Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio on Judgment localization, New Yakuza starring Ichiban Kasuga, more

Comments from Toshihiro Nagoshi, Kazuki Hosokawa, and Daisuke Sato.


IGN Japan recently spoke to Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio head Toshihiro Nagoshi, Judgment producer Kazuki Hosokawa, and Yakuza series and Judgment producer Daisuke Sato, who share various tidbits on Judgment and the new Yakuza game starring Ichiban Kasuga.

Here are the notable tidbits:

  • Nagoshi does not consider Judgment to be a spin-off from the Yakuza series as “the characters from Yakuza do not appear in Judgment, and while it’s set in the same city district of Kamurocho, we wanted to make something different.”
  • Hosokawa was “a little worried that fans may be fed up of seeing the same location again” in Judgment, but the Yakuza series’ Kamurocho was used as it “has become a location the studio that we are familiar with,” because “it would suit the character and make the game much more fun to play,” and due to “cost and scheduling.”
  • Parts of Judgment began localization began about a year before the Japanese release, which allowed the western release to launch just six months after the Japanese release, according to Hosokawa. Nagoshi added that a simultaneous worldwide release was possible, but that from a business perspective there are so many big releases in the west that sales data takes time to properly forecast. “If Judgment sells well overseas then we will have the data so that if we do end up making a sequel, it may become possible to consider a simultaneous worldwide release next time,” Nagoshi said.
  • The localization for Judgment would be finished by now if they did not have to change the character model and actor for Kyohei Hamura. The western release is currently in QA.
  • A PC version of Judgment has yet to be decided, but other formats are being considered. “It’s not impossible, but I can’t say either way,” said Hosokawa.
  • There are “no plans at the moment” for a Yakuza game for Switch, according to Nagoshi.
  • Regarding the new Yakuza starring Ichiban Kasuga, Sato said, “I can’t go into detail yet, but in the near future we’ll be able to reveal something that will make you think, ‘Wow, that really does look different’. The continuity of the previous titles in the series still stands. We still have the Tojo Clan and the Omi Alliance yakuza organization, and when the game is released it will be set the appropriate number of years after the previous games. Unlike Judgment, this will be a continuation of the Yakuza series. But as for what’s new about it, you’ll just have to wait and see.”
  • Regarding some of the same locations from Judgment appearing in the new Yakuza game starring Ichiban Kasuga, Sato said, “You may see some of the same shops and bars, and if we can use some of the characters in a way that feels natural, it’s possible that we’ll see those appearances. I don’t intend to force it though. Judgment and Yakuza are separate series.”
  • Regarding Ichiban Ksuga, Sato said, “Kasuga is the polar opposite of Kiryu. They’re both strong men, but Kazuma Kiryu is a taciturn person who doesn’t speak without reason. He starts out in a coveted position within the yakuza, albeit an ill-fated one; he is seen as having a future within the yakuza, and we see him fall from grace and start a life of hardship. But even then, he has good friends who believe in him. On the other hand, Ichiban Kasuga starts out with absolutely nothing. He is not respected as a yakuza; he was born and raised on the streets of Kamurocho without any parents – well, Kiryu is also an orphan. But nobody looks up to Kasuga at all. He has to work his way up from rock bottom. We’re aiming for a character who contrasts starkly with Kiryu. I hope players will come to love him.”
  • Regarding the auditions for a supporting actress being held for the new Yakuza game starring Ichiban Kasuga, Nagoshi said, “I can’t say much. She is a character who is important to the story, but she’s not the heroine. She’s central to the story.” Sato added that, “There is a heroine, but she is a separate character alongside Ichiban Kasuga, and the audition is for a third member of their group.”
  • Nagoshi would say yes to Kazuma Kiryu being invited to Super Smash Bros., but does not think director Masahiro Sakurai would be interested.

Read the full interview at IGN.

Judgment launched for PlayStation 4 in December 2018 in Japan, and is due out in the Americas and Europe on June 25. The western release will modify Kyohei Hamura’s character model and Japanese voice actor.

The new Yakuza starring Ichiban Kasuga has yet to receive a release date in Japan, but will be released for PlayStation 4.

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