While it’s always been successful in Japan, the Yakuza franchise has also begun to attract a global audience in recent years. A byproduct of that, predictably enough, is that recent releases in the franchise – Yakuza: Like a Dragon and both Judgment spinoffs – have launched with English dubs in the west, where previous entries were entirely in Japanese with English subtitles.
There’s plenty more games coming up in the franchise in the next couple of years, but one of them is not going to feature English voiceovers. Developer Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio has confirmed (via The Tojo Dojo) that the upcoming Like a Dragon: Ishin! – a ground-up remake of 2014 spinoff Yakuza Ishin, which only released in Japan – will not have an English dub, and will instead feature English subtitles with Japanese dialogue. As per the developers, this is for authenticity’s sake.
“For the Ishin remake we’re using subtitles,” the developer said. “We’re not dubbing voice overs. We’re translating the game into English, but the specialized vocabulary and the way people talked during the Bakumatsu era would make the lines incredibly long so it just wouldn’t work. So this time we’re doing subtitles.”
Like a Dragon: Ishin! is, of course, set in Japan in the late Edo period, so given its period setting, the developer’s reasoning definitely makes sense. Of course, other upcoming games in the series – Like a Dragon 8 and Like a Dragon Gaiden: The Man Who Erased His Name – are likely to launch in the West with full dubs.
Like a Dragon: Ishin! launches on February 21, 2023 for PS5, Xbox Series X/S, PS4, Xbox One, and PC. You can check out a new trailer for the game through here, and new extensive gameplay footage through here.