Sega’s long-running Yakuza franchise has traditionally taken approximately a year between the original Japanese launch and the localised release in the rest of the world. Yakuza 5, the latest in the main series, released in December of 2012, leaving fans wondering whether it would follow the trend of its predecessors. The credibility of this theory was already in doubt as we have heard nothing about the possibility of yet, but it took a further hit at the recent PAX event.
Yakuza Fan (citing jujujuli) reports that upon being questioned about the possibility a Sega representative at the event effectively scuppered hope by stating that “there were currently no plans to take it on“. The source further stated that it was not a priority due to a number of reasons, specifically the small fanbase and that it would entail a lengthy localisation process. Unfortunately, Sega’s decision makes sense as the series was never all that popular and has seen diminishing returns since the second iteration, with the latest failing to match the sales figures of even the seminal title in its native country, in spite of receiving a perfect 40/40 score from Famitsu.
Sad news indeed, but there is still some hope. On the one hand, Sony recently formed the Third Party Production team to help get third party games onto their systems, and there is no real reason that that should exclude the localisation process if enough noise is made about it. On the other, Operation Rainfall – the fan-led initiative that resulted in the US release of Xenoblade Chronicles, The Last Story and Pandora’s Tower – is currently running a poll to determine which game most fans want to see localised, which it will present to Sega at some point in the future. If you want to see the game on Western shores, it might do well to throw your support behind these campaigns.