Today IGN Japan published an interview to three of the men at the top of the Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio responsible for the Yakuza series and Judgment, Toshihiro Nagoshi, Daisuke Sato, and Kazuki Hosokawa.
First of all, we learn that western releases for the studios’ games tend to come a bit later compared to Japan because North America and Europe are large regions, so it takes a while to receive the sales estimates required for decision making. A bit of lag can’t be helped. Yet, while Nagoshi-san can’t guarantee it, Judgment’s performance might lead the team to consider a worldwide perspective for the future if a sequel is ever made.
Interestingly, Hosokawa-san mentions that the Steam release of Yakuza 0 and Yakuza Kiwami allowed Sega to widen the series’ player base. Currently, a decision for Judgment has not been taken, but a Steam release is currently being considered as a possible option. Those considerations aren’t limited to Steam, but also “other formats.”
It’s worth mentioning that Hosokawa-san used the word “Format” in English. It’s pretty vague, so we don’t know if he’s talking about additional consoles, other PC platforms in addition to Steam, or possibly both. We’ll have to wait and see if any of this actually materializes.
That being said, Nagoshi-san mentioned that Switch ports of the Yakuza games have not been considered for now. Funnily, asked whether it could be possible for Kazuma Kiryu and Goro Majima to appear in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate (since Sonic and Joker from Persona 5 are included), Nagoshi-san jokingly answered that Director Masahiro Sakurai would not want them… maybe.
Incidentally, Sega recently announced an audition for one or more female main characters who will appear alongside Kasuga Ichiban in the next mainline Yakuza game, confirming PS4 as the only platform. Nagoshi-san also teased the fact that the new title will be very different compared to its predecessors. You can also watch the new hero in action in a hilarious (and spectacular) April Fool video.
Speaking of possible Steam releases, a new ESRB rating clued us in that Yakuza Kiwami 2 is likely to come to PC sometime soon.