A newly-released interview with Yakuza lead voice actor Takaya Kuroda and producer Daisuke Sato gives fans some more insight into the popular series.
SEGA Sammy recently invited IGDB to an exclusive interview with the duo, during which Kuroda and Sato were asked a variety of free-wheeling questions, including whether they ever thought the franchise would get as big as it has.
“We obviously wanted it to be a hit and thought it was an interesting story, but we couldn’t imagine that it would go on for over 10 years,” said Sato, series producer and Yakuza 3 and Yakuza Kenzan director. “At first we were thinking it would be nice if we could release three games.”
“I was really happy when I got called back to do the second game, and I remember thinking back then, that I thought it would be nice if we could do a trilogy,” said Kuroda, voice of series protagonist Kazuma Kiryu. “It makes me really happy that it’s gotten this big.”
Part of the series’ appeal outside of Japan has a lot to do with how heavily it deals with Japanese culture, Sato noted. “I believe it’s partly thanks to that it’s taking place in Japan, is made by Japanese people and is a reflection of Japanese society,” he said.
Sato also discussed how he feels localization and dubbing games can increase their appeal worldwide. Ryu Ga Gotoku Studios, creators of the Yakuza series, released their newest game, Judge Eyes, in December in Japan. The game is slated to release in the West later this year under the title Judgement, and will come with a dub.
“We definitely want more Western fans to play these games,” Sato said. “But for that to become a reality, we have to, of course, localize the story not only to English, but for example French, Italian, German and Spanish. And, of course, the voices as well. Just having it with Japanese sound and translated text isn’t good enough, so we’d need to dub it in various languages for it to reach a wider audience.”
Other questions included which game in the series is each man’s favorite, which character they like most, what a typical day is like for Sato, and how Kuroda got into voice acting, among several others.
“We were very happy being invited by SEGA Sammy to talk to Mr. Daisuke Sato and Mr. Takaya Kuroda, two of the leading driving forces behind the Yakuza games,” said Christian Frithiof, CEO of IGDB. “One of the ideas behind IGDB has always been to act as a bridge between gamers and the industry. Now we had the chance to act as a bridge between the East and the West, spreading awareness of this wonderful franchise.”
For those looking to get into the series, prequel game Yakuza 0 and the first game’s remake Yakuza Kiwami are available on both PlayStation 4 and PC. You can read oprainfall’s impression of each game respectively here and here.