Yakuza series is too ‘underground’ for Switch, says producer

An image shows a grimacing man as seen on a Nintendo Switch console.

Image: Sega/Nintendo/Kotaku

in a new GameSpot interview, Yakuza Executive producer and Ryu Ga Gotoku studio head Masayoshi Yokoyama said he was hesitant to bring the popular franchise to Nintendo Switch. He explained that the console’s family image in Japan does not match the franchise’s mix of combat, crime, and “underground feeling”.

If there was a time when the open-world action of Yakuza Games was limited to PlayStation consoles and did not release regularly in the West, today things are different. Over the past decade, the series has become more mainstream and has appeared more frequently on PC and non-PlayStation consoles. And naturally, many fans want the series to make its way to Nintendo’s Switch. But that might not happen anytime soon, due to how the console is apparently viewed in Japan.

Talk to GameSpotYokoyama explained that he wasn’t sure whether to bring Yakuza to Switch, asking, “Do we want to put a title like this where we go and pick a fight with the world and do all of that Yakuza stuff, on a switch? According GameSpot, Yokoyama further explained that the Switch is seen in Japan as a more family-friendly system. That’s a bit of an odd answer considering the countless mature games released on the Switch over the years, including stuff like Bayonetta 2, Hotline Miami, and Grand Theft Auto Vice City.

While trying to elaborate further, Yokoyama discussed the “underground feeling” that the Yakuza games have and how that, apparently, is part of the reason it might not be ported to the Switch anytime soon.

“We still think of ourselves as night people, don’t we?” said Yokoyama. “We don’t want to be like we’re walking all day with everyone. Like for us, it’s kind of showing that kind of underground feeling. I think that underground kind of feeling is what we want to do.

Read more: How by Yakuza The city changes from game to game

Yakuza has already appeared on a Nintendo console. In 2013, Yakuza 1 and 2 were ported to the Wii U. But at the time it was described by then-Yakuza producer Toshihiro Nagoshi as an “experiment” to see if there was an audience for games on the Wii U. This experiment, by the way, didn’t go well…

So now in 2022 it’s no surprise to hear that RGG staff aren’t interested in porting Yakuza at the switch. I imagine, however, that fans of games with that “underground feeling” who also like to play on the Switch will be pretty saddened by this news.

Meanwhile, a bunch of Yakuza games were recently announced including a remake of Like a Dragon: Ishin built in Unreal 4 and a new Yakuza spin off. In addition, we were able to see the first trailer of the previous teaser like a dragon 8 a.k.a Yakuza 8. Will any of them ever see a release on the Switch? It doesn’t look like it.