In a long interview with EDGE, series creator Toshihiro Nagoshi revealed that he originally offered both Nintendo and Microsoft the Yakuza franchise before going and partnering with Sony on it.
This weird episode further explains how the games industry works, with titles that one day don’t look like worthy of the support of a big publisher and the other turn into some of the hottest brands around.
“I’ve never said this before, but while we released this game with Sony, I’d done presentations about it to Microsoft and Nintendo,” Nagoshi said. “Back then they said ‘No we don’t want it.’ Now they say, ‘We want it!’ (laughs) They didn’t understand the reason why I created it.”
He also claimed that it was quite tough to convince SEGA itself to produce such a mature and controversial title, and that he had to find a way back in the days when the publisher was merging with Sammy in order to do it.
“My bosses took some convincing. I did a presentation twice, and didn’t get approval. (…) Sega was struggling for cash and was very close to bankruptcy, so it merged with Sammy,” Nagoshi recalled.
“As soon as it happened, I went to see the new owner and presented the game to him, looking for his approval Professionally, this was highly irregular and quite wrong. But I knew if the owner said ‘yes’, it would be good for the entire company. (…) I got his approval, but our CEO was really mad about it (laughs). He said it was unfair.”
Talking about the future, he added that his desire is to bring the next chapter in the Yakuza saga, the so called Ryu Ga Gotoku New Project, because “by introducing a new and more current systems, I’d like to increase the number of players. And if I do that, I can re-introducing Kiryu-san to some new fans.”
Hopefully, after the PC fans, even Xbox consumers and perhaps those on Nintendo Switch might be playing a game in the Yakuza series in the future.