Often billed as the ‘Japanese Grand Theft Auto‘, Sega’s Yakuza series has proved to be massively popular with fans in Japan and in June of this year the series celebrated 7.5 million worldwide sales. The games look at the struggle between various criminal factions (a ‘yakuza’ is a Japanese criminal organization) and offer plenty of meaty combat for players to sink their teeth into alongside huge cities and areas to explore. Plus, the Yakuza games don’t take themselves too seriously, with Yakuza 4 being famed for its karaoke mini-game.
Yakuza 5, released on PS3 in 2012, saw the Yakuza series in prime form. Although the gameplay was mostly the same as its predecessors, Yakuza 5 included five protagonists all in different circumstances (for example, one is a taxi driver, one is in jail, and one is trying to make it as an idol). That ambition was duly rewarded, with Yakuza 5 selling over half a million copies within three month of hitting Japanese store shelves. It also received a perfect score from Japanese publication Famitsu.
As most would figure, anticipation for a new Yakuza is higher than it has ever been, and Sega was finally ready to whet their fans’ appetites. During Sony’s Tokyo Game Show conference, the publisher announced Yakuza 6.
Unfortunately, Sega didn’t show off any Yakuza 6 footage or gameplay details, though the company did reveal that the game will be a PS4 exclusive slated for a fall 2016 release in Japan. This is unsurprising given that most of the games in the series have been PlayStation exclusives (apart from Yakuza 1 and 2 re-releases for Wii U), but more importantly such an early announcement gives fans enough time to pick up new PS4 consoles.
Unexpected or not, Yakuza 6‘s PS4 exclusivity is still a good thing for Sony. The company isn’t exactly finding it difficult to sell PS4s anywhere in the world (least of all Japan) but it could certainly sell more units in the territory. Smartphone gaming is incredibly popular in Japan, something which is preventing Sony (and Microsoft, which has always struggled in the region) from selling as many consoles as they’d like. Hopefully, the announcement of Yakuza 6, along with the PS4’s Japanese price cut (which was also announced at TGS), will give them a better shot at taking mobile gaming’s crown.
As for when Yakuza 6 will come to the West, it’s currently unclear whether or not the game will be localized at all. Yakuza 5 still hasn’t been released in the West (Sega says it will be out on PS3 by the end of the year) and so the sales of that will likely determine whether Yakuza 6 stateside.
Yakuza 6 will be released in fall 2016 (in Japan), exclusively on PS4.