The Yakuza Series Was Pitched To Both Nintendo And Microsoft, But Neither Wanted It

Bet both companies are regretting the decision now.


Yakuza series creator Toshihiro Nagoshi recently revealed that his franchise was originally pitched to Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo. Though Sony warmed up to Yakuza, both Microsoft and Nintendo remained firmly against publishing the game on their console platforms.

In an interview with Edge magazine (via ResetEra), Nagoshi admitted that even Sega was against Yakuza at the start. To get his idea off the ground, he decided to secretly meet with Sega's new owners--after the company's merger with Sammy--to pitch the idea, something he now admits was both irregular and wrong to do. Looking back on it, Nagoshi thinks part of the reason for all the reluctance surrounding Yakuza was a result of his narrow audience scope.

"...I abandoned the idea of selling worldwide," he said. "Next, I decided I wouldn't mind if female players didn't like the game; then that no children were allowed. When I decided all that, the only target left was the Japanese male."

Of course, now that the Yakuza franchise has received critical acclaim--and even found worldwide commercial success with recent releases in the West--both Microsoft and Nintendo want in. "Back then they said, 'No we don't want it.' Now they say, 'We want it!'" Nagoshi said. "They didn't understand the reason why I created it."

The Yakuza franchise is still a Sony console exclusive, its games published across the PlayStation 2, 3, and 4, as well as PC. The most recent title in the series, Yakuza 6: The Song of Life, released for PS4 in Japan in December 2016 and worldwide in April 2018. The game was well-received. We gave it an 8/10 in our review.

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