While it may not get localised with much regularity anymore, the Yakuza franchise is one of the bigger brands in Japan at the time of writing. However, it took a big risk on SEGA’s part to reap those long-term rewards, as the series initially started life as little more than a good intentioned gamble on the legendary publisher’s part.
“Originally, what we intended to do was to set out to create a game belonging to a genre that’s quite rare – and that was how the Yakuza series was born,” creator Toshihiro Nagoshi told Siliconera. “As to how we ended up bringing together all the elements that would eventually comprise the Yakuza series, well we looked at what’s out there in the market in terms of game universes, in terms of game genres, and what are all the different ways that gamers enjoy these titles.”
He continued: “At the time, in Japan there were already set notions as to what kinds of games would sell, and what kinds wouldn’t, and so what we wanted to do was to prove that it was possible to create something different, something fresh, and still do well. It was with those thoughts that we began the Yakuza game project.”
The always radiant developer concluded that the only way to concoct new and interesting properties is by taking risks. “Take a gamble on things, try and make it successful, and that’s how [you’re able to make] different games,” he explained. “Over time, doing so gave me the confidence that if you work on games with passion, it's possible to create interesting titles aimed at new markets.” If only the rest of the industry took note of Nagoshi’s words.