The Yakuza games have exploded in popularity in the West ever since the release of Yakuza 0. Now that the game series is so successful Yakuza 0 and Yakuza Kiwami will be ported to Steam in the nearby future. This is fantastic for any PC gamer that doesn’t own a PlayStation 4 but it made people wonder if the games would also be ported to other systems. Unfortunately for the people owning a Nintendo Switch, Yakuza series producer Daisuke Sato is convinced that the Switch is not a good platform for the Yakuza games, despite the success of the console.
Daisuke Sato told French gaming website gameblog.fr (translation) that they had released Yakuza 1 & 2 HD on the Wii U but that it was a complete failure. This has discouraged them from porting the game to the Nintendo Switch as they expect that it will result in a similar failure. There are a few issues with this sentiment, mainly that the Yakuza 1 & 2 HD games were never localized. This meant that the games came out in a region that is heavily dominated by PlayStation, on a console that most people never owned as it was a commercial failure. Besides this, the HD versions were also released on the PlayStation 3 one year prior to the Wii U release. It doesn’t take the smartest person in the world to see that they set themselves up for failure.
The other argument that Sato makes is a much stronger one. He says that they might consider porting it to the Xbox One, as Xbox owners are more likely to play a game like Yakuza than Nintendo Switch owners. With Nintendo’s strong focus on family fun, you can certainly see where he’s coming from. While Nintendo is trying to get more games on the console that are aimed at adults, such as Bayonetta or Wolfenstein, the family-friendly image is still part of the company. A lot of Switch owners are households with children so the Yakuza series would certainly never see the light of day in such a case.
Despite the arguments that Sato makes, I think porting the Yakuza series to the Nintendo Switch would prove to be quite the success. With the Nintendo Switch’s success in both the West as well as Japan, and the newfound popularity of the Yakuza series, I would say that it’s a match made in heaven.