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Sega Rejected Yakuza Game Three Times Before Approval



Sega Rejected Yakuza Game Three Times Before Approval

The beloved Yakuza series almost never came to be. Sega rejected the first game pitch three times. Toshihiro Nagoshi, the creator of the series, shared this during an appearance on Weekly Ochiai. Nagoshi’s vision for Yakuza was initially dismissed by Sega. They believed the game wouldn’t appeal to women or children.

During the early 2000s, Japanese game sales were declining worldwide. American and European games were rising. Sega wanted games that appealed to a global audience. Nagoshi’s idea for an adult-themed game didn’t fit this vision. He faced resistance because the game focused on mature themes and didn’t target a broad audience.

Sega Rejected Yakuza Game Three Times Before Approval

Nagoshi had to be “forceful” to get his game approved. He emphasized that he didn’t want Yakuza to glorify violence. Instead, he wanted it to inspire players to strive for a better life. His persistence paid off, and Yakuza was finally approved.

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Since its debut in 2005, the series, now called Like a Dragon, has sold over 21 million copies. The latest game, Like a Dragon: Infinite Wealth, broke records by selling one million copies in a week. It is also the best-reviewed game in the series. Despite its rocky start, Yakuza has become a beloved franchise.