Yakuza/Like a Dragon Was Originally ‘Flat Out Rejected’ by Sega

Yakuza/Like a Dragon Was Originally ‘Flat Out Rejected’ by Sega

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The Yakuza/Like a Dragon series may be a hit today but Sega originally “flat out rejected” it according to series creator Toshihiro Nagoshi.

Appearing on Weekly Ochiai, translated by Automaton, Nagoshi said the Sonic the Hedgehog publisher wanted to make family friendly games which would appeal to a large number of people in the early 2000s. He therefore struggled to get his game about the Japanese criminal underworld approved.

“This mindset [of appealing to the masses] wasn’t really leading to a solution, and I saw many game proposals gradually become watered down as producers bended over to change things the way management instructed them to. This is where everything started,” Nagoshi said.

“Of course, it was flat out rejected. After all, it was completely contrary to what I mentioned earlier about attracting the masses. Children wouldn’t be able to play it, and it wasn’t catered to women nor overseas audiences. In this sense, there was no way for it to be approved without resistance.”

Nagoshi persisted, however, and said it took three tries to eventually convince Sega management to let him make the first Yakuza game, and even then it wasn’t approved through traditional routes and was “quite forceful”.

Regardless, the game was developed by Sega’s CS1 Research and Development team, later renamed to the slightly catchier Ryū ga Gotoku Studio. Yakuza was released for PlayStation 2 in 2005 and flourished into a hit franchise for Sega, now including eight mainline games and myriad spin-offs.

In our 9/10 review of the latest, IGN said: “Sprawling, enthralling, and packed with dynamic brawling, Like a Dragon: Infinite Wealth isn’t just the best turn-based Like a Dragon game, it’s one of the greatest games in the entire series.”

Ryan Dinsdale is an IGN freelance reporter. He’ll talk about The Witcher all day.

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