Yakuza producer sorry about localization cuts

Sega's Masayoshi Kikuchi says publisher will do more to preserve Japanese-rooted features like hostess bars for Western release of Yakuza 4.

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When Yakuza 3 was released in North America and Europe earlier this year, the PlayStation 3 game had some of its more Japanese elements--including hostess clubs and a quiz on the country's history--excised from it. The decision rubbed some fans the wrong way, and one of the game's original concept planners has now said that Sega will try to avoid a repeat with the international release of Yakuza 4.

Fortunately, gamers the world over understand the subtle language of a boot to the face.

Original Yakuza producer Masayoshi Kikuchi told Digital Spy in a recent interview that removing the content was a business decision, as some people within Sega were concerned that elements so specific to Japanese culture could alienate international audiences and make the game less accessible.

"We did what we thought would be good for the Western market," Kikuchi said, "but after the game was released we received a lot of feedback from users in the complete opposite direction, asking for complete content."

Kikuchi said that he felt sorry for fans disappointed by the omitted content and that Sega has learned from the experience. For the upcoming international release of Yakuza 4, Kikuchi said the developer is trying to preserve all of the content found in the Japanese version of the game.

For the fourth installment in the Japanese criminal syndicate series, Sega is expanding the game's focus beyond former Yakuza Kazuma Kiryu and letting players take control of three additional characters, all with intertwining storylines. A fifth installment is also in the works, as Sega announced the zombie-infested Yakuza: Of the End at last week's Tokyo Game Show.

For more on where the series is headed, check out GameSpot's previous coverage of Yakuza 4 and Yakuza: Of the End.

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