Sunday, September 29, 2013

Goddamnit Sega - Yakuza 5 Localization "On Hold"

So, you guys like Sega news, right?  Well, how about Sega non-news?  Is that also good?  Because that's what this amounts to, really.  Sega's CCO recently stated that Yakuza Ishin is getting all their man-power to ensure it makes the PS4 launch, meaning things like localizing Yakuza 5 simply aren't on the table for now.  As in the game that's already been out in Japan for just under a year (released last December), there's been absolutely no work done on a localization for it in that year.  Presumably because they started on Ishin right away, but still, that's a bit egregious.  Also more than a little worrying considering this is fucking Sega we're talking about here.  But it's not like Yakuza 3 didn't take its sweet time getting over here either, so it's not exactly unprecedented.

Yakuza Ishin, if you weren't aware, is another game that goes back to the era of Japan where Samurai still wandered the lands, much like Yakuza Kenzan! which...well, you know how that story ends.  Or rather, you probably don't since it was never ever released outside of Japan.  So I'm not exactly buoyed by the news that they're working on a game that is potentially going to stay inside of Japan for its entire lifespan instead of localizing a game that could have and should see a release in the rest of the world.  There have been rumblings that it'll get localized, sure.  Potentially by Sony's new Third Party Productions division instead of Sega proper, but maybe even by Sega.  Or maybe by Atlus USA since that's definitely a possibility now.  It would definitely be nice, and a boon for PS4 and Vita both since the game is releasing on the PS4 and will at least be Remote Play-able on the Vita as well, if not boasting some other sort of functionality on top of that.  Not to mention the PS4 will be wanting for games in the first year or so as all new systems are (especially since it can't rely on backwards compatibility) so a Yakuza game to ease into the system would be very good.

Of course, that's all considering whether or not it makes it outside of Japan and just how long it'll take.  It's launching alongside the PS4 in Japan and we get the PS4 a little bit earlier on top of that.  That's sort of the key point in the matter here, and it's expressed through a line that absolutely just...kills me to read because it's so absurd when you think about it.
Nagoshi explained that due to the Yakuza team's size, they decided to pass up working on a port of Y5 to focus solely on Ishin. Nagoshi feels that he and his team "owe it to PlayStation fans" for Ishin to be a PS4 launch title, "even if it means a bit of pressure."
Emphasis mine, obviously.  If nothing, that's ridiculously telling of Sega's attitude towards the whole situation, since he says "Playstation Fans" when this is really only for Japan, are you fucking kidding me?  That is the specific situation here - this is a game being finished up for the Japanese PS4 launch and -only that-, but you're saying you owe it to "Playstation Fans" to do that?  The point I'm clearly leading to is that there are Playstation Fans everywhere outside of Japan and they fucking know this by now.  Their constant lack of acknowledgement is frustrating, and is definitely at least somewhat the reason for their lackluster sales in the West.  There's no guarantee that a Sega game you like will be continued and if it is, there's no guarantee that you'll be able to play it, which tends to stay the purchasing hand in the first place.  It happened with Phantasy Star, it happened with Valkyria Chronicles and it seems to be happening with Yakuza here (could argue that it already has with Kenzan! and Black Panther series) and it's hurting Sega far more than anything else.  Pick a side of the fence and stick with it.

And it's not like it'd take much effort to make the Yakuza series seem like it's going to be around in other regions.  Advertising is crucial, of course and they did a lot of that with 4, but it didn't seem to really take which is unfortunate because 4's advertisement was grand.  That had a lot to do with the residual distaste of Sega that clearly still lingers today, however.  All you need to do, if you're Sega, is announce that the Yakuza 1 & 2 HD Remaster is getting localized (Physical and/or Digital, I suppose.  Would prefer Physical, but I'll take what I can fucking get) and then get Yakuza 3 and 4 on the Playstation store with a bundle version of the two as well.  ($40 individually, $60 for both+the few bits of DLC that came out for them or something, maybe even a super bundle of all four games)  Then announce that Yakuza 5 is indeed getting localized and point to those previous efforts to show that you can get the whole Yakuza experience on Playstation 3 in order to be prepared for the launch of 5.  Punctuates the lead-in and you suddenly have a series that is expansive and crazy but accessible to anyone because it's just two purchases (or maybe even one) has it all right there on a single console.  No muss, no fuss, it's all just there for you to enjoy.

If you'd do all that and also work out with TPP to localize Ishin (or Restoration as it'll probably be called) then it creates an exponential effect, because it establishes a sense of security.  It's suddenly a series that you -can- get into because it's going to keep coming and it's going to keep coming out -here-.  Do a little focused advertising on top of that (maybe a goddamn commercial, yeah?) and you'll have an entire new pool of customers to dip into who will grow to appreciate the product as the quality work that it is.  That I even have to figure this out and explain it, however, is the height of frustration since it's very obvious things that they could do to bolster goodwill.  And if Sega needs anything at this point and beyond, it's goodwill because without that, they could release Call of fucking Duty and it'd sell like shit.  Maybe one of these days they'll figure it out themselves.

by the way, still waiting on word for Phantasy Star Online 2 which will literally print money in the West

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