The remaining core games in the Yakuza franchise are heading to PlayStation 4 starting this summer, according to Japan’s Weekly Famitsu magazine. Kicking off with Yakuza 3 in August, Sega is remastering three more entries in the Kazuma Kiryu saga — introducing more fans to the series, as well as ensuring that the complete collection is playable on a single console.
Yakuza 4 is expected to arrive this fall, followed by Yakuza 5 in spring 2019. None of them have been announced for Western release yet, but considering the action-RPG franchise’s recent resurgence in popularity, it’s likely they’ll make it over here eventually. Each one will be upgraded to 60 fps and run at 1080p, big steps up from the original versions.
Yakuza 3 first launched on PlayStation 3 in 2009; Yakuza 4 launched on the console in 2011. Yakuza 5 came to PS3 in Japan back in 2012, but it only became available as a PlayStation Store exclusive in the West in 2015; Sega reconsidered its decision not to localize the PS3 game following a fan campaign to bring it worldwide.
But since last year’s Western release of Yakuza 0, a PlayStation 4 prequel to Kiryu’s adventure through the underground world of Japanese mobsters, the series has found a wider audience. This isn’t to say Yakuza is niche, so much as the text-heavy games rely on Japanese cultural quirks and comedy. Yet Sega has figured out how to bridge that gap for players worldwide, and now it’s prepping to release its fourth Yakuza game in two years for folks outside of Japan. (That’s Yakuza Kiwami 2, a remaster of the second game in the franchise.)
Most importantly, though, is that these remasters give longtime fans and newcomers a way to collect the entire series in one place. Without backward compatibility on PS4, upgraded PlayStation 3 releases — or any standard PS3 game — can easily be lost to the annals of previous generations. So while it some people may be frustrated by re-releases, it helps to think of those who missed out the first time. Better yet, Yakuza will now be collected all in one place, and there are few things better than that.