From Sega Retro
|System(s): PlayStation 2|
|Developer: New Entertainment R&D Dept. #1|
|Number of players: 1|
Yakuza, known as Ryu ga Gotoku (龍が如く lit. "Like a Dragon") in Japan, is an open world action game developed by New Entertainment R&D Dept. #1 and published by Sega for the PlayStation 2 in 2005. It marks the start of the Yakuza series, a set of successful first party games centered around the world of Japanese organised crime.
Though not directly related, Yakuza is often seen as a spiritual successor (and lower budget alternative) to Shenmue. It was produced by Toshihiro Nagoshi of Super Monkey Ball and Sega AM2/Amusement Vision fame. During development the project was known as Project J.
Taking place in 1995 in Kamoro-cho, a fictional district in Tokyo (which modelled after Shinjuku) story follows Kazuma Kiryu, a young Yakuza working under Dojima Family of Tojo Clan, a powerful Yakuza organization in the Kanto area of Japan. Kiryu's life changes irreversibly when one day his love interest Yumi is kidnapped by Dojima, leader of the family Kiryu is serving. His close friend Akira Nishikiyama attempts to save Yumi from Dojima and ends up killing him. Kiryu decides to take the blame for killing (Nishkiyama's sister is in deathbed) and spends 10 years in prison for murder.
In prison, Kiryu receives a letter of ex-communication and removed from Tojo Clan. Although he is visited by Shintaro Kazama, his adopter father who is also a Yakuza leader, he doesn't hear anything from either Yumi or Nishikiyama.
Eventually released in 2005, Kiryu attempts to bring his life together and find Yumi. On the way, he meets Haruka, a mysterious little girl. After being targeted by Yakuza families all around the Tokyo for "10 billion Yen" and realizing that Haruka could be the key to finding Yumi, Kiryu takes Haruka under his protection and resolves to solve the mystery.
Ryu Ga Gotoku was Sega's largest project since Sakura Taisen in 1996 and Shenmue in 1999. Staff from Sega's high profile Nintendo GameCube (Super Monkey Ball) and Xbox (Jet Set Radio Future) exclusives were brought together, and much external staff for writing supervision, mocap and real world advertising tie-ins, brought in a very large scope. Toshihiro Nagoshi was initially responsible for the concept of a hard boiled Yakuza crime story. However Masayoshi Kikuchi and Masayoshi Yokoyama came in to round out the project, with Kikuchi bringing in a softer and emotional side to the crime story, and Yokoyama writing the script.
A smashing success in it's home country, Sega was quick in expanding the franchise. Yearly entries followed with only a 10 month development cycle of each game. The scope for advertising the franchise itself, as well real world brand tie-ins also expanded rapidly with each entry. Despite the short development cycle, each game earned praise for it's story, quality of gameplay and overall humor, and kept fans engaged.
The original PlayStation 2 Yakuza is the only game in the series to feature a full English voice cast, including Hollywood stars Michael Rosenbaum (Nishkiyama), Michael Madsen (Shimano), Eliza Dushku (Yumi), Rachel Leigh Cook (Reina) and Mark Hamill (Majima). Subsequent entries (and re-releases of this game) have only English subtitles.
The games Western release flopped heavily, despite an overall effort of advertising and high profile voice actors. Due to this, the game's have not had a consistent localization rate, often being delayed, or stuck in limbo in general.
A soundtrack album for the first two games, Ryu ga Gotoku & Ryu ga Gotoku 2 Original Sound Track, was released on 25 January 2007.
The game was later remade for PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4 using the Yakuza 5 engine under the title Ryu ga Gotoku Kiwami. It was released on 21 January 2016 in Japan, it's unknown if the remake will get a release in western regions.
|Language||Localised Name||English Translation|
|Japanese||龍が如く||Ryu ga Gotoku|
- CEO Sega of America: Naoya Tsurumi
- President/COO Sega of America: Simon Jeffery
- VP of Product Development: David Cobb
- Producer: Justin Lambros
- Assistant Producer: Kevin Frane
- Production Assistant: Beejey Enriquez
- Senior Publishing Manager: Klayton Vorlick
- QA Manager: Deni Skeens
- QA Supervisor: Josh Morton
- Build Mastering & Duplication: Rhianna Kellom
- Sr. QA Lead: Shawn Dobbins
- QA Lead Tester: Nestor Protacio
- QA Assistant Lead Tester: Chris Rose
- QA Testers: Anthony Banks, Dennis Constantino, Jesse Dunne, Jasper Kaw, Mark Flores, Rey Buzon
- Casting Director: Dawn Hershey, CSA
- Casting Associate: Dave Lieber
- Voice Director: Jack Fletcher
- Additional Voice Direction: Lisa Schaffer
- Blindlight VO Producer: Alexandra Dorris
- Recording & Editing: J. David Atherton, Tal Miller
- Vice President of Marketing: Scott Steinberg
- Director of Marketing: Don Mesa
- Marketing Product Manager: Yosuke Moriya
- Creative Services Manager: Jen Groeling
- Production Specialist: Heather Lucchetti
- Associate PR Manager: Jennie Sue
- Additional PR by One PR Studio: Dana Whitney, Anne Marie Stein, Jeane Wong, Barbara Gamlen
- Special Thanks: Erica Mason, David Lee, Lev Chapelsky, Bridget Oates, Don Scotti, Tina Tanen
- General Supervisor/Producer: Toshihiro Nagoshi
- Producer: Masayoshi Kikuchi
- Director of Overseas Version: Hiroyuki Sakamoto
- Planning: Mariko Kawase
- Chief 2D Designer: Yosuke Karasawa
- 2D Design: Miho Nakamura
- Programming: Tamotsu Maeno, Kouta Sato
- Sound Director: Hidenori Shoji
- Localization Manager: Yuka Yoshida
- Manual Production: Yoshihiro Sakuta, Hisakazu Nakagawa, Makoto Nishino
- Unicon Product Inc.
- Main article: Yakuza/Magazine articles.
|Sega Retro Average|
|PlayStation 2, EX†|
ROM dump status
|4,468,178,944||DVD-ROM (EU)||SLES-54171 (V1.00)|
|4,552,491,008||DVD-ROM (JP)||SLPM-66168 / SLPM-74234 / SLPM-74253 / SLPM-74269 (V1.02)|
|4,390,912,000||DVD-ROM (US)||SLUS-21348 (V1.00)|
- Sega of Japan catalogue pages (Japanese): PlayStation 2
- Official website on Sega.com (English)
- Official website on ryu-ga-gotoku.com (Japanese)
- Yakuza on PlayStation.com: JP, JP (PS2 the Best), JP (PS2 the Best Red), JP (PS2 the Best Red Rerelease), US, KR (Big Hit)
- http://www.jp.playstation.com/software/title/slpm66168.html (Wayback Machine: 2006-10-29 03:02)
- http://www.jp.playstation.com/software/title/slpm74234.html (Wayback Machine: 2006-10-18 22:13)
- http://www.jp.playstation.com/software/title/slpm74253.html (Wayback Machine: 2007-11-23 11:55)
- http://www.jp.playstation.com/software/title/slpm74269.html (Wayback Machine: 2009-04-28 01:26)
- http://www.playstation.co.kr/game/775 (archive.today)
- http://www.wwe.co.za/releaseschedule.aspx?catid=1 (Wayback Machine: 2006-10-02 12:10)
- Electronic Gaming Monthly, "October 2006" (US; 2006-09-12), page 112
- Famitsu, "2005-12-16" (JP; 2005-12-02), page 1
- GamePro, "October 2006" (US; 2006-09-12), page 81
- Hyper, "September 2006" (AU; 2006-08-09), page 46