The Yakuza series may not have the same following here in the West that it does in Japan, but Sega hopes an infusion of shambling undead can change that.
Backstory: Yakuza, along with being the name of Japan's most notorious organized crime syndicate, is also a long-running series of PlayStation-based action-adventure games. It's similar to Sega's Shenmue series in that the games feature an open world full of myriad distractions and hundreds of people to punch in the face.
In June of this year, Sega unleashed Yakuza: Of The End on the gamers of Japan. Unlike prior Yakuza games, Of The End pitted the series' gangsters against the threat of a zombie apocalypse. Needless to say, the results were pretty awesome.
Now, much to the joy of anyone who likes the idea of re-killing the undead, the publisher has announced plans to bring the game to Western gamers under the new title Yakuza: Dead Souls.
Courtesy Sega's official blog:
Yakuza: Dead Souls brings the Yakuza back to Kamurocho, the famous red light district of Tokyo, which is under attack from hordes of zombies. Players will face armies of the undead, incredibly powerful mutants, and the treacherous Japanese underworld. Playing through the eyes of four of the most revered members of the series, witness allegiances shift quickly, and the line between friend and foe lost. If you thought zombies were bad...meet the Yakuza!
So far Dead Souls lacks a solid release date, though Sega claims the PlayStation 3 exclusive will debut in March of 2012.
"We know how much people love Yakuza in the West, and with Dead Souls being the latest and greatest in the franchise, it's only right we bring it to them closer to the Japanese release than ever," said Sega's Senior Vice President of Marketing Gary Knight.
Great news, right? Well, hold your horses bucko. We still don't know what sort of alterations Sega has planned for the game. In the past, Sega has drawn criticism for editing out large chunks of game content from the Yakuza localizations under the idea that some of the series' most beloved elements were "too Japanese" for American sensibilities.
Feel free to be excited for Yakuza: Dead Souls, but keep your fingers crossed that the game remains entirely intact during translation. If we can't cap off a night of slaying the shambling hordes in a club full of eager young host girls, then what's the point?
Source: Sega Blog