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Like a Dragon: Ishin will only feature a Japanese dub to preserve authenticity – Effinate Games


Sega’s surprise announcement of a remake of Like a Dragon: Ishin a few days ago took Yakuza fans by storm, especially those who didn’t expect the spin-off game to ever see a Western release. The original game, released in 2014 for PS3 and PS4, was a hit in Japan, but an international release was considered too risky, until recent hits like Ghost of Tsushima and Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice helped prove that that there is a Western appetite for more focused games about Japanese history.

However, fans of the more recent Yakuza games, including Yakuza: Like a Dragon, may be in for a shock as producer Masahiro Yokoyama revealed in an interview with Tojo Dojo that Ishin only wanted Japanese voice acting, rather than an additional English dub. Interestingly, it seems the decision was less cost-saving and more practical and aesthetic. First, previous Yakuza games, like Yakuza 0, only had Japanese audio and still sold well. In fact, Yokoyama elaborated, “those fans overseas who have played since that era still play those games like that even now,” even with the English dubs in newer games.

On top of that, there was a practical element to the choice. Translating modern Japanese into English and other languages ​​is usually a more straightforward procedure than the contemporary dialogue that Ishin has. “The specialized vocabulary and the way people spoke during the Bakumatsu era [in which the game is set] would make the queues incredibly long, so it just wouldn’t work,” explained Yokoyama. While subtitles would be appropriately translated, recording an English dub and matching it with appropriate facial expressions would likely cause problems to appear, such as animation issues or skewing the pacing of scenes.

On the plus side, there doesn’t seem to be any indication that this will be the party line indefinitely, so any future Yakuza games may well come with a full English dub for fans who don’t feel like using subtitles. The unique elements of Like a Dragon: Ishin seem to have been the catalyst for this decision, rather than a more general move away from foreign language dubs.

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