“We need to come up with a bit more of a plan on how to attract [American and European gamers].”
Interesting Kotaku article about a Famitsu interview with series creator, Toshihiro Nagoshi. According to him, the series situation in the West is better than before, but he ‘wouldn’t say it’s become a good situation’.
Kotaku’s article is not a complete translation of the interview, but gives us a good insight of how Nagoshi, and SEGA by default, currently thinks about the Western market and the Yakuza franchise.
Is the situation good? No, but it certainly is better than before.
Yakuza is still a niche game and, as much as SEGA would like it to appeal to more people, they are not willing to make a major overhaul of the series towards this, as, then, Japanese gamers would feel betrayed.
But as Nagoshi points out, since Yakuza has seen success elsewhere in Asia, perhaps, dependent on their approach, the game could do well worldwide. The main point of the interview is: they are willing to keep pushing the series forward in the West.
EDIT – Siliconera has translated the full interview. Nagoshi also points out that their female and younger userbase is increasing in Japan, compared to 10 years ago, on the release of Ryu Ga Gotoku 1, on PS2.
Questions about the potential for a smartphone game (Nagoshi’s not a fan but feels young people could enjoy it), and even talks about how great the positive reception for the series was during the Playstation Experience last year. The new goal of the series is to sell 1 million worldwide, and how he’d love to work on more JDramas and Movies but needs the right partners to work with.
Sounds like as long as we keep buying the series and keep picking up traction here in the west we’ll keep getting them. Hopefully Sega can expand their marketing campaign for Yakuza 0 as it’s a fantastic entry point into the series for new fans!