Nintendo and Microsoft Passed on Yakuza

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Sega's Yakuza franchise first debuted on the PlayStation 2, and has since gone on to become one of the company's most consistently well-received IPs, spawning a number of sequels, spinoffs, and remakes. For most of its life, Yakuza has been synonymous with the PlayStation brand, and in fact, the recently released Yakuza 6: The Song of Life is a PS4 exclusive, but as it turns out, the franchise's history could have been much different.

In an interview with Edge magazine, Yakuza series creator Toshihiro Nagoshi revealed that the series was also pitched to both Microsoft and Nintendo at some point. According to Nagoshi, neither Microsoft nor Nintendo wanted Yakuza for their consoles, with Nagoshi saying, "They didn't understand the reason why I created it." Due to a lack of interest on the part of Microsoft and Nintendo, the original Yakuza ended up being a PS2 exclusive.

If things went differently, one has to wonder if Yakuza 6: The Song of Life would have released for Nintendo Switch and Xbox One as well as PS4, but we can only guess. Considering how niche of an audience the original Yakuza games had - Nagoshi admits in the same interview that it was made only with male Japanese gamers in mind - it's not surprising that Microsoft and Nintendo passed on it. However, the franchise has since become a larger success, especially with recent critically-acclaimed releases like Yakuza 6 and 0, so it's possible the companies are regretting their decision.

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Yakuza 0 in particular seems to have helped the Yakuza franchise become more mainstream and well-known. That entry in the series stands as the highest-rated Yakuza game to date, and sold well enough that stores were struggling to keep it in stock at the time of its release.

In the past, we've seen Yakuza games sometimes venture to other platforms, but only in very rare circumstances. For example, Yakuza 0 was ported to PC, and the HD re-releases of the first two games in the series came to Wii U (only in Japan).

With the Yakuza series having gained more popularity in western markets with its more recent entries, the possibility of it coming to different platforms seems more likely than before. In fact, there have already been rumblings that Yakuza 6 could come to PC. At the time of this writing, though, the only way to experience the entirety of the Yakuza franchise is on PlayStation consoles.

Source: Edge (via Kotaku)

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