“If there’s one thing about Yakuza that these last few months have taught people,” I thought as I sat at lunch on Monday, “It’s that the fans are a force to take seriously…usually.” Fans can be the biggest allies and proponents of games that may not be the huge, multi-million sellers like (insert generic FPS here), or (insert additional generic FPS here). They can create amazing successes for games that were never expected to have them – looking at you, Valkyria Chronicles – and they can just as easily do the opposite, in some cases.
But more than anything, most fans just want to be heard. Fans want interaction, and to be responded to. So let’s begin this blog post by jumping right in to one of the biggest things fans have been asking about: the content.
Yakuza 3 is huge. Besides exploring Tokyo and Okinawa, you can also visit restaurants, pick up ramen at a local convenience store, go golfing, bowling, fishing, karaoke, or bust some heads in a local street fight.
As someone who enjoyed Shenmue, my love for Yakuza grows in knowing that some of the people who developed the original Shenmue games also work on Yakuza now. The similarity in feel between the two is no coincidence – and the epic feel of exploration, and Japanese culture, that the game offers are things you won’t find anywhere else. I’m also a big fan of playing darts while drunk – the extra level of difficulty is quite entertaining, besides being notably safer in Yakuza 3’s virtual world than it is in real life. (Note: I do not condone playing Darts while intoxicated. You’ll probably take someone’s eye out.)
Also, we’d like to make special note that while not everything from the Japanese version made it to the western shores, our community team has been – and will be– reading, compiling, and passing all of that feedback upwards here at SEGA. I can’t say more than that presently, but know that you are being heard, and we’ll make sure of that for you. To clarify additionally, as has been mentioned: Hostesses are in the game, and you can take them out on dates, build relationships, and sing karaoke with them to your heart’s content.
As Yakuza goes out the door and into the homes of hundreds of thousands of fans, I’d also like to take a moment to give some thanks to the people that really deserve it – and that’s you guys. It goes to the people who pushed from the beginning to show SEGA how much they wanted this game here. To those who post in the comments sections encouraging us, offering bright and helpful viewpoints even when the going got rough. And finally, to those who continue to support this PS3 exclusive by picking up the game, and in doing so give the franchise the legs on which to stand.
Know that we appreciate the support so many of you have already given to this series – and that we are now, and will continue to listen to your feedback.
That said – here’s to Yakuza 3!