Top 9 Reasons to Localize Yakuza 3


yakuza3_01

  1. Yakuza is one of the very few RPGs (particularly JRPGs) that uses a modern day setting (or historical setting in the case of Kenzan) rather than the typical cliche pulp fantasy and sci-fi settings used in other RPGs. Personally, I’m more interested in this than Final Fantasy XIII.
  2. The game stars Japanese Super Models. Hostess bars are tons of fun.
  3. Yakuza delivers the experience of exploring Japanese cities. This series really oozes personality.
  4. The Yakuza games are *BIG*. Tons of side-quests and dialog trees and things to discover.
  5. Brawler combat is a nice change of pace from the traditional RPG number battles.
  6. The biggest problem with Yakuza 2 was the tech. Yakuza 3 isn’t perfect either, but it’s still a whole different category than 2: The crude character models, animation, physics, and even the menus and interface felt really old and junky next to B/C-list 2008-era PS3 games.
  7. Every other western-release PS3/360 JRPG feels like it was pumped out from some generic copy-cat game mill.
  8. Games like Metal Gear and Resident Evil were made in Japan by Japanese developers, but they were made with an international audience in mind, and they feel that way. Yakuza is one of the very few story-heavy full-scale games that feels like a “foreign game” made with a non-western mindset for a completely non-western audience. The western audience is starved for unique/different/novel experiences like this, but the window of opportunity won’t last much longer.
  9. The game is already finished. Just hire a translator, pump out some sub-titles, cut through the corporate bureaucracy, and print some new blu-ray discs!

yakuza3_02

I’m not trying to exagerate the quality of this series either. Yakuza 2 was definitely short of a great game by western tastes: lots of individual mechanics were mediocre and repetitive, some of the dialog was idiotic, and the tech was B-level even for a PS2 game. Yet the game had a ton of content, lots of charm and atmosphere, and a very unique personality to it. I haven’t played 3, but my only expectation is a rise from B-level PS2 tech to B-level PS3 tech, which is a huge improvement, particularly for this style of open-world 3D game.

If Sega doesn’t have the initiative to localize, Sony or some other publisher should step up to the plate on this one. If I could I would stake my own money that this would sell well enough to cover the localization costs and turn a profit, if they get this out in less than a year.


Written by: Darrin - Contributing Editor


  1. #1 by JimmyMagnum on August 14th, 2009 [ 83111 Points ]

    tssk tssk tssk, couldn’t come up with a tenth reason huh? :P j/k. I’m not much of an RPG guy, so even if it were localized, I probably wouldn’t buy it. Rent it maybe, but not buy it.

  2. #2 by Thepreppymonk on August 14th, 2009 [ 1865 Points ]

    I’m gonna go try Yakuza 2 now that you’ve made a point.

  3. #3 by Fleakitten on August 14th, 2009

    I think Sega’s doing the right thing by not localizing this. I doubt it would sell as much as RE5 or MGS4. It’d probably sell less than KZ2 has in the states.

    The best thing anyone can do if they really want to play this is invest in Rosetta Stone, learn Japanese and import it.

  4. #4 by Stephen on August 14th, 2009

    Totally agree with the author. Now SEGA just needs to wake up and realize the failure of Yakuza 2 was due to bad timing and their poor marketing decisions.

  5. #5 by Darrin on August 15th, 2009

    I’d actually warn against playing Yakuza 2 today. Some PS2 games age well: Music games, 2D games, and some AAA games like God of War still play really well today. The tech in this doesn’t age as well. It’s really an eyesore.

    Also, if they wait several years to localize like they did with Yakuza 1+2, that will kill it as well.

    No way would this sell close to RE5 or MGS4 or even Killzone 2 in the west. No one is debating that. But it would probably sell Valkyria Chronicles type numbers and easily cover the cost of localization.

  6. #6 by Ben on August 15th, 2009

    Hi Darrin,
    I just wanted to say that I started playing Yakuza 2 a few days ago and I think it’s a really great game to play, especially in our next-gen-times. In my opinion there are far too little games incorporating a good story like Yakuza on the XBOX360/PS3. I also rediscover the PS2 these days because of the more unique games you can get for that console. The next-gen days are way too much about mishmash in my opinion.
    Yakuza is like playing a good anime movie and that’s something you won’t find that easily on next-gen-consoles if you’re not a fan of RPGs.

  7. #7 by darrin on August 17th, 2009

    I think you nailed it when you said that playing Yakuza is like playing a good anime movie. That is exactly how it feels.

    However, if you are implying that Yakuza isn’t an RPG, I would definitely disagree. Yakuza has every element I would associate with RPGs, except it has brawler combat instead of number battles and a non-RPG setting.

  8. #8 by Tosh on August 17th, 2009 [ 1102 Points ]

    I bought Yakuza 2, but I never finished it. I did play the demo for Yakuza 3 and it was fun. I would like to see this game come to the states as well.

  9. #9 by Ben on August 20th, 2009

    Yeah, Yakuza has RPG elements in a certain manner, cause you’re constantly upgrading your character. But that’s something we also see in a lot of action adventures these days. Anyway, the PS2 (which’s also quite cheap right now) is a great console these days. With games like Yakuza 2, God of War 1&2, Resident Evil 4, Shadow of the colossus….games no action-adventure fan should miss, cause there aren’t much comparable games on the next-gen-consoles right now.
    The only problem is how you connect it to your TV / monitor. My setup is a TFT monitor with component inputs and the PS2′s connected with component cables…looks truly great and sharp.


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