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Like A Dragon Series Credits Game Pass & Other Subscription Services For Recent Western Popularity

Ryu Ga Gotoku/Like A Dragon’s studio boss Masayoshi Yokoyama said on a Twinfinite interview that the West and English-speaking gamers have been playing a lot of Yakuza/Like A Dragon games as of late.

He credited subscription services like the Xbox Game Pass for the series’ growing popularity in the West and English-speaking countries. Eight of the games are available on Game Pass since 2020, with the same slew of games available on PlayStation Plus Premium and Extra libraries this year.

“In terms of audience, I think the West has especially increased. It’s hard to tell if that’s thanks to multiplatform or if it’s because we changed the genre and protagonist from Yakuza: Like a Dragon as a new series, or both.

Personally, I do think subscriptions like Game Pass, allowing people to play the previous games over the years, have contributed largely to the increase in audience.”

Previously, Sega had reservations about re-releasing the Kenzan and Ishin spin-offs of Ryu Ga Gotoku to the West, but a number of factors changed Sega’s mind.

“After the 2014 release of Ryu ga Gotoku Ishin!, the number of overseas fans requesting a localization increased, and at the same time, SEGA’s US marketing team also started to request this game be localized, so we thought the time was right.

For about 1-2 years after release, there was barely any anticipation for the title, according to marketing research held in North America. But from around 2017, the Ryu ga Gotoku series as a whole started to get recognition, and the demand for Ishin increased. At the time, the studio had two options: to localize or remake, but this was also at a time when new hardware like the PS5 and Xbox were emerging, so after finishing up development for Yakuza: Like a Dragon, we started to work on a remake.”

This is quite a roundabout way of saying “Ghost of Tsushima did really well, so we’re going back to the well with our 1800s spinoff”, but that’s just speculation on our part. For more on the upcoming Like A Dragon: Ishin and why it’s cool, check out our hands-on with the title here.

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