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What happened to Yakuza 3? PDF Print E-mail
Written by Deekman   
Thursday, 04 March 2010 12:31


(Editors Note: Yes this is a repost from my personal blog but thanks to OLR I have a platform to reach more like minded people, especially the audience that OLR caters to. If you have a story you want to let the world know This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it and get your voice heard!)

Update: Thanks to ThePatrick for the updated info. Changed list of what's missing.

Update 2: I just want to say up front that I'm still buying this game launch day and still have my pre-order. The point of this article is to express my displeasure to Sega at what they've done for the series. When Yakuza 2 only sold 40,000 units in the US it was unclear if the 3rd would even make it. Support Sega and the series if you like it even with the cuts otherwise the next one won't be released. Buy it new, show your support and remember you're a customer and you can always express how unhappy you are with a product via official channels.

How Sega is breaking my heart again.

Over the last 3 weeks I've decided to get caught up on a game series I missed; Yakuza (Ryu ga Gotoku). The first game in the series was released on the PS2 in 2006 in North America but for some reason I skipped it. The second game released here in 2008 I skipped even though I had an interest because I skipped the first and didn't want to miss out on the story line.

2 weeks ago I started seeing more screenshots and trailers for Yakuza 4 the game is about to come out in Japan next month with Yakuza 3 coming out this month in the US and here I haven't even played 1 - 2! Luckily I managed to scrounge up a copy of both games here in my town in fairly good condition and set to work beating them.

I just managed to get through Yakuza's amazing story, full of betrayal, murder and Bill Farmer. I'd just started Yakuza 2 when Sega announced, 2 weeks before Yakuza 3's release, that they would be cutting content from the US version:

"The content between Yakuza 3 US/UK and Yakuza JP is a little different in that we took out certain bits in order to bring the game to the west in the time alloted for us to do so. The parts we ended up taking out were parts that we felt wouldn't make sense (like a Japanese history quiz game) or wouldn't resonate as much (such as the concept of a hostess club)"

After the comment above the Yakuza fans online exploded demanding the content be made available via DLC or patched in. Segas response to the situation was:

"...we wanted to confirm that there is some content in the Japanese version of Yakuza 3 that didn’t make it over to upcoming Western version, mostly involving the Hostess Clubs and the Japanese History trivia sections..."

This response was just as bad and with the release of the US version trophy list it was all but confirmed what was going to be missing:

  • Hostess Bars
  • Japanese History Trivia Mini-Game
  • Running a Hostess Bar Backing a Hostess
  • Being A Host
  • Mahjong
  • Shogi
  • Hanafuda
  • Good Box Art (image above is not the art this is)

Now most of the above I would probably never touch. I've no idea how to play Mahjong, Shogi or know much about Japanese History. The hostess bars however are a BIG part of the game series. Sure they are not a necessary part of the story but people (especially fans) love them. Not to mention some of the side missions give you items you use to interact with the girls of the bars. Making them now useless.

These games are about being involved within the Japanese culture and doing all there is to do in a Japanese city including most of the items listed above. Yes I probably won't do them but I want the option to do them or not. To come out and say that fans of the series don't want these features without giving us a choice is ridiculous! Let's face it people buying Yakuza 3 are mostly people who bought Yakuza 1 and 2 which included the removed games.

The thing that gets me upset about this though is the constant spin and lying the Sega marketing team are doing trying to save face. As soon as people demanded answers they have gone radio silent. The small statements they do release only seem to fan the fires of people demanding to know what else has been cut. They're not saying and now even the very small marketing push has backfired as everyone is taking turns rail roading them for answers that they refuse to give!

There's been rumors pre-orders of this game have gone down 75%. If true 75% is a HUGE blow on a game that was already expected to sell low numbers especially because the minds at Sega decided to release it the same day as a little game called Final Fantasy 13! Yet it seems Sega still doesn't want to give answers.

All of the above and they still want me to pay full price for a game that's at this point 1.5 years old AND has 1/4 of it's content removed seems shady. Seems greedy.

What Sega could do to fix it.

- Launch Price: If they took the price and knocked $20-$25 off the launch price I could at least say "Well it sucks they removed it but at least they're not charging us for it." but as it stands now they expect us to pay the full price that it was launched at in Japan without cut content over a year later.

- Patch it: Announce a patch to re-introduce the missing content. Put it on the fans heads and say "If we can sell over 1 million copies of this game we'll release the patch." Fans win, Sega wins and it puts the blame directly on us if the patch is not released.

- DLC: Ironically I would be willing to pay an extra $10-$20 for something I only might play if it means I get the full game. If you want to release the game now and charge me for the content later sure I won't be happy about it but I would sure as heck feel better than how you're doing things now.

- Promise & release Yakuza 4 in its entirety: With this mad amount of fan backlash (and, if true, pre-order cancellation) Sega has to be thinking they messed up. If people don't buy the game it could go one of two ways. Sega sees the poor sales numbers and decides NA isn't a market they should strive to keep the series going in or they could admit to the error and promise not to cut content from the sequel. The hardest part with this is that if people don't buy the game now because of this Sega will lose nothing by not releasing any more of the series here. If they do buy it fans feel they are sending the wrong message to Sega that they are OK with paying full price for edited content.

Why am I getting so caught up in this:

I want the Yakuza series to continue here in the US. I want to keep playing one of my new favorite game series. I want Sega as a company to survive.

I feel like my wife put it the best:

"Imagine Assassins Creed 2 had come out in Japan a year ago and 2 weeks before it was released in your country Ubisoft tells you that the Villa content was cut amongst other things. We won't tell you what else was cut but we still expect you to pay us $60 at launch."

Sure you can live without the Villa but for some people (including me) it was the heart of the game. Not to mention it's how you make money (much like running a hostess club in Yakuza 3).

I've been a big Sega fan from way back but as with everyone else the company had lost me after every game they released in the last 10 years (save Yakuza 1 and 2) have been TERRIBLE. I know I'm only new to the series of Yakuza but the games have hooked me and brought me back in to the Sega fold as a fan of what they CAN do. The combat, the story everything in this series is great and it's done by Sega!

Last Updated on Thursday, 04 March 2010 14:16


+1 #1 ThePatrick 2010-03-04 13:21
Nice post, I agree that the cuts are horrible.

I hate to be "that guy," but you were a little off on the cut content:

- "Japanese History Trivia Game" is spin. I know they called it that, but it's actually just a trivia game. The thing is, it was made in Japan, so it asks a lot of questions non-Japanese wouldn't be familiar with, such as which Japanese sports stars appeared on morning variety shows and such.

- You don't run a hostess bar in Ryû ga Gotoku 3. You coach a girl (tho' you can do it 5 different times) to be the best hostess at her club. Semantics, but, still....

- You can't be a host in Ryû ga Gotoku 3. I kinda missed that was pretty funny to see Kiryû act like such a weirdo!

Everything else is spot-on, tho'. Especially the box, what were they thinking??
0 #2 Deekman 2010-03-04 13:27
Hey ThePatrick if you're the same guy thanks for the guides on GameFaqs they've been the biggest help I've had trying to get through the first 2 games!

Unfortuanatly I feel like I'm subject to misinformation myself here especially with Sega not saying what is and isn't in the game it's hard to follow up.

Yeah I've seen the history game in action and personally I'm not too upset about losing that. I don't speak Japanese and the only thing I know really about there history is from samurai movies. I know the answerxanswer is just a small game you can play in the sega arcades and I'm not going to miss it.

You'd know better than anyone what's in the game though and it's a shame you can't be a host even in the Japanese version but there is still coaching a girl.

Hopefully Sega can hook us up with some DLC or SOMETHING.

And yeah the NA box art is atrocious.
0 #3 ThePatrick 2010-03-04 15:32
Yeah I'm the same guy! You're definitely welcome about the guides, I just feel bad for how incomplete they were, or for the times they mislead people, heh.

And don't worry about the content, a lot of people are confused about it really. We still don't know what's cut! If the list on Wikipedia is right somehow, it looks like the hostess bars were removed but the girls were left in, with their side missions intact (weirdly), and that answer x answer, the m[censored]age parlor, and possibly mahjong and shogi were removed. That would also account for 2 missing side missions (one for the m[censored]age parlor, one for answer x answer).

It's too bad if it's the m[censored]age parlor because that was actually quite funny!

Anyway I hope you can enjoy the game and everyone else can because this series is great!

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