst in Japan the studio and its series is herald as one of the best in the industry.

    And Nagoshi already said at the end of the interview he wants as many people to try Ishin but he does not have the funds or manpower at present.

    “That’s a fair point. I still think that artists of any kind should care about their fans, though. And want to connect with them. That’s why they make the games, afterall.”

    As I said he/RGG Studio do want their games to reach worldwide audience, but they also have to cater to their native country. It’s what helps the bottomline.

    “The latest one has been unusually successful; the series prior to this has pretty much always flopped in the West. The new Fire Emblem game doing well is almost a first.”

    This is why I always ask you to back up the statements with hard cold facts, the first Fire Emblem to be released in America sold 387,819 units (More than the Japanese sales) Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones broke 150,000, Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance debuted with sales of 60,103 in it’s first month and eventually manage to sell over 200,000 units.

    The series has been far removed from a flop and multiple installments in the series have eclipsed Yakuza’s American sales alone.

    “I really don’t think you can find too many *subtitled* games that do better in the West, though dude…I mean, Sega has chosen not to dub these games beyond part 1. For whatever reason, this severely limits the audience in Western territories. Honestly, what other Japanese imports with Japanese voice over can manage over 50k per installment in North America? ”

    Just because you have a lack of examples isn’t a counter point. You cannot argue x or y that failed did not because there are not better sellers out there, it just means the market has dictated that product is not wanted by the masses currently.

    “You say “if the numbers were higher then we would,” but if the numbers were higher…Nagoshi would still be eager to jump into development of Ishin so I’m not sure that we even would, honestly.”

    And what indications to you have that he/SEGA in general would not put their resources to release Yakuza 5 in a worldwide (And timely basis) if the sales were there?

    Outside of Yakuza, not only did RGG Studio focus most of their resources in a Western targeted IP recently but Super Monkey Ball has been effectively supported by Western sales. If anything, if Yakuza was a strong seller in the West, the resources would always be provided to ensure it was a top seller here too.

  22. Ben says:

    “You could argue “Well then they should throw us a bone!” but they are under no obligation to do so, especially since trying to throw bones to fans have gotten them in such a rotten position.”

    I think their rotten position was more to do with releasing poor quality products and failure to market their good products. Throwing bones to a fanbase when reasonable (and again, I feel like an un-marketed, un-dubbed translation job is fairly light on risk, relatively speaking) doesn’t hurt them.

    “Again it isn’t really worth their effort if they will either gain minor profits or major appreciation of the work.”

    I think they gain appreciation from the fanbase. I think Yakuza fans in the West genuinely enjoy the series. It may not net them “tons of profits” but as an artist, Nagoshi (I’d hope) would want his work played by as many fans as possible. But maybe not. Maybe it’s all about the paycheck for him now. It happens.

    “The series has been far removed from a flop and multiple installments in the series have eclipsed Yakuza’s American sales alone.”

    Fire Emblem is a series which, for the longest time, wasn’t localized by Nintendo; they didn’t even bother. They took a chance at one point and found success. Except hiring a somewhat big-name voice cast for the first game, Sega has never put any real effort into making this series a real success over here. These things don’t happen effortlessly. But I don’t think that punishing the fanbase who purchased 4 Yakuza games will do Sega any good, personally.

    “Outside of Yakuza, not only did RGG Studio focus most of their resources in a Western targeted IP recently but Super Monkey Ball has been effectively supported by Western sales. If anything, if Yakuza was a strong seller in the West, the resources would always be provided to ensure it was a top seller here too.”

    Binary Domain’s another game which flopped because of Sega’s complete lack of support. But that’s a whole other issue. Again, Yakuza is a series with a fanbase in the West. It’s a series which its small group of fans want to play, to continue the story, and unlike Binary Domain, which was met with a collective “meh” from the gaming industry, fans in the West are very eager to play more Yakuza. I think it’s a mistake for Sega to add yet another series to their “Shenmue list” of games people have paid money for and won’t see the conclusion to.

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