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Yakuza is successful in the west because it commits to its original vision, says Sega boss

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Yakuza 0 is "comfortably the best, funniest and most heartwarming game about a desperate battle over real estate", so says Phil in his 90-scored review (opens in new tab). That sentence alone offers insight into the action adventure's quirkiness—which is what Sega Europe's John Clark suggests makes it work in the west. 

Chatting to (opens in new tab), Sega Europe's executive vice president of publishing reckons Yakuza 0's commitment to its original vision is responsible for its success. Languid conversations, weird minigames, and a "world where the sublime meets the ridiculous and the ridiculous is sublime (opens in new tab)", and all.  

"From my experience of Japan as a market, what we see is something that to us is very traditional publishing and development: Single player, story-led, sequel, sequel, sequel," Clark tells (opens in new tab). "And it's something that works in Japan. What's happening here is that the Yakuza franchise is being brought to the West and it's not being changed for the Western market, in terms of the gameplay.

"We're not turning every Yakuza title into an open-world Yakuza game. That's not what's happening. We're representing the Japanese IP, the Japanese road map, the Japanese content to the relevant audience within the West. And whether there's a need to change that or not, I don't know. But it seems to be successful and it seems to be working."

When we spoke to John Clark at E3 2017, he told us (opens in new tab) "we don't feel anything is off the table" in reference to growing Sega's PC catalogue. With zero now launched on PC, here's hoping more Yakuza games make the same dedicated jump down the line.