Toshihiro Nagoshi is the creator of the critically acclaimed Yakuza franchise. While the game is more popular in Japan than in Western markets, it is still highly regarded by many PlayStation 3 owners. Which is why it should only come as good news that Nagoshi has announced the formation of his new studio, Studio Yakuza and two new games for the franchise.
The first of the two Yakuza games is Yakuza: Black Panther 2 for the PSP. Black Panther 2 is the direct sequel to the PSP Yakuza title of the same name and retains many common elements from the title, including main character Tatsuya Ukyou. In total there will actually be four main characters in the game.
With Black Panther 2, Nagoshi hopes to bring in younger gamers to the franchise. This likely doesn’t mean that the mature-rated series will tone itself down for a handheld release, just that Nagoshi hopes to open up the franchise to a larger market, following in the shoes of Metal Gear Solid creator Hideo Kojima with his PSP title, Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker. Nagoshi states that nearly half of the people who bought the original Black Panther were newcomers to the franchise, and that a significant amount were also female. Black Panther 2 will be playable at the Tokyo Game Show this September.
The second title, and one that should appease many fans of the franchise was the announcement of Yakuza 5. While no details where given yet, Nagoshi did confirm that the game is still in the early stages of development – as SEGA only recently decided to green light the title. The Yakuza franchise has always been a PlayStation exclusive, so it is highly likely that Yakuza 5 will release on the PS3. This would make it the fourth Yakuza available on the PS3, following its predecessor’s Yakuza 3, Yakuza 4 and Yakuza: Of The End, the latter of which has yet to see a release outside of Japan.
While Studio Yakuza does plan to have these titles out in the near future, gamers probably shouldn’t get their hopes up for a release too soon. The studio currently has their hands full with the development of Binary Domain, though with TGS coming up soon – chances are gamers will have something to look forward to regarding both titles.
For Xbox 360 owners hoping to get a taste of the Yakuza franchise, it would appear you’re out of luck. When Nagoshi was originally showing Yakuza to the various platform holders none of them took interest – until Sony decided that the title could be worth investing in.
Are you ready for more Yakuza?