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.

Discussion

34 comments
Generic_Dude
Generic_Dude

Give us Kenzan and all will be forgiven. ;-)

SanjuroGT
SanjuroGT

i was glad to own the japanese version because of 100% content and after playing the North America Version i would still recommend it but the hostess club is missing so that was a shame but over still worth the buy the story is just as amazing as always

Baked-Calbee
Baked-Calbee

I dont blame them for cuttin out contents really, if u look from their view of points. Certain elements of the game or some contents in the game, or i should say ideas within a game works for their home country doesnt mean it works on foreign lands. Wrath of the Lich King in China for example, but it might be because of the stupid government law crap, but its a great example of how the content works here in the State vs in another country who takes a minor detail so highly restricted

Heshertonfist
Heshertonfist

I like the idea of "localization" in games, more immersive experience and better sense of authenticity. San Andreas being my prime example.

xpepox
xpepox

i don"t want to answer questions about japanese history.

DebugJunky
DebugJunky

The cut content was mostly stuff like Answer x Answer which no one would get, Shogi and Mahjong which iirc were in the previous games anyway, something like 22 substories (consider that the game still has 101 and a lot of them are very samey and a complete bore), and they reworked the hostess substories so that there was no boring choose a line and give them stuff parts and you meet them in an ice cream and burger stores (also consider that it's not been evolved since the first couple games in the series where Western gamers could still play it anyway). It's annoying how they cut content but seriously Yakuza 3 is so content heavy there's 101 substories, a 12 chapter story, 12 hitman missions, several IF7 fights, 16 mini-games and loads more for completionists like the weapons modding, heat actions, dining and other stuff, the content that was cut wasn't that much and it was really the worst content in the game, people just get on the bandwagon to diss this game and they should spend less time moaning and more time playing it, they already knew people were pissed off a long time ago, it's time to get over it. If you want to have a go now then tell SEGA to give us the Challenge Pack DLC for free considering Japan got it free and let them know you want Kenzan.

thisranks
thisranks

"could alienate international audiences"...huh... Kinda like leaving Jp only VA did?

kavadias1981
kavadias1981

Well, I'm just glad he realised his mistake and decided to keep them in the game this time. Seriously though, the reason we westerners buy and play Yakuza in the first place is because we love the Japanese culture! So to deprive us of that is just plain ignorance. Dear oh dear. Well, here's looking forward to Yakuza 4, Yakuza PSP and fingers crossed, the Yakuza zombie game too!

ArcAngel6903
ArcAngel6903

I know I speak for a painful minority but I appreciate the nuances of another culture, especially when a game is made BY that country FOR it's citizens. Seriously, I can respect something that is very different from my own view... plus it's just a video game. It's sad how immature other countries think the entire USA is......

Uesugi-dono
Uesugi-dono

I won't forgive him! I won't... unless... We want KENZAN!

tekkelite
tekkelite

so how about giving it to us via DLC

NimbusStev
NimbusStev

Correct me if I'm wrong, but wasn't the only spoken language in this localization Japanese? Yeah, I'm sure people who buy a game like that are going to be just horrified to find Japanese culture mixed in the game.

JOKER677
JOKER677

"will try to avoid" why dont you just say you wont

SIDEFX1
SIDEFX1

Think again. and a majority of you really care about the hostess bar. That is not what Japan is all about or what Japan culture is as the Western world/websites might try to show it as. Respect the Japanese and it's people.

Everiez
Everiez

It had been said and done. I'm thankful for Sega listening to their consumers feedback. It's rare nowadays for publisher/developer actually care about their fans. I won't ask for Y3 cut content but I really want Kenzan to be localized.

SillySkeleton
SillySkeleton

I was devastated at the amount of content they cut from Yakuza 3. It was almost all optional too, so if the player didn't understand the idea of hostess clubs, or didn't want to learn how to play mah-jong, etc. they could have skipped it and gone ahead with the story. That stunt lost my faith in the franchise, and I doubt I'll be picking up another Yakuza.

HollowNinja
HollowNinja

Whoever within Sega was concerned that foreign audiences would be alienated needs a nice, hard slap in the face. I would be happy to administer that slap.

darkouer
darkouer

Since I actually went and bought the Asian release, which is complete content wise, and if SEGA is truly sorry, why not release a an English text patch for that version... I don't think it'd be too much trouble... but it probably won't happen.

shalashaska88
shalashaska88

Whatever they release they will still get my money. I have been playing Yakuza 3 for months now, trying to unlock everything that I can in the game's vast and random world of awesomeness. Bring on Yakuza 4!

Hillsy_
Hillsy_

I still enjoyed it because of the story, characterisation and voice acting. I did miss the 23 missions they excluded though. Then again, I could have not done with walking Haruka around on the Special Edition version. Man, was she demanding.. get me a cola, get to level 25 on a game, now get me some ice cream, now a present, go bowling, let's sing karaoke. Howabout I get you some knock out drops to shut you the hell up! haha! :)

Xcite79
Xcite79

Call me a perv but I wanted those hostess bars. It gave that cultural feel I wanted because it being in Japan.

gamerboy100
gamerboy100

So let me get this straight: They made a game based in Japan and removed Japanese elements from it? That makes no sense!

Mattyrock
Mattyrock

At least Sega listens to what the players want.

johny300
johny300

Good dont cut anything we want the full game and i was wondering where was the hostes bar in yakuza 3 lol.

ClaudiusCaesar
ClaudiusCaesar

They cut part of what is appealing in this game: a different experience from other games.

jasonharris48
jasonharris48

@ FallenOneX If Square was trying to cater Western gamers with the design ideas presented in FFXIII. They did a awful job.

OJ_the_LION
OJ_the_LION

I'm about as weeaboo as they come, but I can't agree with a lot of these comments that Japanese developers need to stay the course. Making overly "Japanese" games and stagnating is exactly why the Japanese segment of the industry is on the downslope, they need to develop with more than just their own segment of the market in mind. That said, this is something that needs to be in mind from the beginning of development. Publishers can't just cut out a chunk of content from the export version and expect everyone to be cool with it. I had held off on Yakuza 3 in protest of the content cut, but now that Sega has seen reason I'll pick it up after I get through my game backlog to show my support for the series.

GeminiEntity
GeminiEntity

Whether it's gaming or anime, companies should know by now that the fans want their product uncut and original, with the only addition/change being English voices.

DBZKING1234
DBZKING1234

@FallenOneX exactly, couldn't have put it better myself.

FallenOneX
FallenOneX

If the Western audience needed to be catered to so much, the gaming import market wouldn't exist. Hopefully other companies (Square-Enix, Capcom) learn from this and stop trying to appease (their ideas of) western gamers. (FFXIII, RE5... not terrible games, but you get the idea)

Kleeyook
Kleeyook

They should actually made it so that those unnecessary things wont affect gameplay. :(

wolfyrabbit
wolfyrabbit

well i am happy sega is not going to cut stuff from further yakuza titles. now only if NA gets faster localization...

DanteDelacoix
DanteDelacoix

Too right they should. Once again japanese developers trying to say what the western market does and does not like. JUST RELEASE IT AS IT IS! I for one welcome this news and wish that they did release an update for Y3 to unlock the hostess bars eetc.....but i doubt that will happen

persianlink
persianlink

Would be so much more believable if a patch to unlock the missing content went along with that statement... I can't believe it's missing on the disk. I bet it's only locked and a patch to unlock it would not take more than a few MB.