Recently, Yakuza Studio head Toshihiro Nagoshi and Judgment producer Kazuki Hosokawa had an interview where they talked about the possibility of simultaneous releases for their games, as well as why Judgment got a dub. [Thanks, IGN!]
Here are the highlights:
Over the past few years, Sega has been closing the gap to bring Western releases out sooner. The Western release of Judgment is only about 6 months later than Japan. What is the thinking behind this strategy, and what have been the challenges?
Kazuki Hosokawa, Judgment producer: “Fans in the West would always ask Sega after each Yakuza release, ‘When will you bring this game to our country?!’ In the past we had to start the localization process after the Japanese version was already complete, which made it impossible to close that gap. With Judgment, we started localizing parts of the game about a year before the Japanese release, so that we were working in parallel, and that helped us reduce that lag to just six months.”
Toshihiro Nagoshi, Yakuza Studio head: “To be honest, in terms of scheduling, a simultaneous worldwide release is actually possible. It’s not that difficult. But from a business perspective, the Western market is so big that it takes time to properly forecast the sales data, and to be honest this is what causes the delay – it just can’t be helped. But if Judgment sells well overseas then we will have the data so that if we do end up making a sequel, it may become possible to consider a simultaneous worldwide release next time.”
Judgment is the first Yakuza Studio game since Yakuza 1 to get a fully voiced dub in the West. What was the reasoning behind that decision? Will future games get the same treatment?
Nagoshi: “The Yakuza series has finally reached a point in the West where we have a consistent fan base, even for the older titles, and the games are well received well critically, which I’m really happy about. Adding fully localized voice acting was one response to that, as a way to give the fans a new way to enjoy our game.”
Hosokawa: “When Sega of America asked whether we could localize the voices for Judgment, I was interested to try to see whether we could achieve it. But we’re also localizing the lip-sync, which really felt like a challenge! It’s expensive too, but we’re doing it. If we hadn’t had to change the character of Hamura right at the end, the localization would be mostly finished by now. We’re pretty much in QA now.”
Judgment is available in Japan for PlayStation 4. The game releases in North America and Europe on June 25, 2019.