Polygon’s |tsr – er, Kevin Gifford has risen to the occasion again with another rundown of a Famitsu-exclusive interview, this one concerning Yakuza Ishin. In it, Director Toshihiro Nagoshi and Writer Masayoshi Yokoyama talk about why they chose the setting, the Yakuza General Character Election, and their goals of creating a quality title exceeding Yakuza 5.
“In terms of volume and quality, we felt like we did everything we could with Yakuza 5,” series director Toshihiro Nagoshi told Famitsu magazine in this week’s issue. “If I had to put it out there, I’d say that if we want to do another numbered title in the series, we’ll need a little time for that.”
Described as a “side story” from the main Yakuza series, Ishin is set in mid-19th century, the final years of the country’s ruling shogunate and a period of intense ideological, political, and physical conflict. The game stars Sakamoto Ryoma, a real-life historical figure born into a low-rank samurai clan in the Tosa fiefdom (modern-day Kochi prefecture). Frustrated by the strict caste system in his homeland, Ryoma and his friend Takechi Hanpeita formed a political group that aimed to reform the government and resist the rapid Westernization then taking place in Japan. His main foe in the game: Saito Hajime, leader of the Shinsengumi group of samurai loyal to the shogunate.
“It’s not that the era itself was attractive to us so much as the people involved with it trigger stories in our minds,” commented Ishin producer and writer Masayoshi Yokoyama. “I wanted to build a story this time around Sakamoto Ryoma, who’s this really attention-grabbing character in history, but really there’s such a vast amount of people involved with this era. You have hardline traditional samurai, you have people trying to create a whole new era for themselves, and you have others turning their eyes toward other countries. Trying to build a coherent story that brought all of these people together is a real challenge.”
Sega has yet to announce a release date or even a platform for Ishin, and neither Nagoshi nor Yokoyama offered many clues as to what to expect gameplay-wise. “We may have deployed everything we could with Yakuza 5,” Nagoshi said, “but that doesn’t mean we’re on cruise control with the quality and volume of this title. We are challenging ourselves with new things here, from the graphical presentation to the way we’re bringing back the full cast. It’ll be a huge step forward.”
The rest of the article deals with the Yakuza General Character Election, which you can read here. The game was announced just a couple of days ago. You can read about that here.