Like a Dragon: Infinite Wealth producer Hiroyuki Sakamoto touched on the challenges that come with bringing the Yakuza series to a Western audience while staying "true" to the original vision for the game.
Speaking to TechRadar Gaming at a hands-on preview event, Sakamoto talked about the importance of preserving an "authentic experience" for players.
"When we develop the original Japanese version of the game we don't try to take any suggestions from outside. We reach in and focus on what we want to make and try to stay true to what we want. We don't want outside feedback or opinions to influence our decision-making."
The Yakuza series' goofy yet heartfelt nature is a big part of its unique appeal, and Like a Dragon: Infinite Wealth is no different. At the preview, I was able to see for myself that the wacky yet earnest spirit of the Yakuza series is alive and well. Heartfelt conversations were punctuated by oddball minigames and hilarious yet compelling turn-based battles. Even after only several hours of play, it was clear to me that the spirit of Yakuza has by no means been diluted for Infinite Wealth.
That said, Sakamoto was keen to stress that developer Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio takes the localization process seriously.
"We consider for the international audience how to localize the game towards people that don't read or understand Japanese. We really work hard to try and communicate those very nuanced Japanese terms [so] you all can get that authentic experience."
Yakuza is famous for staying true to its origins, a feat that helps give the games their charm while keeping their characters grounded. The predecessor to Infinite Wealth, Yakuza: Like a Dragon, does this spectacularly, conveying a living, breathing world that earned it a place on our best RPGs list. If the preview is anything to go by, Infinite Wealth could well pull this off with even more panache.
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Cat Bussell is a Staff Writer at TechRadar Gaming. Hailing from the crooked spires of London, Cat is an experienced writer and journalist. As seen on Wargamer.com, TheGamer.com, and Superjumpmagazine.com, Cat is here to bring you coverage from all corners of the video game world. An inveterate RPG maven and strategy game enjoyer, Cat is known for her love of rich narratives; both story-driven and emergent.
Before migrating to the green pastures of games journalism, Cat worked as a political advisor and academic. She has three degrees and has studied and worked at Cambridge University, University College London, and Queen Mary University of London. She's also been an art gallery curator, an ice cream maker, and a cocktail mixologist. This crash course in NPC lifestyles uniquely qualifies her to pick apart only the juiciest video games for your reading pleasure.
Cat cut her teeth on MMOs in the heyday of World of Warcraft before giving in to her love of JRPGs and becoming embedded in Final Fantasy XIV. When she's not doing that, you might find her running a tabletop RPG or two, perhaps even voluntarily.