In case you missed it, a live-action movie adaptation of Sega's bestselling Yakuza video game franchise is in development with production companies 1212 Entertainment and Wild Sheep Content. During a recent Tokyo Game Show livestream, Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio director Toshihiro Nagoshi commented on the recent news, revealing that it will seemingly only move forward with his approval.
"We had an offer from the West, and a Yakuza movie is now underway in Hollywood," said Nagoshi, according to a transcript from IGN. "In a case like this, usually you have the side that wants to (license the IP) and the side that owns the IP, and a deal tends to be done as business. But in this case, I made it clear from the beginning that if the content itself was no good and I didn’t agree with it, then I would not want to do it, and I’ve been very upfront about it."
"I’ve told them that it will only proceed if it’s really good," he continued. "So it’s a bit of a different arrangement than the standard (licensing) alliance. I don’t think (a Yakuza movie) is something that needs to be done for the sake of it, so it can only happen if it’s going to be good."
Given Nagoshi's position within Sega, and specifically with regards to the Yakuza franchise, it would certainly seem like he has enough pull to kill the project if it goes in a direction he doesn't like. The video game series largely focuses on the story of yakuza Kazuma Kiryu and the many characters and places he comes into contact with through the course of his duties, and it has been praised for its storytelling, and it sounds like Kiyru will also be the focus of the film.
"Yakuza offers us a new playground in which to set compelling stories with complex characters in a unique environment that audiences have rarely seen before,” 1212 Entertainment said when the announcement was made. “The saga of Kazuma Kiryu has a built-in cinematic appeal – a mix of kinetic action with bursts of comedy, multiple converging storylines, and a gripping journey towards redemption."
At this point, there is no telling when exactly the Yakuza movie might release. Erik Barmack, Roberto Grande, and Joshua Long will produce, but writers have not yet been added to the project. The latest and greatest title in the franchise, Yakuza: Like a Dragon, is currently set to release for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC on November 13th as well as the Xbox Series X/S on November 10th. It will be available on the PlayStation 5 at a later date. You can check out all of our previous coverage of the upcoming Yakuza video game right here.
What do you think of the news that a Yakuza movie is in development? Are you a fan of the video game franchise? Let us know in the comments, or hit me up directly on Twitter at @rollinbishop to talk all things gaming!