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No Western Yakuza 3. Sega = Clueless



Sega’s US marketing department said they are not going to bring Yakuza 3 to the west:

The reason as to why they won’t be bringing the game over is simple: it won’t sell, he told me. They have a firm stance to believe that would be the case, too. Yakuza 2 has only sold around 40k copies in America on the PS2. The numbers for the original Yakuza aren’t much better.

Sega is wildly out of touch with western gamers.


As a publisher, you really couldn’t kill your sales any more by beating customers away with stick. I don’t care how good your game is; if it’s only on PS2, the press will ignore it and the western enthusiast market won’t buy it. This may not be the most rational thing in the world, but that’s how it is and how it has been.

Even Final Fantasy XII, which back at it’s release, was one of the biggest, hottest, most reputable series in all of video games, was mostly ignored because it was on old-gen hardware. And that was released in late 2006, when the PS2 still had a small shred of enthusiast mindshare left. Yakuza 2 came out in late 2008, long after any enthusiast gamers were remotely interested in buying new PS2 games.

Yakuza 2 wasn’t even one of the few PS2 titles that actually rings up new-unit sales by catering to a certain non-enthusiast nichce like Guitar Hero or Iron Man. Yakuza caters to exactly the type of gamer who stopped buying PS2 games the day after the PS3 was released.

Yakuza 2 was a better game than Sega’s other late 2008 game: Valkyria Chronicles. The difference was, Valkyria Chronicles was on a current-gen system, and therefore was able to get strong word of mouth buzz, and half-decent sales.

What else is there to say: Sega is clueless, and it’s unfortunate to see such quality software and entertainment be buried by such bone-headed business decisions.


Published on July 29th, 2009 under

Yakuza 3 tops Japanese sales charts



One half of Sega Nerds’ forum charts duo, Aki-at, sends us word that Yakuza 3 has just had a very, very successful opening week in Japan. In its opening day, it sold 113,000 copies and ended its first week on retail shelves selling 178,000 copies and placing it atop of this week’s sales charts, according to Famitsu.

Looking back at how the previous two games in the series faired in their opening weeks, puts Yakuza 3 smack dab in the middle. It sold right around 50,000 copies more than Yakuza but is still well under the 100,000 Yakuza 3 reached in its first week debut. However, that’s not a knock on Yakuza 3, though. You have to keep in mind the install base for the PlayStation 2 at the time was considerably larger than what the PlayStation 3 is currently at.

We just hope that with the overwhelming amount of positive press from Western media and the great reception from gamers, Sega will be forced to bring it our way, even with all the possible nonessential cursing.

[Thanks for the tip, Aki-At!]

Published on March 13th, 2008 under , , ,

Yakuza 3 sells 113,000 copies on day one



According to Shinobi, Yakuza 3 (Ryu ga Gotoku Kenzan!) has sold 113,000 units on its first day of release in Japan. This already exceeds Virtua Fighter 5’s life time total. The game has already made a name for itself on the Playstation 3 top 10 first day sales charts:

  1. Dynasty Warriors 6 170,000 units
  2. Devil May Cry 4 140,000 units
  3. Gundam Musou 117,000 units
  4. Yakuza 3 113,000 units
  5. Winning Eleven 2008 107,000 units
  6. Hot Shots Golf 5 103,000 units
  7. Gran Turismo 5 Prologue 50,000 units
  8. Bladestorm: The Hundred 40,000 units
  9. Disgaea 3 40,000 units
  10. Assassin’s Creed 20,000 units

Lets hope that Valkrie of the Battlefield performs well too. Now we wait for Yakuza 2, then hopefully this one.

[From the forums]

Published on March 7th, 2008 under , , , ,

Yakuza 3 hits Japanese TV


Okay, actually this is the second Japanese Yakuza 3 commercial, but who’s countin’ anyway, right? Right? It doesn’t appear that this commercial showcases a whole lot from the game aside from a bunch of Japanese speak. Either way, this game is gonna be badass, that’s for sure.

Published on March 4th, 2008 under , , ,

Nagoshi does signing for Ryu ga Gotoku Kenzan



You got to admit, Toshihiro Nagoshi is a talented man. But I’m I the only one that thinks he looks like some bad guy straight out of Streets of Rage with that outfit?

I wish I was at this event. First I’d take a picture with Nagoshi, post it on the Sega Nerds Myspace to make you all jealous! Then I would talk to him about tanning and fashion. After getting a few beers in us we would act out Super Monkey Ball 2 in real life, of course he’ll be AiAi and i’ll be MeeMee.

I demand a signing event for Yakuza 2 in the United States. I would so be there in a heartbeat.

[Source Game Watch Impress via Kotaku ]

Published on February 1st, 2008 under , ,

Ryu ga Gotoku Kenzan! Demo Impressions



As the release of Ryu ga Gotoku Kenzan! quickly approaches from over the distant horizon, Playstation 3 owners who live in the Land of the Rising Sun have been treated to an influx of downloadable content which Sega hopes will show the greatness of their latest big title.

With the release of two separate demos, as well as a trailer which stretches to over four minutes long, it’s clear that Sega is putting a good amount of press and hype into this, the newest game from Toshihiro Nagoshi. Not a surprising fact, as Ryu ga Gotoku Kenzan! has the largest budget of any game the company’s produced since Shenmue on the Dreamcast.

Ryu ga Gotoku Kenzan!, or Yakuza 3 as it will most likely be titled in the U.S. and Europe, takes a different path, stylistically, than it’s predecessors. Prior titles in the series have all featured a contemporary city setting, while Kenzan! is set 400 years in the past. The storyline remains somewhat of a mystery, but general gameplay elements remain the same as they were in previous Ryo ga Gotoku (Yakuza) games.

As for the downloadable conent- the two demos and trailer are only available to Japanese PS3 owners, or any other PS3 owner who happens to be clever enough to bluff their way into a Japanese Playstation Network account.

The trailer is a fairly long mix of cinematic and gameplay footage set to the finest in Japanese hip-hop. About halfway through the trailer, Sega shows off the game’s impressive roster of voice-actors, as well as the impressive facial rendering of the in game characters. But enough about that garbage, let’s talk about the demos.

The first demo of Ryu ga Gotoku is a lengthy one in which the player gets to go through quite a bit of what Kenzan! is all about. Beginning with scrolling text to get exposition out of the way, the demo opens with the main character, Kiryu, speaking with a man in a kimono inside a typical Japanese home. My Japanese is rusty, but it seems the man give Kiryu a brief explanation of his surroundings, and the map feature, while pointing out destinations of interest in this area of the city.

Once the conversation is over the player is free to go wherever he wants. From here Kiryu exits onto the bustling streets of a 1605 Japanese city. For the remainder of the demo Kiryu strolls about town talking to other inhabitants, bumping into people, getting yelled at by street thugs, suffering con-women who are looking for a quick cash-grab, and fighting off groups of slimeballs with bad attitudes. Anyone who’s played a previous Yakuza game will feel right at home.

Further along into the demo you get a glimpse of the level-up system used by Kenzan!. In previous titles you’d build experience and power up, learning new moves. This is still true, as after a big battle with some con-men Kiryu leveled up, gaining more soul power and HP, however, this gave him no new battle moves. Instead, the game uses a system in which Kiryu observes something in nature, and through introspection and observation creates a new fighting method.

For example: Approaching a shrine Kiryu speaks to an old man who points out to him the temple cat. Together Kiryu and the man watch the cat for a few moments. If the player approaches the cat further Kiryu begins to watch him more closely, and after a moment a cinematic will begin in which the cat is lazily licking himself. A rat approaches and sniffs the air near the cat for a brief period of time as the cat seemingly takes no notice. Suddenly the cat turns and strikes, pouncing atop the hapless rat.

Meanwhile, a button has appeared on the screen with a very quick timer circling it. If the player presses the appropriate button in time the cat catches the mouse and runs off with it. Then the player has a choice of 3 paintings to paint. If the player has observed the attack thoughtfully and chooses the correct painting Kiryu is successful, and a new attack is learned.

Another change from the previous titles’ gameplay is within the actual battle system itself. The game uses the same brawler style controls as the first and second games, however I feel it’s improved greatly over the past titles. One improvement is the ability to change weapons on the fly.

Triangle and square are, like the previous games, your standard attacks, while circle grapples with enemies. In the first two Yakuza games, if you wished to change or equip a weapon for Kiryu you had to open the menu, select the weapon, equip it, and exit the menu. This effectively broke up the gameplay. In Kenzan!, however, you equip weapons and health items to the directional pad buttons. Equip a knife to the left D-Pad button and if mid-fight you want to pull out a knife, simply press the button.In the demo I started out with a small dagger equipped, but passed it up during my first fight so that I could beat people senseless with my pink, paper umbrella…

Technically speaking, Kenzan! strives to surpass it’s PS2 counterparts, and succeeds in every way. From minimizing load times (The game only loaded once while I played), to improvements in sound engineering, and of course, visuals.

Most obvious of the technical improvements is the update in visuals. The game looks simply excellent. The environments are some of the most detailed I’ve ever seen, with lanterns hanging and glowing, animals everywhere, humans milling about in finely detailed kimonos, flags waving off in the distance, water flowing through irrigation channels, men grilling yaki-tori outside of shops, bamboo curtains clicking in the breeze… To cover all of the tiny details would be impossible. The last time I was so impressed with realistic environments in videogames was way back with the previously mentioned Shenmue.

While technically not the best looking PS3 game I’ve ever seen, Kenzan! comes through in a big way for one simple reason: the details. This game has so much attention to detail that it just comes off as a wonderful experience to watch, and the sense of immersion that this fact lends is something that’s certainly rare in the medium.

The demo ends after you’ve completed your missions in the area, and in a final cinematic Kiryu is introduced to the main female protagonist of Kenzan!. A bit more of the plot is revealed and the demo wraps itself up.

The second, smaller demo, is a mix of mini-games that will be found in the game’s cities as Kiryu makes his way through the story. From an old Japanese game akin to Rock-Paper-Scissors, to the Love-Parlors of the previous Yakuza games, Kenzan! seems to have a large array of distractions to flesh out the game world even further.

I spent some time with the hosts in the Love-parlor games, and tried my hand at some other mini-games, and they all play out as you’d expect them to. Make the right gambles, make the right choices, and you get rich and get some chicks. Make the wrong moves and you become poorer and lonelier.

Also in the second demo are some quick battle situations. Since I’ve already gone into the details of these when I wrote about the first demo, I’ll simply touch on swordplay real quick.

In the second demo you get a chance to wield some katana. Fighting is predominantly the same as when simply duking it out with your fists. Kiryu’s got a quick attack, a hard attack, and a grapple. The thing that struck me about the sword combat is how fluid it was. Kiryu tends to flow through enemies with the kind of grace you’d expect from a master swordsman. And he looks pretty slick, at that.

The game’s got a good amount of blood flying around, and if the previous titles are anything to go by, they’ll be a good amount of swearing as well. This being said, I feel everyone should know that this game will almost definitely be rated Mature, like the others in the series. Definitely not for kids.

The second demo ends whenever you’ve completed your mission (either love-parlor, minigames, or battles) and you’re free to replay immediately again from the main menu.

The improvements over past titles that I’ve seen in these demos seem to me to show the rethinking of the franchise on the part of Sega, and if other gameplay elements are developed and implemented as well as these, then I feel Kenzan! will certainly live up to the hype.

I end my time with Kenzan! feeling excited about this game, but also, hugely disappointed that an American or European release has thus far been unconfirmed. Kenzan! seems to keep alive the good aspects of Yakuza, and Ryu ga Gotoku 2, while improving on so many levels the things that weren’t quite remarkable.

While Kenzan! seems to hold true to the series’ roots, the demo also shows that Sega promises to introduce many new and engaging elements into the game’s formula that have me very excited.
As long as the story comes through as compelling as it seems from these cinematics, I feel Sega could have a big winner on their hands.

Lucky Japanese gamers will get the full game when Sega releases it in March. Here’s hoping they won’t take too long to send it over our horizons.

Published on January 10th, 2008 under , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Sega set to release Yakuza 3 demo soon


Yakuza 3 demo

According to everyones favourite German website, Gamefront, Sega look set to release the demo of Ryu ga Gotoku Kenzan! (aka Yakuza 3) on the Japanese Playstation Network.

Yakuza 3 is one of Sega’s most eagerly anticipated games, and from the videos shown, the game does look like it’s going to be pretty damn cool. 

The demo should be released sometime mid January, though no official date has been set.  Also, so far, no demo has been set for release on the US or European markets.  So if you can’t wait, best to try and setup a Japanese gamers account on your PS3s, and learn the way of the Samurai.

The full game is dated for release, March 6 2008, in Japan.

TGS07: Yakuza 3 video-impressions


Yakuza 3

One of Sega’s biggest hitters at TGS this year was Yakuza 3, but unlike NiGHTS and Valkyrie of the Battlefield, Yakuza 3 was not playable.  Instead everyone had to watch an extended trailer of the game. 

Unfortunately, using cameras in the mini theatre was totally forbidden, and it was kind of hard to secretly film it.  So I won’t be able to show you exactly what I saw.

The Yakuza 3 booth, was closed off, to help show the video better (obviously), but the outside was looking pretty cool.  With large image of the main characters from the game, lit up, and just in front of the image was an over-layer  painted to look like bamboo.

Yakuza 3   Yakuza 3   Yakuza 3

Then to one side of this, was the dark entrance, guarded by several ninja types.  No, not Samurais (as you would expect), but the guys were dressed more like ninjas.

Once inside, we were sat upon benches, and looked upon a small stage, with a vale across it.  Lights came on, on the stage, and through the vale we could see a geisha girl.  The geisha said something, no doubt profound, but I couldn’t understand it.  Then the vale lifted, to see her better,  she then spoke some more, and walked off stage.

Then at the back of the stage, there was a screen, on which the extended trailer was played.

Yakuza 3

I have seen several trailers online, and the one at TGS is nothing like the ones I have seen before.  The TGS trailer had moments that are the same, as others, but really it showed a lot more of what the story was about, and what was going to happen in the game.

The TGS trailer made so much more sense, than ones I had seen previously.  It was almost as though Sega wanted to show us most of the story.

The trailer showed what happens at the start of the game, to get the ball rolling, and shows off some of the events that lead to Kazuma’s (who you play as) fight with Musashi (a real-life legendary Samurai/swordsman).

Yakuza 3

The cut-scenes they show look absolutely amazing, and the sword fighting and choreography was outstanding.  I’m a pretty big fan of martial arts films and Japanese samurai films, and what I saw was just as good as the movies.  The video also showed a fair amount of in game action.  This is where I feel the game could become faulty….

When running through the town, Kazuma’s movements looked pretty good, but you could see him knock into people, and the characters just slid to one side, and some of the movements looked rather wooden.

We also saw some in game fighting, against multiple enemies.  The fighting here looked kind of …old, and very basic.  Much like (say) Sword of the Beserk, on the Dreamcast, where you would just tap attack and Gutsu would hit out in a set sequence of slashes, at enemies.

This type of play is fine on older games, but Sega have been promising a good combat system with this game, and while the game is no doubt still not finished, what I saw did stray from their idea of “good combat.”

However, my fears could be wrong.  Because they did also show some one on one fights, and those fights looked damn good.  The one on one looked smoother and generally slicker, than when fighting against multiple enemies.


From watching the movie, I really cannot wait to see more of this game.  It looks so damn good.  The trailers I have seen before, are not a patch on the TGS one.  So if you are impressed with what you have seen… well, you aint seen nothing yet, baby.

I just hope the combat system is refined a bit more, and some movement, around towns, becomes less wooden.  But overall, including in-game footage, this is one to get excited about.

Display Impression: 8
Graphics: 9
Sound: 9 (Going on the music from the demo tape)
Controls: N/A
Overall (Anticipation): 9

Yakuza 3


Published on September 27th, 2007 under , , , , ,

TGS 2007: Day one overview


TGS Big sega sign 

Well hello there fellow Sega Nerdians.  It is I Graham, and I have just finished for the day at Tokyo Game Show.

It was a worrying time for a while, as we were told at one point we wouldn’t be allowed Press Passes this year (another sucky thing about not being paid for this job!).  However, I managed to use my cunning, guile and my amazing charms to get myself tickets for all 4 days.  So after flashing my collection of thongs at the lady, and blinding her, I managed to nab a pass, and got into the show.

Right now, I’m incredibly tired and hungry – walking around for some 9 hours definitely wears a hole in your socks!  So because of this, I have decided to give you guys a very quick overview of my experiences today.  A quick guide to some of the games I played, and some brief impressions.

But do not worry, over the next couple of days, I shall definitely be bringing you the goods, with plenty of videos, pictures and honest opinions on the upcoming games from Sega, plus some big games from some other companies - and a few smaller ones.

What did I see/do today?

Well, I’ll run through the main games I saw.  First off I had – HAD – to rush to the NiGHTS booth.  Hell yeah.

I’m not going to lie, using the wiimote is actually quite tricky.  But using the analogue is perfect, the game looks really, feels good, but I couldn’t hear the music, too much noise around.  It plays a little different to the original, but I’ll go into more detail later.

I saw a magnificent (and actually quite long), video of Yakuza 3, which showed off tons of action, cutscenes etc…  The game looks very cool, very violent… and I still don’t know who the main character is.  You see a fight between Musashi Miyamoto and Kazuma (I think it was him), but then the main guy seems to say his name is Musashi Miyamoto.  I’m not sure though, they were speaking very fast, in a language I don’t understand.  But I’m excited.

Valkyrie of the Battlefield seems to have recieved a name change, the big posters and signs, and in-game titles all said ‘Gallian Chronicles.’  Oh it’s looking great by the way.

Not all great for Sony fans… don’t get angry now, but Seaman 2 looks abysmal.  I’m being serious when I say the game looks like it should be on the DS….

No, I really am being serious.

I also got to play on Sega Rally for the PSP and PS3, the guy said I was the first person he’d seen that day finish first in a race.  Virtua Fighter 5, it seems, is actually due for a Japanese release.  There was some confusion in one of the other articles, where someone said that VF5 would not get a Japan release at all.  But if it’s not, then it’s very strange showing off the game, with arcade stick, and having a load of Japanese training manuals around.  Also on the cards was a lovely bought of Ghost Squad - the wiimote feels great.  And just to please Ryan, I also got to play on the new Sega Cats game for the DS…

Well I did do a lot more today, saw some great things, but I shall cover them all, in full, a little later on.  So stay tuned Nerds.

TGS07: Yakuza 3 trailer is magnificent


Sega’s Yakuza series is highly cinematic, so much so that an actual full-length movie directed by Takashi Miike is in the works. Unlike the rest of the series, however, you won’t play in modern-day Japan in this prequel. This time, you will play in 1605 during the Edo era.

No idea if Sega plans on bringing over Yakuza 2 anywhere outside Japan. Same goes with Yakuza 3. So you can call this a tease of a game you might not get. Well there is importing.

[Thanks for the tip, Yu Suzuki]

Published on September 20th, 2007 under , , ,

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