The Yakuza series has seen a massive spike in popularity over the last few years, thanks in part to the earnest effort to port and localize its sizeable backlog. On the eve of its newest game finally coming stateside, it seems like the next step for the series should be closing the gap between launches.
Speaking to Inverse, Sega Localization Producer Scott Strichart says the next thing that has to happen for the growth of the Yakuza franchise is simultaneous shipping. "We can't sit around and wait to launch a title like six to nine months after the Japanese release and expect to have the same kind of impact," Strichart says.
He acknowledges the cooperation this would require with Yakuza developer Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio, as well as the timeline adjustments, but Strichart believes that's the next step for Yakuza. The Yakuza series, as Inverse's interview lays out, struggled to find a foothold in the U.S. through most of its run. The big change came with 2017's Yakuza 0, which not only saw a new influx of fans, but the benefits of Atlus' localization efforts.
Now, Yakuza: Like a Dragon is a launch title for the next generation of Xbox. With an entry already poised to bring in some new players with a new, turn-based approach to Yakuza combat, 2020 might mark a new turning point for the series. Our own Reviews Editor Mike Williams certainly seemed impressed with what he saw last month.
Yakuza: Like a Dragon launches for PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X/S on Nov. 10, 2020. There is a PlayStation 5 version in the works as well, but that arrives a little later on March 2, 2021.