Yakuza: Kenzan Could Be Suitable for a Kiwami-Style Remake, Producer Says

Yakuza: Kenzan Could Be Suitable for a Kiwami-Style Remake, Producer Says

The never-before-localized Yakuza spinoff could make it to the west if remade.

Yakuza fans are living in a time of prosperity right now. All the recent Yakuza games have been released in the west, and older games are being remade under the "Kiwami" banner and getting English releases as well. But one game in the Yakuza franchise continues to elude fans: Yakuza: Kenzan. But a recent interview gives hope that this might not be the case for much longer.

Yakuza Kenzan is a spinoff game in the Yakuza series set in the samurai era. The game centers around historical characters, though the protagonist shares a likeness to Yakuza main character Kazuma Kiryuu. It was released in Japan in 2008 for the PlayStation 3, but never received an English release.

Speaking at a fan event in Taipei, Taiwan to celebrate the release of Yakuza 5 in the Chinese language, Yakuza series producer Daisuke Sato gave an update on Yakuza: Kenzan's prospects for a wider release. When asked if fans could expect any new Kiwami remakes, Sato responded that Kenzan could be a good candidate.

"Personally, Yakuza: Kenzan is quite suitable to get a 'Kiwami' makeover," Sato says. "Kenzan was the first Yakuza game on the PlayStation 3, and only released in Japan. A lot of Western players mentioned that they want to play this game in English, and Asian players also want the game to release in Chinese. And because Kenzan was an early PS3 game, if it were to receive a simple HD remaster it would feel like it's missing something. So in my opinion a 'Kiwami' version would be better."

So far, only the first two Yakuza games in the franchise have received Kiwami versions. Which are remakes with new models, some added content, and better UI and controls. What's more, because Kiwami titles are a redone version of the older games, they can recast characters and their likeness, clearing the licensing issues that have prevented Kenzan from being released outside of Japan. "If we were able to create a 'Kiwami' version, we could possibly find new actors to contract and swap the models out," Sato says.

This golden era of Yakuza games could finally be what's needed to get the Yakuza Kenzan games to the west. Even the upcoming Yakuza spinoff Judgement is coming to the west this week. So it might not be too long before we see Kenzan finally leave Japan, either.

Editor's Note: The header image is from Yakuza: Kenzan's sequel, Yakuza: Ishin, another spinoff set in the historical period.

Sometimes we include links to online retail stores. If you click on one and make a purchase we may receive a small commission. See our terms & conditions.

Matt Kim

News Editor

Matt Kim is a former freelance writer who's covered video games and digital media. He likes video games as spectacle and is easily distracted by bright lights or clever bits of dialogue. He also once wrote about personal finance, but that's neither here nor there.

In other news

Control: Ultimate Edition Confirms PS5 and Xbox Series S/X Dates and Ray Tracing Toggle

If you were hoping for the highest of high-end performance… dream on, Faden.

The SNES Can Do Ray Tracing Thanks to a Homebrew “SuperRT” Chip

Ben Carter's chip design makes real-time lighting and reflections possible on a 30-year-old console.

Xbox Is Hosting a Space Jam Game Jam Design Contest

We got a real (game) jam goin' now.

Need help?

Apex Legends Vaults - Where to Find the Vaults and How to Open Them

Need to know how to find a Vault Key in Apex Legends to open one of the three vaults? We've got you covered.

Gears 5 Collectibles - How to Find All Collectible Locations

Here's our guide to the Gears 5 collectible locations, including Act 1, Act 2, Act 3, and Act 4 collectibles.

Devil May Cry 5 Devil Breakers - Devil Breaker Arm Abilities in Devil May Cry 5

Here's our complete breakdown of every Devil Breaker arm ability for Nero in Devil May Cry 5.

Sekiro Tips - How to Beat Every Boss and Survive in Sekiro Shadows Die Twice

This is our complete beginner's guide to surviving Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice, including a list of essential tips and tricks.