In a recent interview with key figures at RGG Studios, it was revealed Like a Dragon: Ishin wasn’t changed to cater to overseas fans.
When the Ishin remake was announced, fans of the series outside Japan were delighted as they will finally get to experience this Yakuza (or Like a Dragon) series spin-off that has been available only in Japanese for years.
Unlike the other games in the series though, Ishin is set in the Bakumatsu or the final years of the Edo period. Given the past setting, there is a concern that some parts of it may be changed so that even those who are unfamiliar with Japanese history can enjoy the game. After all, the series’ international fanbase has grown massively over the past years.
Recently, we got to interview RGG Studio’s Executive Producer Masayoshi Yokoyama and Chief Director Hiroyuki Sakamoto alongside other members of the SEA gaming press. Aside from sharing that a Kenzan remake wasn’t in the pipeline just yet, they also confirmed that no changes have been made to the game to cater to overseas fans, at least in terms of the story.
What’s interesting is that Executive Producer Yokoyama mentioned that even among Japanese playtesters, the game was enjoyable even if they didn’t have any historical knowledge of Edo Period Japan.
“For the game itself, even when testing it with players who have zero or near zero historical knowledge even here in Japan, they were still able to enjoy the game,” said Yokoyama. “So, it was determined that even if you don’t understand the history [of Japan in that era], you kind of grow to understand as you play and enjoy it. There’s no prerequisite that you must know Japanese history to enjoy the game.”
Because of this, the team determined that overseas fans can still enjoy the game even without knowing who Sakamoto Ryoma is. The game’s story and setting is also made so that players can get to understand the events of the game and of the era as they play.
Of course, there are some terms that fans outside Japan may have a hard time understanding. Because of this, Chief Director Sakamoto said that there’s a journal that will explain different historical terminology so that players will have another resource for understanding some of the game’s more niche terms.
“In terms of the game itself, there is an additional journal-like system that would explain different historical terminology so that you can understand certain words and phrases that are niche to the time period,” said Sakamoto.
It’s great to know that aside from this addition, nothing has been changed in Like a Dragon: Ishin, meaning overseas players will get an experience that’s true to the original, all while enjoying the enhanced graphics and quality of life features that the remake will offer.
Like a Dragon: Ishin will be released on PS5, PS4, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, and PC on February 23, 2023.
For more info on the game, you can check out our hands-on impressions of an Ishin demo here: