In an interview with USGamer in 2017, Yakuza localization producer Scott Strichart claimed that the reason they weren’t dubbing Yakuza series games was to have the games feel like they were foreign movies and that he felt no need to translate the Japanese culture into English. “It’s not a money issue,” he said. “We just see it as something different.”
Jump ahead a year and it seems Strichart has changed his approach for the new title Judgment, which was announced last December to be featuring an English dub. However, it seems like this was only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the languages you can experience the story of Judgment in.
We’re pleased to announce that as well as having English and Japanese voice-overs, Judgment will feature fully localised subtitles in English, French, German, Italian and Spanish!
Make sure to follow us for more exciting news on Judgment coming soon… pic.twitter.com/ZCL1NRwYrj
— SEGA Europe (@SEGA_Europe) February 28, 2019
In a tweet by SEGA Europe, they announced that whilst the only voice-over options would be English and Japanese, fans would be able to experience the story with French, German, Italian and Spanish subtitles. This was something that many European and South American fans have been asking for for a while. Strichart also mentioned that these translations are based on the English subtitles, rather than the English dub audio, and recommends players pair these with the Japanese audio.
Whilst English speakers might have just been satisfied with the announcement of an English dub, subtitles in other languages allow more players to play and understand the game in their first language. The reaction to this news, especially from Spanish speaking fans has been overwhelmingly positive and it sets a great precedent for future Ryu ga Gotoku Studio titles.
If you want to learn more about the localization of Yakuza titles, we spoke about that topic with series creator Toshihiro Nagoshi in the third part of our extensive interview with him.